A rural Alabama county has a problem with residents not having any type of sewage system. Often, raw sewage runs out a pipe onto the open ground, in the woods or on a field. This can, of course, cause problems. The county is faced with jailing the residents who don’t install a proper system, despite the fact that the residents can’t afford a proper system. The county is one of the country’s poorest, and the geography makes septic systems very expensive. The story quotes one comment from a single mother of four kids with no running water, no septic, and a high power bill (which raises all kinds of questions about what choices/circumstances have put her in that position). Jailing her would solve nothing, yet the problem can’t be ignored.
This has relevance to my life because my neighbor recently sold off his land except for two acres on my property line. He’s constructed a make-shift home out of an old trailer balanced on tall stacks of cinder blocks. His water line is a buried hose running from his electric well. His electricity is supplied by an extension cord running a few hundred feet from the well to the trailer. The electric company pulled his meter (though he unsuccessfully tried to get around that problem). His waste is running right out onto the ground, and has nowhere to go but into my fish pond, and from there right into the river. The county has finally become aware of the situation, and now we’re waiting to see what happens. Prosecution with jail time is possible, though I’d hate to see that happen. We’ve made an offer to purchase his land, which would give him enough money to relocate someplace with existing facilities, but he’s not accepted the offer.