Close to a Half Million Americans Lack Proper Plumbing

Nearly 500,000 people in the rural parts of the United States cannot afford modern plumbing.

1 minute read

September 28, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By Casey Brazeal @northandclark


Atomazul / Shutterstock

In rural America many people are not connected to municipal sewer lines. For the poor in these communities, this means plumbing is a real financial burden. According to a story by Sabrina Tavernise in the New York Times, "Many people have failing septic tanks and are too poor to fix them. Others… have nothing at all."

This is not only a problem for the poor who live without some of the comforts most of us take for granted, it’s also public health issue. Sewage that is not properly disposed of can get into drinking water, which can lead to any number of dangerous diseases including Giardia and Hepatitis A.

Tavernise's article goes on to explain how widespread this issue is: "Nearly half a million households in the United States lack the basic dignity of hot and cold running water, a bathtub or shower, or a working flush toilet, according to the Census Bureau."

Many of the people Tavernise spoke to had little faith that the problem would be solved. While some were connected to city lines, others describe how they had aspired to put in septic systems, but could never afford it. Dorothy Rudolf, a resident of Tyler, Alabama said about the $6,000 it would cost her to put in a septic system: "That was a whole lot of money, and it still is."

Monday, September 26, 2016 in The New York Times

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