Straight Pipe Survey

Students and professors at the University of Alabama are assessing the scope of “straight pipe” sewer systems across 17 counties in Alabama’s Black Belt.

The rural region has dense, black soil that restricts water flow, and many homes that are far from municipal sewer lines. Some households rely on flushing untreated sewage out of a PVC pipe to woods or backyards—prompting concern about public health threats, such as hookworm.

The group will use computer modeling to determine prevalence of straight pipe systems. They’ll then work with other agencies to find alternatives like identifying clusters of homes that could share a smaller-scale treatment system.


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