Bass Connections Faculty Team Member. ACRE-Duke Partnership to Improve Sanitation Access in Lowndes County, Alabama. 2018 - 2019
Primary Theme: Energy & Environment
Over the past several years, stories of failing and inadequate water infrastructure in urban areas of the United States—most notably, the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan—have caught the attention of the media and the public. While attention has increasingly focused on the problem of dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure in urban America, less attention has been paid to the ways in which the absence or poor quality of existing infrastructure can undermine health and economic opportunities in rural America. Lowndes County is illustrative of a host of social and environmental inequalities facing rural communities of color in the American South, including endemic poverty, lack of economic opportunity, hazardous health conditions and inadequate infrastructure. Only two municipalities in the county maintain centralized wastewater treatment plants, while the remaining rural population is served by on-site septic systems or lack adequate sanitation. Poor sanitation poses serious health risks. The Baylor College of Medicine found evidence of five tropical diseases, including hookworm (previously thought to be eradicated in the U.S.), in fecal samples from residents. Since 2014, Duke’s Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise (ACRE) have partnered to address the inadequacy of wastewater treatment infrastructure, which is an economic, racial and environmental injustice entrenched in many communities in rural, black America.
Service Performed By
Schaad, David E. Professor of the Practice of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Bass Connections Faculty Team Member
Service or Event Name
ACRE-Duke Partnership to Improve Sanitation Access in Lowndes County, Alabama