WASHINGTON, D.C. – The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) is launching a new Community Plumbing Challenge (CPC) program in Alabama to combat a critical sanitation challenge.

IWSH is the philanthropic arm of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Black Belt Unincorporated Wastewater Program (BBUWP), Alabama Department of Public Health and LIXIL, a global manufacturer of pioneering water and housing products.

The pilot CPC event is scheduled for March 14 to 18 in Lowndes County, Ala. The weeklong project will provide plumbing repairs and upgrades for five homes and develop a framework for ongoing plumbing industry support to the BBUWP which was created to increase accessibility of proper onsite wastewater disposal resources, states a release.

The Black Belt region includes 17 counties in the south-central part of Alabama many of them, including Lowndes, have high concentrations of Black Prairie soil, which is virtually nonabsorbent and poses problems for onsite sewage systems.

Low-income homeowners in the region are unable to afford an onsite sewage disposal system and instead resort to straight piping, which releases sewage above ground. BBUWP estimates that 70 to 80 per cent of all rural households in the region have failing or nonexistent wastewater systems, explains the release, adding the situation was recently featured on a 60 Minutes Investigates segment titled America’s Dirty Secret.

LIXIL will donate septic systems to the project and Fuji Clean USA, a company specializing in wastewater treatment technologies, will contribute onsite water treatment systems.

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