In Mount Vernon, Washington, there are unusually high levels of bacteria and pollution in the area’s water supply. Kentucky has a high pollution percentage in their public water streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes, and they think they know why. The common denominator in the two cases? Septic systems.
Roughly one quarter of American homes use a septic system. The ones in Kentucky and Washington have apparently seen better days. In Harlan County, Kentucky, failing septic systems, partnering with straight pipe drainage and malfunctioning treatment plants, are producing a sewage pollution crisis in eastern Kentucky. This crisis has been said to be worse than water contamination from coal mining, according to state surveys.
Circle of Blue filed public records requested and obtained water pollution complaints from 6,475 citizens who submitted their inquiries to the state Division of Water. Most complaints revolved around a uniform problem: living in filth.
Meanwhile, in Washington state, more than 60 failing septic tanks are causing high levels of pollution in the county’s water. The major concern here is that more than 4,000 acres of shellfish beds reside in the bays of Washington, and they are commercial beds. If pollution in contaminating them, the population will be ruined.
So what are these towns doing about the pollution problems caused by failing septic tanks? The goal in Kentucky is to get rid of the use of straight pipe drainage and repair the septic tanks that are currently failing. The Pollution Identification and Correction Coordinator for Skagit County in Washington, Karen DuBose, encourages the municipals to inspect their septic systems every one to three years, and they are also investing in pollution detection puppies.
That’s right. The President of Environmental Canine Services, Karen Reynolds, announced that dogs are being trained to sniff out human waste in the water supply.
“They are super sniffers,” she says. “They’re born to smell and they help humans in so many different capacities with their sniffing.”