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Are There Alternative Methods for Treating Wastewater in the Rural Southeast
The treatment of municipal wastewater is widely considered one of the greatest environmental health achievements of the 20th century; however, insufficient household wastewater disposal systems – such as piping raw sewage into streams – still persist in rural regions of the southeastern United States (aka “straight pipes”). These systems are commonly found in isolated residential areas where it is technically and financially difficult to extend municipal waste treatment technology.
As constructed wetland technology improves, subsurface, lateral-flow wetlands are increasingly valid alternatives to traditional septic drain fields, and could be successfully implemented to replace straight pipes in the rural Southeast.