Lowndes County residents who use septic tank systems need better and safer ways to dispose of wastewater (sewage) from their homes. Many septic tanks fail because the Black Belt soil in Lowndes County does not properly drain wastewater away from homes, and these systems cost a lot of money to install and fix. Residents who rely on straightpipes or septic systems that do not work properly are likely to come into contact with raw sewage and get sick.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is responsible for handling public health threats, such as exposure to raw sewage. ADPH is also responsible for approving the applications, designs, and installations of septic systems. Following a civil rights investigation of ADPH's sanitation program, ADPH signed a legal agreement with the United States Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to take immediate actions on the sewage issues in Lowndes County. 

ADPH now has a program for installing onsite septic systems that can work in Lowndes County soil. Systems will be installed at no cost to residents and prioritized based on which households face the greatest health risks from exposure to raw sewage. Priority will be based on factors such as:

  • Failing septic system or use of straightpipes;
  • Location of raw sewage on the property;
  • Household members in certain age groups or with medical conditions that might place them at higher risk of becoming sick from exposure to sewage;
  • Resident's ownership of the property.

It's important for you to fill out this assessment so ADPH knows who's facing the most serious health risks and needs help the fastest.

The United States Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services have approved this assessment. All information collected from this assessment will be kept confidential and cannot and will not be used against you by ADPH for any claim of a sanitation law violation, including any criminal proceedings. If you have any questions about this assessment, please contact:

ADPH: 334-206-5373 or online at

U.S. Department of Justice: 833-739-2103 or email AL.Lowndes.EJ@usdoj.gov

U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services: 800-368-1019, (TDD) 800-537-7697, or email OCRMail@hhs.gov

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