Sources of Pollution: Untreated Sewage


Untreated sewage is the feces and urine of humans that has not been treated to kill disease-causing organisms. Humans, like all warm-blooded animals, contain bacteria in their gut. If these bacteria get into another part of the body where it does not belong, then people can get sick.


How does this land use cause Non-Point Source Pollution?

In the Barataria Watershed there were three sources of untreated sewage:

  • · Domestic Wastewater Lagoon: One method of treating sewage is to put the waste into a type of pond called a lagoon. Sometimes the lagoon will fill with solids, be operated incorrectly, spill over during a storm, or break. When any of these things happens, polluted water can end up in the watershed, and polluted water can move toward the estuary.
  • · Inappropriate Waste Disposal: This occurs when the type of waste disposal system being used doesn’t treat the waste correctly. The size of the sewage system might be too small, so that raw sewage pours out of its end, or the system might be wrong for the environmental setting, like septic tanks in South Louisiana.
  • · Septic Tanks: A septic tanks is just what the name says, a tank. Sewage drains into the tank from your toilet, and solid waste collects in the tank. Pipes lead out of the other end of the tank to a leaching field, which is a network of pipes, in sand, just under the ground. Ideally, the liquid waste moves downward in the leaching field and organisms, like bacteria and viruses, are filtered out and die in the soil. In the Barataria Watershed, many of our soils are wet or flooded. If the soil is flooded, then the groundwater is above the leaching field and the sewage will not be treated properly.

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