A sewer lateral is the underground pipe that connects a residence or business to the sewer line. Just like septic systems most of our sewer laterals are old, broken, cracked and leaking sewage into our environment. This is not any one’s fault or an inherent liability of the technology used, it is perfectly understandable that any type of technology buried underground for decades without simple low-cost oversite is ultimately going to fail. It’s not the technology that is the problem, it’s the absence of proper maintenance and oversite.
The concept of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on install and walk away solutions, is not going to solve any of our human waste contamination issues for the long-haul.
New and existing sewer laterals are acceptable to many of the same problems as septic systems; age, root damage, breaks, cracks, separated joints, soil movement, damaged caused by vehicles parked or driven over them and no oversite, all which has nothing to do with the technology type. The idea that simply connecting septic systems to sewer will solve our health and nitrogen pollution issues is short sighted and misleading. 10 Symptoms of a Damaged Sewer Pipe
What has been well known in the industry and finally brought to the light is the confirmation that when it comes to household sewer contamination, sewer laterals are not impervious to nitrogen and pathogen pollution. Also, the accepted consensus that a small crack or broken lateral couldn’t possibly pollute the environment as much as the septic systems, has been proven not to be the case with the Brevard County 2019 Study.
"There has been a great deal of focus on septic tank communities (OSTDSs) as the ones likely to be polluting the most. The Source to Slime Study did not find this to be case." "all three residential communities (septic, sewer, and sewer with reclaimed irrigation) were polluting about the same amount of Total Nitrogen to the aquifer." Brevard County, FL., The Source to Slime Study, 2019.
What this study clearly points out is that we really do not have a handle on how, or how much human waste is polluting our environment. Continuing to create costly theories and blindly throwing hundreds of millions of public and private funds at, for the moment solutions, will be costly and mildly effective.
If we stay the course, we will see little to no nitrogen reduction from the current proposed and expensive nitrogen reduction theories. Our quest for current human waste nitrogen reduction solutions have left out the most important part of their nitrogen reduction plans. Without the comprehensive and systematic management of new and existing technologies in conjunction with our permit and walk away programs, our solution installations will fail faster than we can afford to replace them. This means that the solutions installed in project #1 will begin to fail, most likely before funding can be found for project #2, were simply chasing our tails.
Root damage to a household sewer lateral, discovered during property sale.