2 women helping install septic tanks for Lowndes County families in need

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT
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LOWNDES COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Two women are on a mission to bring better sewage infrastructure to Lowndes County families in need.

For the last five years, Sherry Bradley and Perman Hardy have been on the ground in the most rural areas of the county, helping install new septic tanks for residents. More than half of the residents in the county have inefficient sewer systems.

Their organization, the Black Belt Unincorporated Wastewater Program, was awarded over $4 million in federal grants, and with that money, they have been able to install 75 onsite sewage treatment systems for people who can’t afford them.

“We have a USDA grant of $2.1 million, and we have ARPA funding of $2.2 million,” Bradley said.

Homeowners can apply for a free sewer system through their program if they meet certain requirements. Recipients do have to pay a $20 maintenance fee per month, but that ensures the system keeps working.

“We love helping people, and we can see a difference in this,” Bradley said.

“You have to go into those communities, you have to sit on the porch, you have to maybe sit out in the garden or walk out in the garden and let people know that help is here,” Hardy said.

Both of the women have come out of retirement to do this work. Sherry worked for the Alabama Department of Public Health for 45 years.

“I think we both love just helping people,” Bradley said.

So far, they have had over 200 applications, but not everyone can be approved. Some of those who do not qualify live on their property, do not have enough land, or have a house that sits on someone else’s property.

There are currently 20 people who have already been approved for a new system, but are waiting for it to be installed.

Each home’s system will range in price. The average price is around $25,000.

To apply, or learn more information, go to https://www.bbuwp.org/.

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