No more stopgap solutions
The dispute between the Environmental Protection Agency and Mora Mutual Domestic Water and Sewer Association brings to the fore an issue that plagues many poor rural communities (HCN, 12/12/11, "Clean Water Conundrum"). Both septic systems and treatment plants distract from the real issue of human waste removal at the point of disposal -- the household. The dominant, mostly unquestioned method is to flush our human waste away "sight unseen," and the expense is now not only measured in unattainable dollars, but also degradation of our water sources. Today, human sewage contains a whole host of products from hormones, GMOs and pesticides, to chemicals, pharmaceuticals and toxins that folks daily pour on their bodies, down drains, onto the ground and in the toilet. We put our waste into streams and rivers and hide it in the groundwater, then we wonder why it comes up toxic in the aquifer.
Mora Mutual Domestic could better spend $2 million on a holistic non-point source program that starts with people and their households, shaping solutions to educate folk on choices and actions that improve the environment, rather than a stopgap solution that will manifest additional problems for future generations to deal with.
Mora, New Mexico