LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – There's a huge health hazard surfacing in Angelina County according to health inspectors. Dangerous bacteria could put the quality of drinking water in jeopardy.
There's one reason sewage system installations are closely monitored in Angelina County.
"The sewage that surfaces itself is harmful. We're talking about fecal [matter], e-coli that can be very dangerous - hazardous to the people who live there - children, pets," said Terry Free, Director of Environmental Services, Angelina County & Cities Health District.
Every new septic system in the county is licensed and inspected by health inspectors. It's a process in place for more than a decade. At that time existing sewer systems were grand fathered-in. Now, a growing number are showing their age, and complaints are pouring-in.
Terry Free, a health inspector sees some nasty problems.
"Raw sewage surfacing to the top of the ground, running into a neighbor's property..." said Free.
For now, the health district is only addressing complaints.
If homeowners skip over the permit process, they're putting the public's health at risk, including their own.
"In some cases we do have to take people to court if they don't get their violations corrected. We do take e. coli samples that way we can have evidence of contamination," said Brittany Henson, Angelina Co. Health Inspector.
It's a dirty job.
"The sewage that surfaces into road ditches, creeks that eventually runs into our streams, our lakes... We're talking about a much larger environmental impact," said Free.
An ongoing struggle to protect county drinking water... now and in the future.
Conventional systems typically don't work in Angelina County because the clay soil pushes sewage to the surface. That's why the permit process determines what kind of sewer system will work on your property.