NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Applications are now being accepted from qualifying East Texans for new home septic systems.
Residents must live within the Attoyac Bayou Watershed, an area that scientists say is polluted with E. coli caused in part by faulty methods of disposing of human waste.
A community in eastern Nacogdoches County is being helped, including resident Scottie Yarbrough.
She shows the way to where everything that left her house from a drain ended up for the last 15 years.
"I only had like a culvert in the ground and we made a lid for it,” said Yarbrough while pointing to a covered culvert. “We ran our pipes in there and that's how we would dispose of our waste."
Yarbrough's neighbors, many of them relatives, used or are using the same method of waste disposal.
“This is a trench that ran from the house, through this field to where the woods started to a creek,” said director of Nacogdoches County Environmental Health Department, Tommy Wheeler while pointing to a muddy trench in a pasture.
Which leads to the Attoyac Bayou, just like other creeks within the watershed that’s found in Rusk, Shelby, San Augustine, and Nacogdoches counties. They all empty into Sam Rayburn Reservoir, a primary water source for East Texas.
In an effort to reduce the number of cesspools and failing septic systems some residents in the Attoyac Bayou watershed can receive new ones.
Pineywoods Resource Conservation and Development is leading the program.
"We do have priority for income. Below 80% of median income. We do pay 100%. This program does pay 100%," explained Ken Awtrey, Pineywoods RC&D coordinator.
A good deal, but some homeowners are reluctant to apply. They wonder, said Awtrey, "if they are out of compliance, are they going to get into trouble. They won't.”
The ultimate goal is to offer financial and technical assistance so that individuals to an entire region can do a better job of protecting the environment.
To apply call 936-568-0414.