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Pit Toilets In India Could Be Contaminating Drinking Water Sources

The Guardian: A toilet or safe drinking water? The stark choice facing many people in rural India
“…The Swains, with their tiny toilet, which empties into a leach pit — a hole in the ground used to compost feces when there is no sewage system — are the face of progress. There is a problem, however. The leach pit is next to the household’s drinking-water source, a tube well. Water so close to a leach pit is vulnerable to contamination from fecal germs, since bacteria, viruses, and protozoa can travel through soil. Worse, when the monsoon comes and the Mahanadi [river] overruns its banks, the groundwater levels in Aaruha rise, making the contamination worse. The Swains’ toilet could actually be a health risk…” (Pulla, 7/25).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.