Font Size:


Sewage is water containing feces (poop) and urine (pee), with toilet paper or wipes that flow through a sewer system or septic tank. Poop can contain harmful bacteria and viruses (germs), intestinal worms, and parasites. Sewage treatment reduces the water content and removes materials but does not kill or remove all of the germs, parasites, or worms.

Learn more about protecting yourself from illnesses caused by sewage:


Exposure to feces (poop) from sewage in your yard or on your land can harm your health. To prevent the spread of disease if you live in an area with sewage exposure, do these five things:

  • Wear shoes when walking outside
  • Wash hands often, especially after using the restroom and before eating
  • Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves when cleaning up the backflow of sewage
  • Wash food properly before cooking or eating
  • Avoid using human feces (poop) as fertilizer


Bacteria and viruses as well as parasites and worms in sewage can cause stomach and intestine or liver illness.

  • Germs and parasites may cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, or loss of appetite.
  • Hepatitis A can cause liver disease; symptoms may include feeling tired, having pale poop, and having yellow
    eyes and skin.
  • Roundworms cause coughing, trouble breathing, or pain in your belly and blocked intestines.
  • Hookworms can cause a rash, stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, tiredness, and anemia.

If you have sewage in your yard or on your land and have any of the symptoms above, talk to your doctor or nurse. If you are diagnosed with worms, a parasite, or a bacterial or viral illness, seek treatment from your doctor or nurse.

Attention Lowndes County Residents

ADPH asks Lowndes County residents with septic tanks that do not work properly or straight pipes to visit the Lowndes County Septic System Program web page or contact (334) 206-5373 to get information about getting a septic system designed, installed, or repaired so that it works with your property’s soil.

ADPH is also asking residents to complete an assessment that is available online. The assessment will also be mailed with a postage paid return envelope to households in Lowndes County. It is important that you complete this assessment so we know who is facing the most serious health risks and needs help the fastest with failing septic systems.

Additional Resources

Health Alert Network (HAN) Message for Healthcare Providers:
06/16/2023 - Consider bacterial, viral, parasitic, or intestinal worm infections in patients with exposure to raw sewage and presenting with certain symptoms

Page last updated: May 2, 2024