Stuff I wrote elsewhere: septic systems and groundwater contamination

I am endlessly fascinated (and frustrated) by the mess that is societal risk perception. Here (behind a Google survey wall), a look at efforts to regulate septic systems in Bernalillo County, primarily on the kind-of-rural fringes of the Albuquerque metro area:

As groundwater contamination problems go, the stuff leaking from septic systems isn’t terribly sexy. Give me a gas station’s leaking underground storage tank any day, or an old electronics plant, or Kirtland Air Force Base’s sloppy aviation fuel handling. That I can get excited about.

But waste leaking from an aging home septic system?

That, says University of New Mexico engineering professor Bruce Thomson, is precisely the problem.

“It’s groundwater contamination that’s happening all around us, and we’re not paying any attention,” said Thomson, an expert in treating human waste who delights in describing his academic specialty as “turd mechanics.”