United States
                       Environmental Protection
                       Agency
    Office of Water
    (4204)
    Washington, DC 20460
EPA 832-F-99-060
October 1999
                        U.S. Census  Data on Small
                        Community Housing and
                        Wastewater Disposal and
                        Plumbing  Practices
Many people in small communities, those with
fewer than 10,000 people, don't have access to
public sewers. For these residents alternative
wastewater systems are often used to solve their
communities' public health problems and to help
them comply with the Clean Water Act.

The 1990 Decennial Census of Population and
Housing says 30 percent of all Americans live in
small communities; 31.8 percent of the Nation's
housing units are  located in these communities
(Figure  1). The  Census  contains information
on the structural characteristics  of these houses,
plus wastewater disposal methods and types of
plumbing facilities.
   Did you know ...  ?

    77 million people live in small communities.

     11.7 million housing units in small commu-
     nities are served by public sewers; 19.8 mil-
     lion use septic tanks or cesspools, and
     917,373 use outhouses or privies.

    Pennsylvania has the most people living in
      small communities (4.4 million), and Texas
     has the greatest number of housing units in
      small communities (1,877,889).

     California has the  highest number of housing
      units using outhouses or privies (67,865).
     Figure 1. Housing Units in Small Communities
                                 9   10
                  EPA Region
The sections that follow contain information on
small community housing, wastewater disposal
practices,  and existing plumbing facilities.  AIT
data presented here are  derived from the 1990
Census of Population  and Housing.  Table  1
provides  a  state-by-state summary of small
community population, housing, sewage disposal
and plumbing data.


Wastewater Disposal Methods
The Census Bureau categorizes U.S. wastewater
disposal into three types: public sewer, septic tank
or cesspool, and "other" means, such as  privies
and outhouses. In large communities (those with
more than 10,000 people) almost 93 percent of the
housing units are connected to a public sewer, 7
percent use septic tanks or cesspools, and 0.3 per-
cent use other means (Figure 2). In contrast, about
61 percent of housing units in small communities
use a  septic tank or cesspool for wastewater

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        Figure 2. Wastewater Disposal Method
       Small communities Large communities  National average

       H Public sewer HI Septic tank or cesspool Q Other means
disposal. Approximately 36 percent are hooked up
to public sewers and nearly 3 percent use an alter-
native means of disposal. Other states with large
numbers of small community housing units using
outhouses/privies   are:   Kentucky  (55,764),
Pennsylvania (47,902),  Missouri (46,223),  and
North Carolina (45,461).

Figure  3  shows that  in  eight  out of  ten
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regions,
septic tanks and cesspools are used by more than
                             50 percent of the small community housing units.
                             When comparing the EPA regions, the proportion
                             of housing units using septic tanks and cesspools
                             varies. For example, in Region 1 about 71 percent
                             of the homes use  septic tanks or cesspools for
                             sewage disposal  as compared  to  45 percent in
                             Regions 7 and 8.


                             Plumbing Facilities
                             According to the  Census, complete  plumbing
                             facilities means that a housing unit  has hot and
                             cold piped water, a flush toilet, and  a bathtub or
                             shower. All three facilities must be located inside
                             the home but not necessarily in the same room.

                             Nationwide, 2.3 percent of housing units in small
                             communities have incomplete plumbing facilities.
                             This amounts to nearly three quarters  of a million
                             homes that have inadequate plumbing. Alaska has
                             the  highest percentage of incomplete  plumbing
                             facilities (24.6 percent), followed by Arizona (7.8
                             percent),   New  Mexico  (7.4  percent),  and
                             Kentucky (5.0  percent).  When  evaluated by
                             numbers rather than percentages,  Texas has the
              Figure 3. Wastewater Disposal Methods in Small Communities
            2.3
1.6
3.6
                                            EPA Region
                                                                                    10
                 % w/ sewer
                                     % w/ septic tank or cesspool
                                               % w/ other means of disposal

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      Figure 4. Lack of Complete Plumbing Facilities in Small and Large Communities
                                      456

                                          EPA Region
                                 10
                               Small communities
          Large communities
highest number of incomplete plumbing facilities
(50,214)  in housing units, followed by Kentucky
(41,707)  and Virginia (40,162).

Small  communities have a bigger problem with
incomplete plumbing  than large ones. Figure 4
illustrates the disparity between the percentages of
small community housing units with incomplete
plumbing facilities and large  community housing
units with incomplete plumbing facilities by EPA
region. The percent of housing units in large com-
munities with incomplete plumbing does  not
exceed 0.7 percent for any EPA region, whereas in
small communities the percent  is as high as 3.8
percent.  As highlighted  in Table 1, more than
70  percent  of the Nation's  housing  units that
lack complete plumbing  facilities  are in  small
communities.
EPA  recognizes that  small  communities  lag
behind  others  in addressing their wastewater
treatment and disposal needs. The Agency has,
therefore,  established  several  financial  and
technical assistance  programs  and  centers  to
help  these  communities  obtain  appropriate
sewage  treatment  and disposal  systems.  To
learn more  about these  programs,  visit  the
Office of  Wastewater Management's  website:
http://www.epa.gov/OWM.
 Additional copies of this fact sheet may be obtained by contacting the Office of Water Resources Center in EPA at (202) 260-7786 and
 referring to the document number EPA 832J?-99-060. You may also visit our Website (http://w\yw-epa.gov/OWM/smallc.htm) to obtain
 other summaries of this information.      .     :.;.._: ^.   .,:...... :'.   .'  .   ...  -    .   .;'"''

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Table 1. State-by-State Summary of 1990 U.S. Census Bureau Data for Population, Housing,
       Sewerage, and Plumbing Data for Small Communities (Population < 10,000)
State
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kanns
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Total
State Population
Total SUitc
4.040.587
550.043
3.665,228
2,350,725
29,760,021
3,294,394
3587.116
666.168
12,937,926
6,478,216
1.108.229
11.006,749
11,430.602
5.544,159
2.776,755
2.477.574
3,685.296
4.219,973
1,227,928
4.781,468
6,016,425
9,295,297
4,375,099
2,573,216
5,117,073
799,065
1.576,385
1.201.833
1,109.252
7.730,188
1,515,069
17.990.455
6.628,637
638.800
10.847.115
3.145.585
2,842.321
11.881,643
1,003,464
3,486,703
696,004
4,877,185
16,936.510
1.722.850
562,758
6,187,358
4,866.692
1,793.477
4,891,769
453,588
248,102,973
Small
Communities
1,955,069
203,620
743,254
1,439,862
3,134,136
802.425
770.840
206.674
2,477,852
2.814,664
285,086
568,485
2,411,256
2,365,796
1,500,990
1,003.165
2,085.937
1,736,249
853,406
1,086,674
1.152,633
3,229,265
1,642,933
1,593,929
2,017,759
482,145
690,562
224,733
629,261
1,009,741
586,186
3.405,728
3,716.384
356,972
3.386.065
1.321,874
1.678.644
4,400,283
162,328
1,953,177
411,361
2.260,513
4.351,950
320,461
457,655
2,152.387
1,428,491
1,295,502
2,130,499
238.752
77,133,613
Percent
In Small
Comm-
unities
48.4
37.0
20,3
61.3
10.5
24.4
23.5
31.0
19.2
43.4
25.7
56.5
21.1
42.7
54.1
40.5
56.6
41.1
69.5
22.7
19.2
34.7
37.6
61.9
39.4
60.3
43.8
18.7
56.7
13.1
38.7
18.9
56.1
55.9
31.2
42.0
59.1
37.0
16.2
56.0
59.1
46.3
25.6
18.6
81.3
34.8
29.4
72.2
43.6
52.6
31.1
Housing Units '
Total State
1,670,379
232,608
1,659,430
1,000,667
11,182,882
1,477,349
1,320,850
289,919
6,100,262
2,638,418
389,610
413,327
4,506,275 ,
2,246,046
1,143,669
1,044,112
1,506,845
1,716,241
587,045
1,891,917
2,472,711
3,847,926
1,848,445
1,010,423
2,199,129
361,155
660,621
518,858
503,904
3,075,310
632.058
7,226,891
2,818,193
276,340
4,371,945
1,406,499
1,193,567
4,938,140
414,572
1,424,155
292,436
2,026,067
7,008,999
598,388
271,214
2,496,334
2,032,378
781,295
2,055,774
203,411
101,985,189
Small
Communities
804,943
114,566
346,203
611,902
1,293,543
398,110
304,708
109,302
1,180,366
1,113,443
105,127
241,779
965,537
927,036
619,418
426,348
841,428
683,618
426,184
433,671
503,488
1,442,214
739,891
614,507
881,243
223,483
299,059
100,384
301,667
438,517
249,149
1,470,717
1,607,575
159,122
1,276,835
586,779
469,876
1,832,009
68,654
783,883
175,166
922,990
1,877,889
129,025
228,288
877,250
603,067
551,521
954,561
111,372
32,427,413
Percent
In
Small
Comm-
unities
48.2
49.3
20.9
61.1
11.6
26.9
23.1
37.7
19.3
42.2
27.0
58.5
21.4
41.3
54.2
40.8
55.8
39.8
72.6
22.9
20.4
37.5
40.0
60.8
40.1
61.9
45.3
19.3
59.9
14.3
39.4
20.4
57.0
57.6
29.2
41.7
39.4
37.1
16.6
55.0
59.9
45.6
26.8
21.6
84.2
35.1
29.7
70.6
46.4
54.8
31.8
Sewage Disposal (Housing Units)2
Total State
Public Sewer
910,782
144,905
1,348,836
601,188
10,022,843
1,283,186
935,541
212,793
4,499,793
1,638,979
312,812
264,618
3,885,689
1,525,810
869,056
847,767
849,491
1,246,678
266,344
1,533,799
1,803,176
2,724,408
1,356,520
585,185
1,617,996
218,372
534,692
456,107
250,060
2,703,489
452,934
5,716,917
1,403,033
204,328
3,392,785
1,028,594
835,545
3,670,338
293,901
825,754
207,996
1,213,934
5,690,550
528,864
115,201
1,740,787
1,387,396
427,930
1,440,024
151,004
76,178,730
Septic Tank
or Cesspool
728,690
59,886
282,897
382,467
1,092,174
183,817
378,382
74,541
1,559,113
970,686
72,940
142,879
598,125
703,032
264,889
187,398
600,182
442,758
301,373
342,523
659,120
1,090,481
467,938
387,406
532,844
135,371
117,460
60,508
246,692
357,890
161,068
1 ,460,873
1,365,632
66,479
940,943
367,197
349,122
1,210,054
118,410
578,129
78,435
781,616
1,266,713
65,403
149,125
707,409
630,646
318,697
580,836
49,055
24,670,302
No Treatment
(Outhouses
and Privies)
30,907
27,817
27,697
17,012
67,865
10,346
6,927
2,585
41,356
28,753
4,058
5,830
22,461
17,204
9,724
8,947
57,172
26,805
19,328
15,595
10,415
33,037
23,989
37,832
48,289
7,412
8,469
2,243
7,152
13,931
18,056
49,101
49,528
5,533
38,217
10,708
8,900
57,748
2,261
20,272
6,005
30,517
51,736
4,121
6,888
48,138
14,336
34,668
34,914
3,352
1,136,157
Total w/o
Public
Seworc
759,597
87,703
310,594
399,479
1,160,039
194,163
385,309
77,126
1 ,600,469
999,439
76,998
148,709
620,586
720,236
274,613
196,345
657,354
469,563
320,701
358,118
669,535
1,123,518
491,925
425,238
581,133
142,783
125,929
62,751
253,844
371 ,821
179,124
1,509,974
1,4,15,160
72,012
979,160
377,905
358,022
1 ,267,802
120,671
598,401
84,440
812,133
1,318,449
69,524
156,013
755,547
644,982
353,365
615,750
62,407
25,806,459
Percent
w/o
Public
Sewers
45.5
37.7
18.7
39.9
10.4
13.1
29.2
26.6
26.2
37.9
19.8
36.0
13.8
32.1
24.0
18.8
43.6
27.4
54.6
18.9
27.1
29.2
26.6
42.1
26.4
39.5
19.1
12.1
50.4
12.1
28.3
20.9
50.2
26.1
22.4
26.9
30.0
25.7
29.1
42.0
28.9
40.1
18.8
11.6
57.5
30.3
31.7
45.2
30.0
25.8
25.3
Percent w/o
Treatment
(Outhouses
and Privies)
1.9
12.0
1.7
1.7
0.6
0.7
0.5
0.9
0.7
1.1
1.0
1.4
0.5
0.8
0.9
.0.9
3.8
1.6
3.3
0.8
0.4
0.9
1.3
3.7
2.2
2.1
1.3
0.4
1.4
0.5
2.9
0.7
1.8
2.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
1.2
0.5
1.4
2.1
1.5
0.7
0.7
2.5
1.9
0.7
4.4
1.7
1.6
1.1
                                                                              (continued)

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Table 1. State-by-State Summary of 1990 U.S. Census Bureau Data for Population, Housing,
        Sewerage, and Plumbing Data for Small Communities (Population < 10,000)


State
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Total
Sewage Disposal (Housing Units)1
Small Communities
Public Sewer
190,040
40,379
135,533
234,249
548,372
220,473
66,968
39,515
425,834
306,578
45,199
107,165
480,715
324,904
363,477
250,206
240,761
258,506
124,159
144,443
128,907
448,179
289,275
207,715
350,252
94,265
177,924
53,722
81,540
220,552
97,013
446,664
360,630
87,71 1
460,113
259,393
185,116
699,323
14,542
267,035
93,167
230,658
734,620
70,816
77,090
220,531
171,856
208,265
369,712
60,554
11,714,616
Septic Tank or
Cesspool
586,404
47,229
185,198
361,501
725,210
168,470
234,201
67,717
735,367
782,166
57,106
129,008
470,635
587,456
246,857
168,086
544,903
404,089
283,107
279,254
370,365
967,535
427,733
370,522
484,768
122,015
112,829
45,143
213,384
213,938
134,867
998,022
1,201,484
65,921
785,901
318,107
276,932
1,084,784
53,097
498,317
76,063
664,024
1,106,450
54,312
144,340
612,272
419,458
309,180
552,139
47,558
19,795,424
No Treatment
(Outhouses and
Privies)
28,499
26,958
25,472
16,152
19,961
9,167
3,539
2,070
19,165
24,699
2,822
5,606
14,187
14,676
9,084
8,056
55,764
21,023
18,918
9,974
4,216
26,500
22,883
36,270
46,223
7,203
8,306
1,519
6,743
4,027
17,269
26,031
45,461
5,490
30,821
9,279
7,828
47,902
1,015
18,531
5,936
28,308
36,819
3,897
6,858
44,447
11,753
34,076
32,710
3,260
917,373
Total w/o Public
Sewers
614,903
74,187
210,670
377,653
745,171
177,637
237,740
69,787
754,532
806,865
59,928
134,614
484,822
602,132
255,941
176,142
600,667
425,112
302,025
289,228
374,581
994,035
450,616
406,792
530,991
129,218
121,135
46,662
220,127
217,965
152,136
1,024,053
1,246,945
71,411
816,722
327,386
284,760
1,132,686
54,112
516,848
81,999
692,332
1,143,269
58,209
151,198
656,719
431,211
343,256
584,849
50,818
20,712,797
Percent w/o Public
Sewers
76.4
64.8
60.9
61.7
57.6
44.6
78.0
63.8
63.9
72.5
57.0
55.7
50.2
65.0
41.3
41.3
71.4
62.2
70.9
66.7
74.4
68.9
60.9
66.2
60.3
57.8
40.5
46.5
73.0
49.7
61.1
69.6
77.6
44.9
64.0
55.8
60.6
61.8
78.8
65.9
46.8
75.0
60.9
45.1
66.2
74.9
71.5
62.2
61.3
45.6
63.9
Percent w/o
Treatment
(Outhouses
and Privies)
3.5
23.5
7.4
2.6
1.5
2.3
1.2
1.9
1.6
2.2
2.7
2.3
1.5
1.6
1.5
1.9
6.6
3.1
4.4
2.3
0.8
1.8
3.1
5.9
5.2
3.2
2.8
1.5
2.2
0.9
6.9
1.8
2.8
3.5
2.4
1.6
1.7
2.6
1.5
2.4
3.4
3.1
2.0
3.0
3.0
5.1
1.9
6.2
3.4
2.9
2.8
Percent of
Total w/o Treat-
ment That Are
In Small
Communities
92.2
96.9
92.0
94.9
29.4
88.6
51.1
80.1
46.3
85.9
69.5
96.2
63.2
85.3
93.4
90.0
97.5
78.4
97.9
64.0
40.5
80.2
95.4
95.9
95.7
97.2
98.1
67.7
94.3
28.9
95.6
53.0
91.8
99.2
80.6
86.7
88.0
83.0
44.9
91.4
98.9
92.8
71.2
94.6
99.6
92.3
82.0
98.3
93.7
97.3
80.7
                                                                         (continued)

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Table 1.  State-by-State Summary of 1990 U.S. Census Bureau Data for Population, Housing,
          Sewerage, and Plumbing Data for Small Communities (Population < 10,000)
Stale
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Malm
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Total
Plumbing Facilities (Housing Units)3
Total State
Complete
1,642,879
203.584
1,627,959
982,261
11,113,501
1,465,571
1.315,105
288,197
6,072,305
2,609,956
385,498
407,309
4,476,959
2,229.811
1,133,898
1,036,261
1,462,623
1,694.335
566.269
1,879,232
2.460,345
3,815,434
1,824,081
988,572
2,172,297
354,144
655,379
516,156
497,996
3.059,718
612.087
7,159,544
2,775,231
270,763
4.339,037
1,392.742
1,183,174
4,891,083
412,319
1,403,978
286.513
1,993,707
6,923,924
592,522
265,092
2.450,215
2,013,760
756,226
2,025,997
200,194
100,885,743
Lacking
Complete
27,500
29,024
31,471
18,406
69,381
11,778
5,745
1,722
27,957
28,462
4,312
6,018
29,316
16,235
9,771
7,851
44,222
21,906
20,776
12,685
12,366
32,492
24,364
21,851
26,832
7,011
5,242
2,702
5,908
15,592
19,971
67,347
42,962
5,577
32,908
13,757
10,393
47,057
2,253
20,177
5,923
32,360
85,075
5,866
6,122
46,119
18,618
25,069
29,777
3,217
1,099,446
Percent
Lacking
Complete
1.6
12.5
1.9
1.8
0.6
0.8
0.4
0.6
0.5
1.1
1.1
1.5
0.7
0.7
0.9
0.8
2.9
1.3
3.5
0.7
0.5
0.8
1.3
2.2
1.2
1.9
0.8
0.5
1.2
0.5
3.2
0.9
1.5
2.0
0.8
1.0
0.9
1.0
0.5
1.4
2.0
1.6
1.2
1.0
2.3
1.8
0.9
3.2
1.4
1.6
1.1
Small Communities
Complete
782,169
86,342
319,120
595,673
1,277,516
389,018
302,993
108,130
1,171,331
1,091,629
102,403
236,179
954,388
915,524
611,370
420,209
799,721
668,259
406,248
426,431
500,367
1,419,151
719,053
595,047
860,414
217,237
294,940
99,210
296,468
436,734
230,630
1,449,787
1,569,894
153,874
1,255,290
576,956
462,474
1,800,122
68,092
766,71 1
169,539
895,115
1,827,675
124,376
222,316
837,088
590,149
527,584
929,618
108,551
31,669,115
Lacking
Complete
22,774
28,224
27,083
16,229
16,027
9,092
1,715
1,172
9,035
21,814
2,724
5,600
11,149
11,512
8,048
6,139
41,707
15,359
19,936
7,240
3,121
23,063
20,838
19,460
20,829
6,246
4,119
1,174
5,199
1,783
18,519
20,930
37,681
5,248
21,545
9,823
7,402
31,887
562
17,172
5,627
27,875
50,214
. 4,649
5,972
40,162
12,918
23,937
24,943
2,821
758,298
Percent Lacking
2.8
24.6
7.8
2.7
1.2
2.3
0.6
1.1
0.8
2.0
2.6
2.3
1.2
1.2
1.3
1.4
5.0
2.2
4.7
1.7
0.6
1.6
2.8
3.2
2.4
2.8
1.4
1.2
1.7
0.4
7.4
1.4
2.3
3.3
1.7
1.7
1.6
1.7
0.8
2.2
3.2
3.0
2.7
3.6
2.6
4.6
2.1
4.3
2.6
2.5
2.3
Percent of Total
Lacking Complete
Plumbing That Are In
Small Communities
82.8
97.2
86.1
88.2
23.1
77.2
29.9
68.1
32.3
76.6
63.2
93.1
38.0
70.9
82.4
78.2
94.3
70.1
96.0
57.1
25.2
71.0
85.5
89.1
77.6
89.1
78.6
43.4
88.0
11.4
92.7
31.1
87.7
94.1
65.5
71.4
71.2
67.8
24.9
85.1
95.0
86.1
59.0
79.3
97.5
87.1
69.4
95.5
83.8
87.7
69.0
 1. Housing units are defined as separate living quarters (e.g., apartment, mobile home, a group of rooms, or single room) in
 which the occupants live and eat separately from other persons in the building.

 2. Housing units are either connected to a public sewer, to a septic tank or cesspool, or have no treatment. A public sewer
 may be operated by a government or private organization. A septic tank or cesspool is an underground pit or tank for sewage
 treatment and no treatment indicates an outhouse or privie.

 3. Complete plumbing facilities include hot and cold piped water, a flush toilet, and a bathtub or shower. All three facilities
 must be inside the house (housing unit), but not necessarily in the same room. Housing units are lacking complete plumbing
 when any of the three facilities are not present.

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