Our Blog - Live Generously

Read the thoughts and impressions on a variety of topics written by Christopher F. Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Community Foundation as well as occasional guest bloggers.

Audi Hilton Head Spotlights Community Foundation of the Lowcountry

Everyday Matters: Every Day Matters


Conquering Sewage
By Denise K. Spencer / January 31, 2019


Conquering Sewage

With rain, stench returns.
Sewage invades yard and home.
Sickness visits next.

Sad indignities
Some low-income citizens
Have endured for years.

Neighbors can change this.
Generous hearts beat here.
Be the solution.

For me to write and share haiku poetry about sewage has to tell you that I’m serious about promoting the solution to this issue. Who else writes poetry about sewage? 

Regrettably, this page does not offer “scratch and sniff” to make it possible to share the reeking essence of backed up sewage in someone’s home when a septic system has failed. It does not provide a petri dish to illustrate the growth of bacteria that cause families to take ill following such an occurrence. It cannot display the impact of this pollution on local seafood, or on delicate ecosystems that have long been part of Hilton Head Island’s brand and blessing. 

Therefore, I’m limited to 500 words with which to share the critical nature of Project SAFE (Sewer Access for Everyone), and the need for your support. Briefly, even well-maintained septic systems are not efficient or effective with the high water table, soil type, and root systems here on Hilton Head Island. And often those with low-incomes are unable to afford regular maintenance. Until recently, many residents outside of the gated communities did not even have public sewer nearby. But the Town of Hilton Head Island and the Hilton Head Public Service District have completed their promise to make main lines and pump stations available. Unfortunately, property owners still need to bear the cost of connecting their homes to the mains. The average cost of this per home is $6,700! For most of us, this is a lot of money. For low-income residents, it is incomprehensible.

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry has undertaken the task of raising the $3 million dollars needed to provide for these connections for low-income resident property owners. To date we have raised $2.55 million. The construction of the sewer main lines is anticipated to be complete by June 2019. We want to complete our own fund drive by that time as well.

Won’t you help? You may pledge a gift over several years. Some donors are gifting the average cost of a connection (or several). Some are having us take a set amount from their charge card each month. Some are gifting money from their IRA. A check or cash in any amount is just fine with us. Questions? There is a short video and some additional information on our website. Or call me: 843-681-9100. 

Yes, I’ll write poetry. I’ll come to speak to your group or organization or book club. I’ll share data, research, and progress. I’ll do what I can because I’m serious about solving this public health, environmental and economic issue once and for all. Be the solution. And live generously. This beautiful island, and its beautiful people, are depending on you.

Denise K. Spencer
President and CEO

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Community Foundation of the Lowcountry

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 23019
Hilton Head Island,
South Carolina 29925

Office Location
4 Northridge Drive, Suite A
Hilton Head Island,
South Carolina 29926

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