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State Plans to 'Flush' Outhouses

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ENFIELD — It is eight months until the year 2000, and outhouses are still a part of the landscape in some North Carolina towns, but not for long. A state initiative will soon make them a thing of the past.

It is hard to believe, but an outhouse in the back of Maelee Jones' yard is her family's only option.

"We need it. Boy, I tell you, the toilets, it gets hot around here, and you can't stay around here," said Jones.

TheDepartment of Commerceis spending about half a million dollars inHalifaxandMitchell Countiesto provide septic tanks or sewer lines to neighborhoods like the one in Enfield.

Environmental regulators say the old pits are breeding grounds for health problems. Enfield Mayor Kai Hardaway has been asking for help for years.

"This is fantastic news. I'm terribly elated that the possibility of taking people out of these inhumane conditions is before us," said Hardaway.

Moses Salver says it is a big step up for his neighborhood.

"The guy that we rent from, he built us an inside bathroom in the house, but they haven't run a sewer down here yet. We still have to use the toilet," said Salver.

The money is already in place. The counties who benefit are donating labor and materials to keep the cost down.

The state is holding a groundbreaking Thursday to kick off the test program.

If things go well, they hope to add 10 counties, includingFranklin County, to the list.


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