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Human Rights Day: Water (Sanitation) is a Human Right

December 7, 2023

Human Rights are Everyone’s Rights

This December 10 marks the 75 Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This groundbreaking declaration enshrines the right to dignity and equity  to “all members of the human family” regardless of  race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Sanitation is an Inalienable Right

On this Human Rights Day, MetroConnects celebrates this “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” as the declaration states. Within the right to dignity and equity for every human being is the right to clean water and sanitation. In fact, on July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized exactly that right as part of basic human rights, adopting a historical resolution that recognizes “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” 

MetroConnects’ Connection

Access to clean water and sanitation, however, is not something that comes easily or cheaply in our industrialized world. To ensure that all human beings’ rights are maintained, federal, state and local governments work together to create solutions. One solution in Greenville County is MetroConnects — a special purpose district that was created by the General Assembly Act No. 687 on July 14, 1969. MetroConnects is a subdistrict within Greenville County Sewer Authority, now known as Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), and is charged with acquiring, constructing, operating, maintaining, improving and extending facilities for the collection of sewage within our subdistrict’s boundaries, and transporting that sewage to ReWa’s treatment facilities. And that is precisely what MetroConnects crews are out in the county doing every day!

How We Work

Ever notice a MetroConnects truck on your street cleaning up your manholes? Or a MetroConnects sign letting you know that crews will be working in your area, smoke or dye testing or doing some CCTV surveillance of sewer lines? This is how we protect public health and keep water clean! In just a four month period this year, MetroConnects inspected a total of 316 miles of sewer lines and 1,489 miles of gravity mains, and performed approximately 6,275 hours of proactive maintenance, including manhole cover replacements, right of way clearance and inspection, and gravity main root cutting — all while also responding to customer calls to help clear stop ups in their lateral sewer lines! This important work prevents contaminated sanitary sewer water from backing up into homes and the community, and from leaking into groundwater. 

Additionally, MetroConnects is in the design and planning stages for major sanitary sewer replacement and rehabilitation projects in some of our communities most at need, including the Mills Mill Village, Dunean Mill Village, Union Bleachery Village, and Judson Mill Village areas. These projects are largely funded by state and federal grant monies, with construction on some set to begin this year.   

While every day is a day to be grateful for access to clean and safe water and sanitation, December 10 is a great day to remember this inalienable right, and thank our local crews for their work in making sure we all enjoy its benefits!

MetroConnects crew members cleaning sewer lines.
MetroConnects crew conducting smoke testing to check for cracks and other problems in sanitary sewer pipes.