A jaw hole is a hole in which dirty water or sewage is collected. And yes, there are apocalyptical disasters involving sewage, and not just in third-world countries either.
London, UK. 1878. The local sewage system still in use today had formed large mud banks of waste in the Thames River. The steamer Princess Alice sunk in the middle of the Thames and 650 people died from drowning in the raw sewage.
Louisville, Kentucky, USA. February 13, 1981. Two miles of road were destroyed when hexane vapors illegally discharged into the sewers caught fire and caused a series of explosions.
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. April 22, 1992. Two hundred fifty-two people were killed, 500 were injured and another 15,000 people were left homeless after gas explosions in the sewer system destroyed 5 miles of streets. Strong gas smells had been reported by residents four days previous to the disaster, however, city officials felt it was not necessary to evacuate the area.
Um El-Naser, Gaza. March 27, 2007. Seventy percent of the village’s homes were submerged in 2 meters of raw sewage when the earthen wall of a cesspool sewage pool collapsed. Five people were killed, including two babies, an elderly woman, and a 15-year-old girl, 20 more people were injured. The collapse was due to sand theft from the areas around the embankment. The sand had been sold to building contractors.
Edinburgh, Scotland. April 20, 2007. A pump failed at the city’s sewage processing plant and caused millions of liters of waste to flow into the Firth of Forth for days. It was devasting to the local fish and wildlife.
San Isidro and La Providencia, Mexico. April 2011. Three children were injured and more than 200 homes were flooded when a sewage pipe cracked.
So what about La Yacata? Well, we aren’t connected to the main sewer line. (See You can Lead a horse to water, sewage, and electricity) Although we reuse quite a bit of our greywater for our garden, our toilet and shower drains are connected to a pipe that connects to the drenaje (drainage) out to the road. To no one’s surprise, the pipes in the road are not the appropriate size. These smaller than requisite pipes run down the road and swerve to the left and open out to the arroyo (an open drainage pit or jaw hole). The little towns up the road, Caricheo, Pamaceo, La Ordeña, Las Peñas, all have the same jaw hole. The sewage goes away–to where I’m not exactly sure.
One of our neighbors once mentioned that he likes to stand under the pipe and bathe during the rainy season. EWW! Be that as it may…
We have a beginning of an environmental disaster on our hands. Our neighbor has pigs. (See Hate Thy Neighbor) He shovels the pig poop into the sewer pipes. The sewer pipes are not designed for human poop much less pig poop. Pig poop has backed up into the sewer pipes and has been oozing out of the open sewer pipe of the house down the street. Our house is above the pig farm, so the poop hasn’t reached us yet, but if it does, boy am I going to pitch a fit!
Our plan is to call the Departamento de Ecologia before that happens. I’m sure the neighbor won’t be happy with us, but hey, poop is icky! And I hope the road doesn’t collapse over the sewer one day like happened to this poor woman in India!