Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Septic Tanks, Pestilence, Morbidity and Mortality of Biblical proportions?Armageddon at St. Leon?

Septic Tanks, Pestilence,
Morbidity and Mortality of Biblical proportions?
Armageddon at St. Leon?

Submitted by Dr. Alan S. Freemond, Sr.

There is a strong movement by a few powerful movers and shakers of St. Leon to extend the St. Leon Sewer system to no announced limit.

The arguments for this extension are always cloaked in the old bromide of doing well for the people. Therefore we get the same old tired arguments that time has shown to be unimportant and/or in error. One such argument is that 85 % of the septic systems in the State of Indiana are failed or failing. Another argument is that the soils of Indiana are incapable of handling septic systems. YET WE’RE ALL STILL ALIVE AND WELL.

This doing good for the people, a standby for politicians to get what they want, reminds one of the old song sung by that Harvard math Professor Tom Lehrer who wrote a song that could have been in reference to politicians, about a prostitute who was doing well by doing good (for her customers).

I have heard about the 85% failure rate of Indiana System Systems since the early 1970s. Around that time a group of blue suit/red tie types from Indianapolis arrived in St. Leon with the grand idea of building a sewage disposal facility to supplant, by fiat, septic systems regardless of how well they function. They too had that number 85% failure of septic systems in Indiana. They gushed about the health hazard to which people in St. Leon were exposed.

Given the implied health dangers of the claimed widespread failing of septic systems we should see the ubiquitous presence of waterborne coliform bacteria, pathogenic parasites, and pathogenic viruses. Thus it is reasonable to assume that there should be occasional epidemics of disabling to fatal cases of dysentery from the intestinal bacterial or from intestinal parasites.

Logically there should be cases of infantile paralysis from the polio virus that is transmitted by sewage along with other ways. We are not even seeing occasional or anecdotal reports of individual cases of the above disease in rural/agricultural areas serviced by septic systems. Thus we don’t even have an endemic infestation of these pathogens.

Now about that over and over repeated worn out 85% number of failed or failing septic systems in Indiana. I can’t find corroborative data or even one piece of datum to validate that claim. What we do find is that according to the Purdue publication (revised 9/2005) of “Septic System Failure” there are about 800,000 septic systems in Indiana. Of those approximate 800,000 systems it is estimated that approximately 200,000 are inadequate, failing or failed. This demonstrates that about 25 systems out of every 100 are in need of repair or replacement rather than the 85 out a hundred as is claimed by supporters and proponents of the St. Leon sewer system.

Interestingly enough among those 800,000 Indiana were Septic systems built from before 1950 to those that were built as recently as 2003.

Studies quoted by Purdue University demonstrate that of the systems build between 1950 and 2001 one in three systems needed repair. Since then with newer regulation the repair need is simply 3 out of 100 systems.

Obviously those build before 2002 that required repair or replacement were repaired or replaced and they are functioning satisfactorily. If they were not functioning satisfactorily we’d have endemic infestations with reports of a few cases of diseases previously mentioned. Possibly we’d have epidemics of these diseases. This is not the case.

It is unfortunate that there is a perception among government people that we don’t know when our septic systems are not functioning properly. The odor emanating from the tank, the foul puddle of sewage in one’s front yard, the poor functioning of our drains and toilets are in the eyes of the sewer proponents not noticed or intentionally ignored by us and thus we must by court order connect to their sewer system - for our own good of course.

Essentially there is no great problem that requires court ordered connections to the St. Leon sewer system. The total cost beyond their $4,000 connection fee includes the cost of excavating and laying pipe to the house, the cost of the grinder, and the continuing cost of the service, which are outrageously expensive. The bland recommendation that one should get a loan for all of this is inexcusable. The individual who is forced to get a loan must of course pay back the loan plus all of its interest.

We must explore in detail who is the driving force or who are the driving forces behind this outrage.

Do members of the various administrations of St. Leon want this in order to service their own land or relatives’ land to sell as industrial sites at say $55,000 to $60,000 per acre? There is land now being serviced by the sewer system or about to be serviced ready to be sold at $55,000-$60,000 per acre as industrial development land.
Are the members of the sewer board being urged on by developers, relatives, or friends to force sewer connections?
Are the members of the sewer board being urged on by the company that runs the sewer plant?
Did St. Leon take on too big a debt for their sewage plant and now that debt must be serviced by everyone whom they can reach?

Just what is it that has brought this onto us?

Certainly the members of the St Leon Sewer Board, Andy Ziegler, Chuck Hall, Roger Boehm, Harry Hudson, Dave Bischoff, and Jimmy Fox are concerned about the financial welfare of their neighbors around St Leon.

Essentially the Indiana Code in regard to sewers must be very simply reworked to make exemptions for farms.

We must notify the Honorable State Representative Robert Bischoff and the Honorable Senator Johnny Nugent that we need this code correction, although I am certain that they already know that it needs to be modified with exemption for farms. Of course we know that these two gentlemen will get that done, don’t we?

A few hundred phone calls to these very busy legislators will remind them of this critical situation in the event that they may have forgotten this problem of their constituents. A good time to call these gentlemen, when not in session, would be around suppertime, they are usually at home at that time.

In the meantime until our two legislators can accomplish this slight modification of the code, Mr. John Watson, the Sewer Board’s attorney should find a way to obtain a stay of these court ordered sewer connections. It would be easy because what judge would like to see, for instance a court reporter, as depicted on Channel 9, whose husband is disabled, be forced to sell her home for pennies on the dollar because she can’t afford the court forced expense of many many thousands of dollars to make a connection to the sewer system. We all know whom I am describing. What a sickening pity.

We must remember that Mr. Watson, who is in my opinion a fine gentleman, is the hired gun of the sewer board but he is really on the payroll of the taxpayers. Therefore he ought to act on behalf of the taxpayers. That is unless the members of the Town Council, the sewer board and the Planning and Zoning board all of St. Leon, who are not in favor of exempting farms from forced sewer connections, are paying Mr. Watson out of their own ample pockets.

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.
Jackson Township

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