Letter: In response to criticism of new septic law

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the letter in the opinion section “septic law revisions can pose problems” (March 1 paper).

After reviewing the comments from this uninformed citizen, I felt compelled to offer the following.

First, the statement that surprised me was “If your septic fails you will have to repair or install a new one.”

As I review HSE 25, state septic code, which was in effect from 11/8/1977 to 12/21/1990, it states: “Sec. II, Defects: Should any defects exist or occur in any residential sewage disposal system or privy which cause said sewage disposal or privy to fail and cause an insanitary condition, the defect shall be corrected by the owner or agent of the owner, occupant or agent of the occupant within the time limit set by the Health Officer.”

Am I assuming the writer of the letter prefers the health risks present with failing septics and is upset the health department is charged by the State of Indiana with enforcing the requirement that failing systems be repaired?

The Brown County Health Department’s primary objective is public health. When a septic system fails, it can cause Hepatitis A, Salmonellosis, viral gastroenteritis, Campylobacteriosis, E. coli infection, Hemolytic-uremic syndrome and Schigellosis. Do I understand that the writer is suggesting that the health department allow the risk of these potential health issues to affect you and your family because we are requiring a failed septic to be repaired?

“If your property doesn’t have the space to do this, they can/must condemn your property,” the letter said.

I have read and reviewed the proposed ordinance for over two years and a few times since this letter was posted and cannot find this statement by the writer. Maybe I just missed it.

“If this passes as written you will not be able to sell your house without a $400 septic inspection.”

The Brown County Health Department does not set prices for home inspections, nor will we set prices for the septic inspections. We are working with the Indiana Onsite Waste Professionals Association and the Indiana State Department of Health to develop a formal training and standardized course for certified septic inspectors to handle the inspection program.

Last, but not least, the writer is suggesting a class-action lawsuit against the health department. Wonder what this could cost the taxpayers. Seems the writer doesn’t mind spending your money to be free to continue to contaminate your environment, but is complaining of the cost to ensure you and your families are safe from sewage and waste exposure.

John Kennard, Brown County

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