To the Editor:
This is in response to the Monday, Sept 17, 2012 letter from Troy Sutton.
Mr. Sutton, in response to your letter that demonstrates your personal lack of factual knowledge of our interest in Shipshewana Lake, I will share the following with you:
There are many of us that are not proponents this overpriced, over built, and, in my personal opinion, inferior planned sewer system. I have copies of the 105 various letters/petitions that were sent to IDEM in August and Sept of 2009, from concerned neighbors, they were provided by the OEA's office during discovery.
No, I am not just a weekend warrior, this unfortunately has been full time with overtime volunteer work for myself and my husband for the past three years.
I work at home writing letters and researching information and speaking with professionals about how this system will affect our aquifer (this is where we get our drinking water from today, you may have to pay for drinking water in the future.)
Keep in mind, this may have a financial effect on what you refer to as your "Life's Plan."
I have been doing my due diligence and research of the effects that sewers may have on our environment. You too may want to take a look at the link included. (Ed. Note: The link is at the end of the letter.)
I am surprised that you have not done further environmental research being that you reside in California, which is well known for its environmental conscience.
I believe that we do share one thing and that is our opinion that this is an aesthetically beautiful territory.
I want my children's children to be able to enjoy this area. I would much rather be putting forth the effort in getting the lake cleaned up so they will be able to swim, boat, tube and enjoy it.
But first things first. The lake must be there in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years from now for my grandchildren to be able to enjoy it. I do not want it to become a piece of history (like the Red River in Arizona) with sewers redirecting the water into the Pigeon River with all the other waste products that are being minimally processed and sent away.
When we ask people to join us at the meetings that we have, we share educational information that explains how to keep your septic system in good working and functional condition. This has been done at OUR (my husband and my personal) expense.
We have not forced anything upon anyone else, not even our wastewater as we have been accused of doing in the past months.
We do not want to contaminate the water that is in the lake now, nor do we want it to become further contaminated with sewage that has not been filtered in any manner. At least with a septic system that is built far enough away from the lake – and properly maintained – the lake will be safe for recreation. It has been stated that there are several homes along the lake that are contaminating the lake, is your home one of them?
I can believe that many houses along the lakeshore were sold with the septic "as is," or in many other cases those who inherited the generational seasonal summer home that came from a Sears catalog back in the 1920s and 1930s may not have a recent functioning septic system. Many of these cottages were meant for weekend or short-term stays, with septic tanks known as a dry well.
This would then allow the effluent to filter into the soil at a slow rate and become filtered. These septic tank(s) are not pipes collecting waste from many sources and placed closer than the required "10 feet away from the lakeshore or wetland."
The pipe needs to be properly placed so that there is no future septic contamination should a pipe rupture or freeze and explode into the lake waters.
"An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure." Why are people so programmed to be reactive rather than proactive?
Please take a few minutes of your time and read what other professionals are saying about our water sources a/k/a aquifers in the link below.
Subject: Re: Sewer Interests Make Overture
Date: Thurs., 20 Sep 2012 18:52:44 -0500
Onsite Sewage Treatment
"Septic systems and more advanced onsite wastewater treatment technologies rely on soil to complete treatment of sewage and sanitary wastewater before dispersing it into the environment. In some areas of Region 9, onsite systems have contributed to ground water degradation, most notably with nitrates. Nitrate contamination of aquifers may also be indicative of the potential for movement of other contaminants, such as viruses, from onsite systems to the water table. Such instances generally result from improper design or operation of onsite technologies, such as overly dense placement of systems, inappropriate depth or type of soil, or inappropriate loading of waste-water." – Jim Vonmeir, Environmental Engineer, Minnesota.
When properly sited, constructed, operated and maintained, onsite wastewater treatment systems should not threaten water quality. Where these systems provide higher levels of treatment, they may actually serve as a valuable source of aquifer recharge (check state and local reuse standards). Vonmeir, 2012.
Next time you are in the area and see us sitting on our front porch, stop in and we will be happy to share a bottle of water with you. Prejudices should not be acceptable at this time in civilization.