Environmentalist with the Marshall County Health Department, Faith Freed appeared before the County Commissioners on Monday with a proposed new On-Site Sewage Systems Ordinance. She told the commissioners the state changed the law, and it went into effect July 1st and the county’s existing ordinance is null and void.
A public hearing will be held during the commissioner’s meeting on Monday, November 6th.
County Attorney Jim Clevenger said the county is pushing to get the new ordinance effective by January 1st. He suggested Faith attend the commissioner’s meeting on Monday to do an introduction and seek approval on the first reading. The idea is that after the public hearing on November 6th, the commissioners can get the new ordinance enacted on the second and third readings. Since there are penalties, the ordinance must be published in a newspaper before enactment.
Freed said the biggest thing that might cause some trouble is the penalties. Any person in violation can be fined up to $2,500 per day of the violation. Faith said that in the cases they have taken to court, the judges haven’t applied the penalty.
County Attorney Jim Clevenger said in those court cases he always asks for fines and attorney fees on the cases where septic systems have failed, and the judge hasn’t ever given attorney fees and he didn’t believe he has ever assessed a fine. He said he has seen a judge threaten to apply a penalty when the property owner doesn’t take the violation seriously and wants to encourage them to act and make the necessary repairs.
In reviewing the proposed ordinance, the County Attorney said he didn’t find any objections.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said, “We don’t have much choice.”
Commissioner Mike Burroughs said, “This has come down from the state.”
While it may seem, the county is making it tougher and tougher to get a septic permit, they aren’t forcing these changes, it’s the State of Indiana.
Before being dismissed, Commissioner Overmyer said he’s heard from several contractors that they are happy Faith is back as an environmentalist with Marshall County.