Local residents learn about septic systemsTwo free educational meetings about septic systems drew large crowds and keen interest, according to organizers.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
Two free educational meetings about septic systems drew large crowds and keen interest, according to organizers.
About 200 people attended the July 11 meetings in Miltona and LaGrand Township, according to the Citizens League for Environmental and Economic Responsibility (CLEER), which sponsored the events.
A total of 114 of the people attending voluntarily signed up to have their septic systems inspected for compliance. Sign-up sheets were also taken home and others have since signed up, raising the total to 175, according to Bob Edstrom with CLEER.
In addition to encouraging more septic system inspections, CLEER is also applying for grants that would help cover the cost of inspections and help pay for septic system repairs, Edstrom said.
CLEER was one of the citizens groups that opposed the Central Lakes Region Sanitary District (CLRSD), which was eventually dissolved after residents raised concerns over the proposed $53 million cost and other issues.
Since a centralized sewer system is no longer on the table, residents in the proposed area have been exploring other sewer options to protect the lakes.
At the meetings, Jim VonMeier, an expert in wastewater treatment, made a presentation and answered questions.
VonMeier said that centralized sewer systems – built in communities all over the country – have created problems beyond the expense of building them.
After a treatment facility becomes operational, development often runs unchecked, VonMeier said, which significantly increases the population in that area. With more residents comes the need for additional police, fire protection, human services and other expenses, he said – all of which are paid for by raising property taxes.
VonMeier added there is now evidence of even more devastating long-term effects, like escalating pollution damage and depleting the local groundwater supply.
According to CLEER, the meetings were a huge success because until this point, most residents were not aware of these issues.
Many who were “on the fence” said they would now make an effort to inform their neighbors of centralized sewer drawbacks and convince them to join with CLEER and keep their septic systems in compliance, according to CLEER.
This voluntary effort, noted VonMeier, will be one the first in the nation that has successfully shut down a centralized sewer project and allowed residents to take control of their own wastewater issues.