Appendix D: Selected Comments From the County Questionnaires

These are direct quotations whenever possible.

How many systems in your county discharge directly to surface water?

From septic tank: illegally, probably more than I could count.

We discover them case by case as the properties are sold through realtors.

I have no idea how many failures/discharging systems there are. I’d probably faint if I knew! Most homes prior to 1980 in rural areas do not have absorption fields.

Eight hundred septic tanks discharge directly to surface water, 1000 from (a) home aeration unit

Probably a number of old farm houses hooked into tiles. Proving it is another matter.

It is difficult to assess failure rates, because the small communities are built on discharging systems and the local health department may be the last one notified of problems. The greatest improvement in our program was the use of on-site soil evaluations by soil scientist to determine system design.

From septic system: 2000-3000 illegally. Total number of systems in county: 3200.

Seventy out of every 100 systems (are) failing or (are) straight lines to ditches.

Before 1986, all systems have some form of discharge (i.e., After aeration, disinfection, septic tank, sand filter, etc.)

How many systems in your county discharge through tile systems and drainage systems? Two thousand two hundred from septic tank or discharging privy

How many septic tanks discharge directly to ditch? Many

How many systems in your county discharge to subsurface drainage? Too numerous to count

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What is the estimated failure rate?

Approximate number of systems in failure: 75%

Estimated septic system failure rate is 65%

Estimated septic system failure rate is 25%

Estimated septic system failure rate is 25%

Estimated septic system failure rate is 13%

Approximate number of systems in failure:20%

Approximate number of systems in failure: 15%

What percentage of commercial facilities utilizing on-site systems do not have adequate treatment? >50%

Approximately 25% of commercial systems utilizing on-site systems do not have adequate treatment

Issue around 60% repair permits in an average year

In the last 7 years, installations varied from a low of 85 annually to 125 high. Of these, about 1/3 are repairs.

In 1996, 29% of permits issued were for repairs

23% (of permits issued are) repairs

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Other Comments

(I) have determined approximately 5000 systems discharge indirectly to lakes; this is not by design

Many systems are a tank or 55 gal drum with a discharge line to the nearest ditch.

On complaints we are ordering repairs. However, we are finding old systems (that discharge) to ditches, tiles, creeks, etc.

The biggest problems are in downtown areas of unsewered communities.

I believe that _________ County is in serious trouble due to the number of illegal systems. Also, I feel that due to our location along the Ohio River and our many creeks and streams throughout the county, we are a major source of pollution to the River.

Although I do my best to insure that all new systems are working, I have a serious problem with the existing systems. I currently have three towns that are on hold- no expansion, no building, no selling- due to the fact that every home is discharging to the surface. I desperately need help to find solutions to these problems. Since records from the past are nonexistent, I have had to estimate the percentage of failures. If a survey was conducted, I believe that percentages could be much higher.

What percentage of new on-site systems require a perimeter drain? 0, drains are not allowed in county ditches.

All counties have illegal discharging septic tanks constructed by design. I don’t consider these septic systems. To me, a septic system consists of a tank and absorption field. These questions were difficult to determine what you wanted. The bottom line is:

Yes, ____ County has numerous illegal discharging septic tanks. This is a major problem in my opinion.

Yes, _____ County has systems installed per 410 IAC 6-8.1 that have failed. Most are on Moraine, but some are not. Which ones? I only know of them through installers that talk without naming the site. There are many more Moraine sites that have been tied over to a tile than I want to admit. Am I certain or confident that the current policy and guidelines for identifying moraine characteristics is adequate? NO!!!

County population: 32,000

% population on municipal systems: 50%

% Amish population on sanitary privies and no indoor plumbing: 80%

530 homes

430 no plumbing

100 on septic tanks or discharging privies

We sure need lots of help, especially for our small unincorporated towns. Small lots, each with own well. Impossible situation. Throw poor drainage with no outlets for perimeter drains into that mix, and it’s no wonder I’m bald.

The overall problem that I see with the septic program in the state of Indiana is that local government wants to block your ability to do your job. Proper system per site can exceed value of property. Every builder, developer and even homeowner wants the cheapest system possible and will do everything they can to push you into allowing them to go with a cheaper and less expensive system. If you fail to make compromises then you are labeled or removed from your position.

Compiled from 27 counties

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An Evaluation of On-Site Technology in Indiana: Table of Contents