Chapman Lake residents express opposition to sewer plan

Three Chapman Lake-area residents told Kosciusko County commissioners there is greater opposition to the proposed Tippecanoe Lake/Chapman Lake Regional Sewer District than most people know. The trio spoke at the commissioners meeting Tuesday morning.

Rick Couse opened the comments by saying he’d been a resident of Chapman Lake for 46 years. “We have a petition of over 200 family members at Chapman Lake who do not want the sewage system. We want it noted that there is opposition to this,” he said. Couse estimated up to 70 percent of Chapman Lake residents oppose the sewer line, and many aren’t even aware of the proposal.

Vincente Garza was not convinced the Indiana Department of Environmental Management wouldn’t force residents within 300 feet of a sewer line to hook up in spite of what’s being said locally.

On several occasions it’s been on the record that residents would not be required to hook up to a new sewer line as long as septic tanks are in good repair. Most septic systems have a life expectancy of around 20 years, others much longer. If a residence has sufficient acreage to install a second septic after the first has exceeded its life expectancy, the health department would likely permit it.

Garza said IDEM, as a state agency, can supercede the county’s wishes by requiring hook ups. “The pipeline could potentially come up on CR 450N. If that happens, if I’m not mistaken, both Hawthorne and The Pines neighborhoods are within 300 feet of that pipeline. So the state is going to take over regardless of what we’re being told and include Hawthorne after they’ve been exempt from the project,” he said.

Ken Jones, of engineering firm Jones Petrie Rafinski, told Garza he wasn’t aware of any instances where IDEM exercised that right. Garza left the lectern unconvinced.

Elaine Kokenge expressed she feels it;s un-American to force people to hook into the sewer line.

Commissioners president Bob Conley suggested each bring their concerns, and any petitions, to the September meeting.

In his remarks, county attorney Chad Miner said a community meeting, where everyone can have a say, will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 29 in the gym of the North Webster Community Center.

Before the opposing remarks, Jones said the process for starting the sewer district was going very well. He did tell the commissioners that it would be wise to notify more people, rather than fewer, of the September meeting in North Webster.

County Clerk Ann Torpy asked commissioners permission to redraw voting precinct lines. She said with the City of Warsaw annexing some areas and lines have been redrawn for representation on the city council. Torpy wants to redraw the lines so that there is only one city council race in any precinct. Her request was granted.