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Author Topic: "Amish to be evicted over sewage issue"  (Read 2750 times)
LyricFox
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« Topic Start: May 11, 2009, 07:24:29 pm »

"Amish to be evicted over sewage issue"

Ebensburg, USA - Two conservative Amish families will be evicted from their homes Monday after failing to comply with a judge's order.

http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=30908
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« Reply #1: May 11, 2009, 08:00:29 pm »

"Amish to be evicted over sewage issue"

Ebensburg, USA - Two conservative Amish families will be evicted from their homes Monday after failing to comply with a judge's order.

http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=30908

<sigh>  Why can't they just have a humanure setup?  Sounds like they're halfway there with the plastic buckets.  I keep wondering when/if this will bring the humanure advocates out of the woodwork...

Brina
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« Reply #2: May 11, 2009, 08:03:53 pm »

"Amish to be evicted over sewage issue"

Ebensburg, USA - Two conservative Amish families will be evicted from their homes Monday after failing to comply with a judge's order.

http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=30908

It's not really clear from the article how 'public' health was being affected by their sewage setup. I could undersatnd not allowing them to sell the property without upgrading first, but I'm not sure that there isn't a significant component of paternalism in play on this one.
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« Reply #3: May 11, 2009, 08:37:28 pm »

It's not really clear from the article how 'public' health was being affected by their sewage setup. I could undersatnd not allowing them to sell the property without upgrading first, but I'm not sure that there isn't a significant component of paternalism in play on this one.

Well, if a bad-sewage-sickness DID happen, how likely is it to stay put among the people that caused it instead of spreading?

I suspect that it's not the sort of thing that then stays put.
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« Reply #4: May 11, 2009, 08:44:05 pm »

Well, if a bad-sewage-sickness DID happen, how likely is it to stay put among the people that caused it instead of spreading?

I suspect that it's not the sort of thing that then stays put.

Sewage related sicknesses are in almost all cases common source epidemics. In non-medical terms, what this means is that you get x, say cholera or e. coli, from the source, drinking water or food from a contaminated field. You don't get it from others. So, unless the water from the Amish property is seeping into the general water supply or the Amish are selling their crops to others, no, the sickness is highly unlikely to spread. In fact, I'm having trouble coming up with a sewage related sickness that doesn't function as a common source epidemic though I am sure there must be some.
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« Reply #5: May 11, 2009, 08:47:34 pm »

It's not really clear from the article how 'public' health was being affected by their sewage setup. I could undersatnd not allowing them to sell the property without upgrading first, but I'm not sure that there isn't a significant component of paternalism in play on this one.

IIRC from earlier stories, there's a water table issue or runoff problem involved. At least that's what I seem to be remembering.
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« Reply #6: May 12, 2009, 09:19:21 am »

"Amish to be evicted over sewage issue"

Ebensburg, USA - Two conservative Amish families will be evicted from their homes Monday after failing to comply with a judge's order.

http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=30908

The Swartzentruber Amish are extremists.  I've got Amish friends who think that sect is off their nut over some issues.  They're uber-conservative, which is fine, but trying to reconstruct some "golden era", which is what it appears they're trying to do, without knowing that era well enough to do so, because they're not permitted education beyond the 8th grade and "worldly" books aren't permitted, leads to this sort of headache.

No, our ancestors didn't have fancy-schmancy sewage disposal systems, but they DID take steps to keep sewage out of the water supply if at all possible, for everyone's good.  They're not being asked to install flush toilets, just a better holding system so that runoff can't wash the raw waste into the water supply.  A lined hole in the ground, basically.  Adding lime isn't "modern".  My Grandpa did so back at the turn of the 20th century, and he'd learned from his family.  They didn't know then that it actually works to bind bacterial agents, they just knew it made the outhouse smell better.  I use it to treat my dogs' areas for both reasons.  It's ground up limestone, for cryin' in the sink, and you can't get much older than that, can you?  Once the waste has "aged", they can even spread it on their fields.  Human manure, properly composted, is safe and very effective fertilizer. 

I respect their right to live simply.  Hell, I applaud it and do my best to emulate it in my own life.  But you can't put other people at danger for disease over misguided ideals.  In this particular case, they're misguided.  Cements aren't new, lime isn't new, and containing and treating your waste isn't new.  Our ancestors have used/done these things for a rather long time. 

If I could convince the lake to let us use this sort of system, you'd better believe I would, but they're insistent upon septic tanks.  It isn't that they don't think we'd do it well, but there are those who wouldn't, and then the lake would become unusable again.  I am all for keeping our lake clean and healthy to swim in and fish in.

I hate to see them locked out of their homes, but at the same time, this is one of those "no discussion, just do it" situations.  You aren't allowed to urinate or defecate on the side of the street, and you're not allowed to foul the local water supply by leaving human waste where it can run off into the water supply.  End of story.  When you are offered simple solutions that ARE in keeping with your ultra conservative Anabaptist beliefs, and you choose to continue creating a hazardous state, well, you asked for it, you got it.
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« Reply #7: May 12, 2009, 09:48:23 am »

  They're not being asked to install flush toilets, just a better holding system so that runoff can't wash the raw waste into the water supply.  A lined hole in the ground, basically.  Adding lime isn't "modern".  My Grandpa did so back at the turn of the 20th century, and he'd learned from his family.  They didn't know then that it actually works to bind bacterial agents, they just knew it made the outhouse smell better. 

I'm really unsympathetic to their problems with this. My advice to them is to go shit in their own water source and see how they like it.

This is Sanitization 101. It's been going on for thousands of years and if that's not good enough for them, then they can contaminate their own water supply and then treat the resulting diseases.
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« Reply #8: May 12, 2009, 10:10:15 am »

I'm really unsympathetic to their problems with this. My advice to them is to go shit in their own water source and see how they like it.

This is Sanitization 101. It's been going on for thousands of years and if that's not good enough for them, then they can contaminate their own water supply and then treat the resulting diseases.

Exactly my point.  None of this is "modern sanitation".  It's old stuff, been around for who knows how long.  They're not being asked to install something that goes against their beliefs, at all, so they need to just pony up and deal with the situation.

Twenty odd years ago this lake was so badly infected with e-coli and the like that you couldn't swim in it, and gods forbid you ate the fish.  The lake association put in place the rules regarding minimal standards for sanitation and now the lake is clean.  Well, other than the geese, but that's nothing we can do much about.  I'd love to install a composting toilet, and I know how to make one work properly, safely and in a fashion that it is sanitary, but I chose to live here and there's rules to follow- so when we build the new house, it gets a septic tank, a gray water field and that's all there is to that.  I won't be responsible for re-contaminating our lovely little lake.  I rather like being able to supplement our diet with bass and crappy out of the lake.  I don't want them to be a vector for illness of my family.  And it doesn't cost any more to install the septic system than the composting toilet (one large enough to meet our needs is not cheap- $1,500 or so).  That is the minimum standard here.

These folks have been offered a very simple, very viable standard to meet.  Dig a damned big hole, line that sucker so it doesn't leak and toss in a little lime now and then.  How damned hard is this???  I know they paint their chicken coops with slaked lime, so it isn't something they're not already using on their land. 

Okay, now I'm ranting at the wind.  You get it, I know you get it.  I'm just infuriated by people who seem to think that their wishes override their neighbor's needs.  *see also dangerous dogs not confined, unaltered dogs not confined and failure to contain one's trash so it all blows into MY yard
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« Reply #9: May 12, 2009, 03:31:40 pm »

I'd love to install a composting toilet, and I know how to make one work properly, safely and in a fashion that it is sanitary, but I chose to live here and there's rules to follow- so when we build the new house, it gets a septic tank, a gray water field and that's all there is to that.  I won't be responsible for re-contaminating our lovely little lake.

But if you used a properly-functioning composting toilet, you wouldn't be polluting the lake.  You also wouldn't be contaminating potable water with feces.  I don't understand why these laws can't be loosened for those of us who actually know what we're doing and care about the environment.  You know what's happening to the Hood Canal here in Washington?  Big dead zones that are likely caused by things like leaky (but legal and presumably correctly-installed) septic systems along the shoreline.  It's extremely frustrating to see the "right" and "legal" choice doing so much damage when I know a better way.

Sorry, deeply personal tangent.  Wink

Brina
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« Reply #10: May 12, 2009, 05:48:35 pm »

But if you used a properly-functioning composting toilet, you wouldn't be polluting the lake.  You also wouldn't be contaminating potable water with feces.  I don't understand why these laws can't be loosened for those of us who actually know what we're doing and care about the environment.  You know what's happening to the Hood Canal here in Washington?  Big dead zones that are likely caused by things like leaky (but legal and presumably correctly-installed) septic systems along the shoreline.  It's extremely frustrating to see the "right" and "legal" choice doing so much damage when I know a better way.

Sorry, deeply personal tangent.  Wink

Brina

I absolutely agree, but if they allow me to install a composting toilet, then the neighbor who doesn't know what he's doing is going to, and he's going to cause a problem.  Or someone will be up in arms because they have to "spend all that money on a septic system", not realizing that a professionally designed composting toilet really isn't that big of a savings, it just doesn't use water and there's more personal responsibility to keep it operating right. 

When we can afford real country, without the issues of the lake association, we'll probably go with a composting toilet, because they do make more sense in many cases.
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« Reply #11: May 12, 2009, 08:30:03 pm »

I absolutely agree, but if they allow me to install a composting toilet, then the neighbor who doesn't know what he's doing is going to, and he's going to cause a problem.

Yeah, but he's the same neighbor who'll fail to pump his septic tank (causing it back up and pollute the stream nearby), or who'll dump motor oil down the toilet.  There are plenty of ways to screw up government-sanctioned waste disposal.  I'm pretty sick of catering to the lowest common denominator when all I want to do is live as lightly as possible, which benefits EVERYONE.

Gah.  Sorry.  Again.   Lips sealed

Brina
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« Reply #12: May 13, 2009, 05:30:51 pm »

Yeah, but he's the same neighbor who'll fail to pump his septic tank (causing it back up and pollute the stream nearby), or who'll dump motor oil down the toilet.  There are plenty of ways to screw up government-sanctioned waste disposal.  I'm pretty sick of catering to the lowest common denominator when all I want to do is live as lightly as possible, which benefits EVERYONE.

Gah.  Sorry.  Again.   Lips sealed

Brina

I've been singing the "stop catering to the lowest common denominator" song for years.
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« Reply #13: May 13, 2009, 08:55:11 pm »



You make a lot of good points. I actually know a lot of Amish and quite a few of them do have flushing toilets installed.  The ones who do not do follow "modern" sanitation procedures to keep their waste from running off into streams and affecting the water supply.  No issues here.  For the most part "our" Amish do want to live peacefully with their neighbors and will do what is asked of them when it's a matter of public safety.
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