Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 9, 2014

Howard Co. seeks court order to force Darrough Chapel sewer connections

Three Darrough Chapel homeowners fail to hook up to new system

By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — For months, Howard County officials have been urging residents in the Darrough Chapel subdivision to hook up to the neighborhood’s new municipal wastewater system.

Many of the 120 homeowners have complied, but the three who haven’t are now facing a court order from the Howard County Board of Commissioners.

The order requires that residents discontinue use of any septic tanks, immediately connect to the wastewater system at their own expense and pay any costs associated with hooking up to the system. The defendants listed on the court order are Erin K. Caddell, Larry J. Newton and Napolean and Norma A. Garcia.

Howard County Attorney Larry Murrell said he plans to mail one more letter to each of the residences to inform them that legal action is being taken to make sure they cooperate in connecting to the system as soon as possible. He expects that court orders will be received by the residents on either Thursday or Friday.

“Over the past year, there have been substantial efforts [ to get everyone hooked up],” Murrell said. “Everybody has been hooked up, except for three [residences].”

The project, which was paid for by a $600,000 redevelopment block grant, installed gravity feed sewers in the subdivision east of Kokomo that had been plagued by failing septic systems on both sides of Markland Avenue.

In March of 2011, the city of Kokomo and Howard County entered into a memorandum of understanding to provide sanitary sewer service to the Darrough Chapel community. Under the terms of the MOU, the county agreed to obtain the $600,000 grant to construct a sewer collection system, while the city agreed to extend its sewer interceptor and allow connection to the newly-constructed collection system.

The county has since completed the project and has facilitated the hook-ups by providing financial assistance to homeowners. It provided a licensed contractor while offering a special financing plan to pay hook-up expenses over a five-year period.

The county sent a 90-day notice by certified mail to the property owners ordering them to connect to the collection system, with a deadline of Jan. 20.

After months of reaching out to residents to make sure they cooperate, Murrell said it is time for the project to be completed.

“Even the commissioners have gone door to door to make them aware that they need to hook up,” he said. “We’ve had a program we put together where we loaned them the money over five years. There’s been a tremendous effort. We just need to finish it up.”

The $826,000 project, which received a $226,000 local match, has put 117 residences in the Darrough Chapel community on sanitary sewers, preventing an average of 450 gallons of sewage from entering Wildcat Creek.

Martin Slagter can be reached at 765-454-8570, martin.slagter@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @slagterm.