Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 14, 2013

Sewer project merits praise

— For more than a decade, the Darrough Chapel neighborhood has spilled raw sewage into ditches draining into the Wildcat Creek.

A 2002 study revealed just 32 homes within this subdivision abutting Kokomo’s eastern boundary had septic permits on file with the Howard County Health Department. Water sampled from the unincorporated neighborhood’s drainage system found E. coli bacteria at more than 10 times the state maximum level in 2002 and 2003.

Despite this information, despite knowing unhealthy amounts of pollutants were being dumped into the county’s largest waterway, previous boards of Howard County commissioners did nothing.

But last year the county teamed with the Kokomo city administration to connect Darrough Chapel to the city wastewater system.

The city has begun its plan to lay a $1.2 million interceptor sewer along Arnold Street, south of Darrough Chapel. That sewer will allow residents to obtain wastewater service for no more than $4,000 per residence, and county officials are exploring ways for homeowners to pay for the hookups in installments.

County stormwater management director Greg Lake had estimated the county’s portion of the project cost at between $700,000 and $800,000. Turns out, it was less than $635,000. He applied for and received $600,000 in federal money administered by the state to finance most of the work.

This project is an example of how cooperative local government is supposed to work. We’re appreciative city administrators are assisting the county in finally tackling this long-standing problem and thankful the commissioners quit kicking this can down the road.

But we can’t hide our displeasure with previous commissioners who shirked responsibility to the detriment of the entire community.

With a new sewer line running north of Darrough Chapel that extends to the new U.S. 31 freeway under construction east of Kokomo, this was the perfect time to stop the flow of raw sewage into the Wildcat Creek — at its source.

Take a drive past Darrough Chapel Park, and take a good look at good government in action.