Regional Sewer Board – Bean Blossom Sewer Project – For the Record

SUMMARY of Key Points including current events associated with the transfer of land deeded to Parks and Recreation

Everyone wants a safe and healthy environment. We deserve transparency and facts and not “spin” when it comes to proposing a change.  Due diligence requires that you identify the process that will be used to identify the problem and solutions  and be “radically transparent.”  This is referred to as good government.  As you work through the process, provide monthly updates to the citizenry,  listen, and address concerns and questions.

The Bean Blossom and Helmsburg RSDs decided in Aug 2019 to support a regionalization study.  Info: RAP – Regionalization Study  for Helmsburg and Bean Blossom

o. Information
o. Identification of Decision Makers
o. Frequently Asked Questions
o. Project Timeline – July 28, 2016 to Present


Decision Makers

  •  2018 Brown County Regional Sewer District Board members:  Judy Swift Powdrill, (President)* Phil LeBlanc, Debbie Larsh, Mike Leggins, Clint Studabaker.
    • *Ms. Powdrill resigned Dec 11, 2018.
  • 2020 Board Members: Mike Leggins (President), Clint Studabaker (Vice President), Phil LeBlanc (Treasurer), Debrah Larsh (Secretary ), Richard Hall.

2018/2019 Elected officials that appoint Board Members:

  • Commissioners: Dave Anderson, Diana Biddle, Jerry Pittman.
  • 2018 County Council Members who appoint Board members and also approved a $270K budget for the board: Keith Baker (President) David Critser, John Price, Glenda Stogsdill, Debbie Guffey,  Art Knight, Darren Byrd.  Approximately 70K was spent in 2018.
  • 2019 – Bill Hamilton replaces Guffey and Dave Redding replaces Baker. Council unanimously and quickly approves the continuation of the funding (approximately $228,000) for the project.
  • 2019. Benjamin Gold recruited by BCRSD members Clint Studabaker and appointed by the council to fill a board vacancy.
  • Other vocal supporters for the project:
    • Redevelopment Commission (RDC) – President Jim Kemp
    • Local Republican Party Chairman – Mark Bowman.

Funding Source: Indiana Finance Authority.  State Revolving Fund.  The State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Programs provide low-interest loans to Indiana communities for projects that improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. The Program’s mission is to provide eligible entities with the lowest interest rates possible on the financing of such projects while protecting public health and the environment. SRF also funds non-point source projects that are tied to a wastewater loan.

Regional District Users Guide For Citizens And Governments

  • Citizens’ Frequently Asked Questions.
    • What if my septic system works fine or if I want to keep my private well and not hook up to the system?  A regional district has the authority to require or waive sewer connection. These decisions are made locally by the regional district board and are on a case-by-case basis – and are temporary.  However, if everyone in the service area connects at the same time, it can help control the cost of the project.  Under current State law, waivers are temporary.
  • A citizens review of “waivers”:
    • Bandy Russell .… If the line comes by your property (300 feet), State requires you to hook up. If you have a new system under 10 years, you can submit paperwork to get an extension to not hook up. 5 years later, similar process. 5 years again you can avoid hook up. At the 20 year age, you are required to hook up and likely to pay the cost to run the line, install the holding tank or grinder system. If your system is 11 years old when they start, you will have to destroy your system and hook on to the sewer. May become responsible for maintaining the line from home to road and for destroying your working system. It is unclear how they will handle the payment while construction takes place for those seeking exemptions. Previous talk is during construction, each will pay 1/2 the presumed $70 per month bill. That’s an overview from the meetings I have attended.
  • Impact of policies?  Information to consider before buying (selling) a home in Brown County.
  • State laws governing financial decisions. In 2018/2019, the BCRSD authorized  the oblgation of expenses before their funds were appropriated by the county council.
    • IC 5-22-17-5 on contracting states:  IC 5-22-17-5Funds not appropriated or not available; cancellation of the contract (As added by P.L.49-1997, SEC.1).:
      1. Sec. 5. (a) When the fiscal body of the governmental body makes a written determination that funds are not appropriated or otherwise available to support the continuation of the performance of a contract, the contract is considered canceled.  (b) A determination by the fiscal body that funds are not appropriated or otherwise available to support the continuation of performance is final and conclusive.
      2. Regarding the governance of RSD Boards:  IC 13-26-5-8Limitations on contracts:
        • Sec. 8. A district may make contracts or incur obligations only if the contracts or obligations are payable solely from: (1) the money provided under this article; or (2) federal, state, or other grants or contributions. [Pre-1996 Recodification Citation: 13-3-2-16(a) part.] As added by P.L.1-1996, SEC.16.

Key Points on the Project to include issues with the transfer of land deeded to Parks and Rec 

May 26, 2020, GUEST OPINION: Human waste or animal? Study under way, By CLINT STUDABAKER, guest columnist

Mar 12, 2020. Requested and received the report on how the State Revolving Fund scored the proposed Bean Blossom Project.

Mar 11, 2020. FB – Brown County Matters. BCRSD Board Meeting. Presentation from Lake Lemon citizens requesting sewer service.

Mar 10, 2020. BCRSD Board Meeting.  Included presetnation from Lake Lemon residents  requesting sewer service.

Feb 26, 2020. BCD. The Bean Blossom-Helmsburg sewer regionalization report is out. Here’s what it said.  By Sara Clifford

Jan 28, 2020.  BCD, STREAM SAMPLING: Where’s the contamination coming from? By Sara Clifford –

 Jan 28, 2020. BCD. Sewer board earns $100,000+ grant to do wastewater plan by Sara Clifford.

Dec 20, 2019.   ROI awards $1.86 million in Ready Communities implementation grants

  • Brown County Regional Sewer District for a wastewater strategic management plan. – This grant will fund an engineering evaluation of existing septic treatment systems and study the technical and economic feasibility of regional wastewater collection and treatment options in Brown County.

Dec 19, 2019. BCD. Vote taken on Bean Blossom sewer plant land By Sara Clifford. A sewer plant to serve Bean Blossom is now allowed to go on land at the base of Bean Blossom hill off State Road 135 North. Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) approved a special exception.

  • Parks and Rec still have to hold a public meeting and vote on a transfer. If this parcel was developed as parkland (biking, hiking, picnicking, etc.), the sewer plant takes up some prime space. Other options for sewer service include Bean Blossom and maybe Helmsburg (depending on study results).  But when the project manager and board member (Clint Studabaker) is already talking about the view from his office, on the number of employees needed and the BCRSD with the commissioner and council support has spent $200K on plans without acquiring land, the pressure is for “New.”

Nov 25, 2019Closed meeting announcement – BCRSD and Parks and Rec.  Comments by made during the Nov 20, 2019, Parks and Rec meeting to include “speculation” on capacity and the condition of the Nashville plant.

Nov 20, 2019. Parks and Rec Board Meeting.

Nov 18, 2019. BCRSD Letter to Park and Rec Board – Land Acquisition

Nov 12, 2019. BCRSD Monthly Meeting.  Of the $270K provided by the county council to fund the project, the current budget balance is $84,356.60.  Land has not been acquired.

  • I asked and received a vague response — “looking at all options”, can’ talk about ongoing discussions, etc. Gary Ladd was authorized to do more work on the “site”.
    BCRSD had an executive session with the Park and Rec Board on Nov 5 to talk about land acquisition.  They sent a letter and attended the Parks and Rec meeting on the 20th to push their case. 

Oct 23, 2019. Commissioner Meeting. Wednesday,  A “HOT” topic: Conflict between the county, BCRSD and HRSD.

  • Sewer Issue – Cordry Sweetwater Conservancy.  The conservancy is not under county control or control by an RSD.
    • Josh Hawley: Sewers were discussed up here at the Lakes about a decade or more ago and the CSCD Board decided against them. There are about 1310 homes around the two lakes, if sewers were allowed in the District than all 1600 lots become build-able and the Lakes become even more crowded than they currently all. We average about 1 to 2 new homes built a year. It is an interesting time in the CSCD as several “pioneers” if you will are either passing away or leaving the area, so there is some new money coming into the area and that new money usually likes to upgrade the older homes which can mean upgrading the septic which with the new rules going into effect on January 1 could make it very difficult with our small lot sizes. It’s possible that someday, sooner than later, the new money will win out and the development of sewers might be the desired outcome. Time will tell.

Oct 21, 2019. Helmsburg RSD Meeting.

  • The HRSD is stull pursuing their intent to change how its board members are appointed. They are pursuing a valid and available option of an election vs appointment by the commissioners. The commissioners do not support this option and have vowed to take any legal action necessary. Approval of the change is made by IDEM – not the county.

Oct 8, 2019. BCRSD Meeting Notes. BCM Facebook Post

Sep 3, 2019. Septic System Summit – Education

    • Panelists reinforced the importance of maintaining your system. Better maintenance equals a longer life of the septic system.
    • A failed and failing septic system can have an impact on the environment and health but any “spin” to create a perception that we have a high percentage of failures and health-related issues is not supported by the facts and evidence.
    • How long does a system last? The correct answer confirmed by two panelists is “indefinite.” The are many variables that factor into an estimate of useful life. These include type, design, age, water usage, maintenance, and soil types to name a few. Note that the “indefinite” conclusion is supported by the EPA and Presby systems. Indefinite defined as: “not definite, unclear; vague, lacking precise limits.
    • Scientific based studies applying valid statistical methods could be conducted in Brown County to develop a more accurate estimate as to the useful life of systems. (See indications of a septic system failures below.)
    • Ernie Reed (Health Dept) reinforced that the “average” life expectancy was “estimated” at 25-30 years. Alice Quinn from the state department of health remarked that she expected her system to last longer than this.
    • Given a system can fail within one year, the upper range for the “average” could be in the 50-60 year range. Several people have told me that they have functioning systems that are within this age range.
    • Indicators of a septic system failure? Can’t flush toilets and standing (smelly) water over the drain field. This water can pollute surface and groundwater. Streaking – the grass is greener over the septic field, is not necessarily a sign of failure if the drain tiles are within 16 inches of the surface.
    • High E-coli Levels in the Bean Blossom Watershed. Tests from the state indicate high e-coli levels. Tests for determining if E-coli is a result of animal (most likely) or human are not reliable at this time (per Alice Quinn, SDOH). IF one day it is determined that a certain percent is human-caused as a result of a failed septic system, the next step would be to determine the system or the number and location of systems that may be causing the contamination.

Aug 27, 2019. BCD. Guest Opinion: Septics and Sewers – major changes proposed By Tim J. Clark 

  • BCD Facebook Post of the article
  • BCM Facebook Post
  • Aug 27, 2019. BCD,  Sewer project delayed due to lack of land By
    Facebook Post of the article
  • Aug 14, 2019.  RAP – Regionalization Study – Helmsburg and Bean Blossom
  • Aug 13, 2019. BCD.  GUEST OPINION: What you can learn at the county’s Septic Summit  By Clint Studabaker
  • Aug 13, 2019. BCD,  No resolution yet to Helmsburg sewer board questions By 
  • Jun/Jul 2019 – Grant Applications 
  • BCRSD Monthly Meetings – key points posted at Brown County Matters.
  • July 30, 2019Board goes back on vote to sell land The board (Parks and Rec) voted to rescind the initial vote at the July 17 board meeting. Member John Kennard abstained from voting. He also works for the health department. …   Board President Jim Hahn said that the letter parks and rec had received from Ladd Engineering on behalf of BCRSD was “non-friendly” and that it was a directive on how to take the park land for the wastewater treatment plant …
  • July 19, 2019.  BCRSD cancels their request for a special exception to the BZA for a zoning change.  They have no approved contract to acquire land.
  • July 17, 2019. Parks and Rec Board Meeting.  Approval to transfer land to the BCRSD rescinded.
  • Letter from Ladd Engineering on behalf of the BCRSD  requesting land from the Parks and Rec Board stipulating conditions including the threat of an eminent domain action under the Unifrom Relocation Act of 1970.  20190509 BCRSD Proposed WWTP
    • Uniform Relocation Act of 1970. URA Brochure:  When a Public Agency Acquires Your Property
      • The Federal Government and every State government have certain powers which are necessary .for them to operate effectively.  .. includes the power to acquire private property for public purposes. This is known as the power of eminent domain.
      • If you are unable to reach an agreement through negotiations, the Agency may file a suit in court to acquire your property through an eminent domain proceeding. Eminent domain proceedings
        are often called condemnations. If your property is to be acquired by condemnation, the Agency will file the condemnation suit without unreasonable delay.
    • 135N Property Deed
  • July 9, 2019. BCRSD Board meeting. BCM Facebook Post. Topics: Land for a Treatment Plant, Easements, Three KEY Meetings Next Week. (1) Parks and Rec, (2) County Council the and (3) Commissioners, Customer Surveys, Study/Planning Grants – RAP and ROI, Budget, Water Samples, Application Update – Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) , Funding Cycle, Billing, Indiana Gateway Financial Information.
  • July 24, 2019. Board of Zoning Appeals, 6:00 PM. Special Exception – Sewage Disposal Plant.  The land that is deeded to the Parks and Rec Department.  Parks and Rec have yet to respond to the request for the land (approximately 5 acres) by the BCRSD.
  • The purpose of the meeting is to consider a petition by the Brown County Regional Sewer District for a Special Exception to allow a public sewage disposal plant. The property is located at 4687 State Road 135 North in Jackson Township.
  • July 9, 2019. Legal Notice Special Exception – Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • July 9, 2019 BCD. Sewer district seeks property for treatment plant from parks and rec By Suzannah Cou
  •  July 9, 2019. BCD.  Helmsburg sewer board votes for study, with conditions by Sarah Clifford.
  • June 25, 2019. BCD, Helmsburg board considering ‘study’ of sewer partnership; update on other community projects  By Sara Clifford.
  • Discussion at Brown County Matters.  Includes information on a request to use land controlled by Parks and Rec for a  wastewater treatment plant. (Note that if private landowners are not willing to sell a property for a wastewater treatment plant, it may also be just as difficult to acquire the needed easements).
    • A review of the BCRSD board at the direction of the commissioners and county council may be helpful at this time. This could include an immediate order for the board to stop incurring any further expenses. 
    • The Bean Blossom Sewer Project is a year over schedule from what was initially projected. Of the 270K budgeted by the county council, they have spent $133,000 and still have no land for a plant. 
    • Helmsburg and Lake Lemon residents have identified a compelling need for support that has not been incorporated into any current plans. Such a plan – once developed, could have a significant impact on what is being considered for Bean Blossom. Unlike Bean Blossom, Helmsburg has developed an economic plan and a Community Development Corp formed by citizens to support needed change.
    • The BCRSD board started spending money this year before the county council approved their budget. At the last board meeting, the treasurer mentioned that once they received a budget, he recently learned that they were required to submit monthly reports to the state that they have not been doing.
    • I filed a formal complaint this month with the Public Access Counselor. My documented requests for information (with the exception of minutes) have been ignored. The BCRSD board attorney responded to my follow-up request in March asking for additional information, which I immediately provided. He has yet to provide me the information. Further, he invoiced the board over $1,000 for services connected with my request but as of last months meeting, has yet to cash the check.
    • A copy of the invoice for the services he provided has been included in the information I have requested. From my perspective, a 15-minute phone call would have been sufficient for me to answer any questions that he may have had regarding my request. I am curious as to the scope of the services he was asked to provide. 
    • I also asked for the mailing list of the potential customers, but per law, they only have to provide the names which they have yet to do. The addresses would be available through the county GIS. This information can be used by concerned citizens to keep potential customers informed of their rights, options, and links to additional information.
    • Additional information on this project – current and historical, is available via the link below. “Regional Sewer Board – Bean Blossom Sewer Project – For the Record”
  • Other articles of note in the June 26, 2019  issue of the Democrat (yet to be posted):
  • Lake Lemon – “Homeowners investigating wastewater options”
  • BCRSD – “Still gathering info from property owners”
  • Letter: “Local resident sharing research on septic systems”
  • June 20, 2019. BCMHelmsburg RSD – Issues – Tradeoffs in supporting a regionalization study.
  • June 11, 2019. Monthly Meeting.
  • They have yet to acquire land for a plant.
  • May 26, 2019. Blog Post.  Information to consider before purchasing a home in Brown County?  
  • May 24, 2019. Brown County Matters. A long post. Thinking through the life-cycle of a decision – Septic and Sewer Topic. – Unintended consequences ...
  • May 14, 2019. BCRSD Meeting. BCM Facebook Post
  • April 24, 2019.  Notice of Environmental Survey
  • April 15, 2019. A joint meeting today of the Helmsburg RSD and BCRSD was canceled.  Per the BCD:  UPDATE: This meeting has been CANCELED due to a lack of participation by primary parties,” commissioner Jerry Pittman told board members in an email on Sunday.
  • Reference:  BCD Facebook Post. 
  • Apr 9, 2019 BCRSD Monthly Meeting.  Bill Austin from Helmsburg presented options as to how the Helmsburg RSD can support Bean Blossom RSD and vice versa.  These options will be discussed between the two boards following the monthly HRSD Board meeting on April 15, 2019, at the library. The regular meeting starts at 5:30 and expected to be over by 6:30.
  • Mar 12, 2019. COUNTY NEWS: … Sewer board business: Budget, new member OK’d The Brown County Regional Sewer District Board has a new member and $200,000 to spend after the Brown County Council approved both at their meeting last month.
  • March 12, 2019. BCRSD Board Meeting.
  • Mar 7, 2019. RDC Meeting — Notes with a focus on Sewers, Septics and Economic Impacts
  • Brown County Matters – Facebook Post
  • Feb 27, 2019. Update on Council Meeting – Sewer and Septic Issue. — Useful life of septic systems, required hook-ups to sewers.
  • Feb 25. 2019. County Council Meeting – Approved funding to the BCRSD.
  • Facebook Post – Brown County Matters – Sherrie Mitchell
  • Facebook Post – Brown County Matters – Paul Nelson
  • Handout – 20190225 BCRSD Council Presentation Dec 17. 2018
    • Page 1 – 2 Initial Budget and to-date summary
    • Page 3 –  5 Health Department File Review Summary
    • Page 6 – 7 BCRSD Project Summary Sheet June 2018 Bean Blossom Sewers
    • Page 8 – Reasons Why Sanitary Sewer Building is Integral for Community Growth
    • Response to a comment regarding  need:
      • Regarding the need for sewers in Bean Blossom, the two past BCRSD board presidents have stated that there was no evidence of a valid need.
      • The Health Department (with the exception of Brownies) has not disclosed that they have any reports of failed systems in the area. The Health Department has stated that when they receive reports of failed or inadequate systems, they work with residences to fix the problems.
      • Of the 240 potential customers, how many have expressed interest or a need for a sewer hook-up? How many current letters of support have been submitted?
      • What documentation is available that identifies the reasons for the failure of Brownie’s septic system? If it was a Presby, the company has stated that “If the system is designed, installed and maintained properly, there is no limit to the life expectancy of Enviro-Septic® Technology. In the event that the System malfunctions due to abuse, AES or Enviro-Septic® may be rejuvenated in as little as 72 hours, eliminating the need for a replacement.”
      • The EPA has identified that “Conventional septic systems are designed to operate indefinitely if properly maintained.”
      • What are the documented septic system problems in Bean Blossom that justify a $7.3 million dollar taxpayer funded solution?
  • Feb 6, 2019. BCD.  Residents question sewer board about project basics, Suzannah Couch
  •  Almost every seat was taken and more Bean Blossom residents stood along the walls to hear what the Brown County Regional Sewer District was planning for their area.
  • Jan 24, 2019. Brown County Matters – Facebook:  Council Meeting – Notes from the discussion on Sewers and Septics
  • UPDATE: Jan 24 Council Meeting – Septic and Sewer Issue. The Regional Sewer District (RSD) Board did not follow the process needed to place their funding request on the council calendar. They will formally be making their request for approximately $200,000 at February’s council meeting.
  • Jan 22, 2019. BCD. Sewer project spending, ‘proof of need’ reviewed, by Sara Clifford.
  • “Again, I do feel that there is a need; however, I also feel that as a taxpayer and the person who went before the county council and made this presentation … I feel like that we need to put some of our future movement on pause. … I cannot see us continuing to spend money without absolute proof that there is this need and want.”
  • Jan 22, 2019. BCD. GUEST OPINION: Sewers and septic systems: What’s the problem? By Tim Clark
  • ” … two key questions as an integral part of a countywide strategy: To what extent should residences located near a wastewater treatment facility be required to hook up to sewers? To what extent should all residences — 90 percent of which utilize septic systems — be required to have their septic systems inspected on a recurring basis?
  • Data provided by the BCRSD identified that there are approximately 8,400 households in Brown County, and only about 700, or 8 percent, have sewer access. … Out of the approximate 7,700 residences with septic systems, about 4,000 of those systems were installed before the state code was developed. As a result, many of them might not be in compliance with current codes.
  • BCD – Brown County Democrat’ See also “Additional Information” at the bottom of the post.  Includes more information on the technology.
  • Jan 17, 2019. Facebook Posts – Brown County Matters – Forced connections – Indianapolis example.
  • Jan 12, 2019. Facebook Posts – Brown County Matters.  Key Topics:
  • A regional district has the authority to require or waive sewer connection.
  • A waiver by Indiana Code can be provided if you live in a “municipality”  “… Subject to subsections (e) through (k), a property owner is exempt from the requirement to connect to a municipality’s sewer system”
  • Jan 11, 2019. Facebook Post – Brown County MattersAppreciate the information, responses, and feedback provided regarding the proposed changes regarding Sewers and Septic Systems. This issue affects almost EVERY property owner and residence in the county. 
  • Of the 240 potential customers, no information has been collected to identify how many support sewers, how many will want waivers (if granted by the Sewer Board), how many will want compensation for granting easements, how many will need financial aid, how many may have failed systems, and how many may need perimeter drains (if they do not have the 24 inches between the water table and the field). 
  • The Trailer Park, Bill Monroe and Brownies (commercial property owners) have all expressed support. The current Sewer Board President – Mike Leggins, who has rental units with inadequate septics has also expressed support. Commissioner Biddle whose family owns property in the area has also expressed support. The 30 or so letters of support included in the application submitted in June 2018 were from “1998.” 
  • And, $70,000 of the 270K budgeted has been spent on designs and consulting services for a new plant. 
  •  We are told that our soils are bad for septics yet septics are approved after the required soil testing is conducted. We are also told that useful life of a septic is “estimated” to be an “average” of 25 years but no reference to scientifically based studies that validate this allegation. The inference that failed septic systems (no documentation on file) is a leading cause of the high e.coli in streams and creeks (2006 samples) adds to the drama but there is no evidence to back up this inference. Further, no idea on where the major source of the e.coli may be originating. And oh by the way, if the e.coli is due to animal contamination, what then? 
  • Suggestion? Identify the scope and extent of the problem in the county before spending any more money on “solutions.”
  • Jan 22, 2019. Guest Opinion column submitted to the Brown County Democrat. Sewers and Septic Systems – What Is the Problem? 
  • Jan 8, 2019. RSD Board Meeting.  This and future meetings will be held at the Fruitdale VFD.  No recorder was available but a recorder will be obtained to record future meetings.
  • 20190108 rsd meeting agenda
  • 20190109 rsd dec 4 2018 meeting minutes
  • Questions and Answers – 20190108 questions and answers 
  • Facebook Post – Brown County Matters
  • Jan 3, 2019Facebook Post – Brown County Matters.
  • For Residents and Property Owners. Among two of the most important public meetings this year: (1) The Jan 8 meeting of the Regional Sewer Board that will be meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the Fruitdale Fire Department and (2) County Council meeting (date and time not yet on the government calendar). Council will be voting on funding for the Sewer Board.
    • Questions that need to addressed: To what extent should residences located near a current or proposed wastewater treatment facility be required to hook-up to sewers? To what extent should all residences – 90% of which utilize septic systems, be required to have their septic systems inspected on a reoccurring basis?
    • And, “if” it is “proven” that there are environmental issues linked to septic systems, animals, agricultural runoffs, what could be the impact on the county’s reputation/image and property values in the near, mid, and long-term?
  • Dec 31, 2018. BCDTop 10 stories of 2018Number 5. Waste disposal talks continue
  • BCD Facebook Post – Selecting Top Stories – 18 comments/votes
  • Dec 21, 2018Facebook Post at Brown County MattersHonest questions, honest replies.
  • Includes the following questions to representatives of the council, Sewer Board and RDC.  1) Does a regional sewer board have the power by itself, to force people on sewers?; (2) Can the RSD take action that will force inspections of septic systems with outdated records – especially ones installed before 1977? (approximately 4,000 homes); (3) Can the RSD with IDEMs support, take over the Helmsburg Sewer District?; (4) Do any of the Sewer Districts (Nashville, Gnaw Bone, Helmsburg), have the power to force people on sewers or pay for services not rendered?; (5) Other than appointments, do the commissioners and council have any authority over the RSD or is the governing authority IDEM? If IDEM, why aren’t they providing the funding for the RSD?; (6) What funding is available to assist people to meet RSD requirements for sewer hook-ups, septic inspections, and possibly septic repairs/replacement?
  • Jan 8, 2018, Meeting Announcement – Brown County Regional Sewer District.
  • Dec 19, 2018Facebook Post at Brown County Matters. My understanding is that easements on private property will be needed for Brown County Regional Sewer. Everyone should charge the sewer district for the right to cross their land.
  • Dec 18, 2018.  Example – The power of regional sewer districts in Indiana – Twin Lakes Regional Sewer District, Monticello, IN.
  • Dec 17, 2018. County Council.  Facebook Post at Brown County Matters. Presentation by Regional Sewer Board Member Clint Studabaker.  Studabaker provided a presentation to the council that covered water quality, review of septic system records, a septic ordinance update, and the status on the proposed Bean Blossom Treatment Plant. The FACTS do not support a case for change.
  • Audio – Council Meeting.
    • Sewer Board Presentation –
      • Part 1 @ 31:20 – Environmental Issues
      • Part 2 @ 52:00 – Status on the project and on spending
    • Public Comments on Presentation
      • Tim Clark – @1:40
      • Paul Nelson @ 1:43 – given 30 seconds
  • PowerPoint Presentation presented by Clint Studabaker
  • Dec 15, 2018Facebook Post – Brown Couty Matters PROCESS vs PROJECT  – $7.3+ million Bean Blossom Sewer Project. A comment I often hear regarding the content of my guest columns or Letters in the Democrat is that it is often perceived that I am “against” a respective project (Maple Leaf, Bean Blossom Sewers, Justice Center, cont ….
  • Dec 13, 2018. Facebook Post – Brown Couty Matters Minutes from the RDC meeting that included further discussions on the Bean Blossom Sewer Project.
  • Dec 11, 2018RSB Meeting Notes – Facebook Post.  The President of the Board – Judy  Swift Powdrill resigned from the board. Mike Leggins was elected the new president.  At their last meeting, Ms. Powdrill recommended the project be delayed until there was a validated need and want.  The previous President of the Board, Evan Werling, also resigned from the RSB stating that there were no facts to support the need for the project.
  • Dec 6, 2018BCDWaste disposal ‘first and foremost’ in development decisions by Sara Clifford – Every flush at the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park costs Ben and Rex Voils about 20 cents. As they evaluate their plans for the landmark...
  • Dec 5, 2018, RSB Meeting Notes – Facebook Post – Key Point
  • The President of the Board (Judy Swift Powdrill) acknowledged citizen concerns with this project. She made a motion that they put the project on hold to gather the data needed to validate proof of need and want. Despite that there are no facts to justify the need, the board voted unanimously to go forward with the project. (at a cost to taxpayers of $7.3 million). The previous RSB President – Evan Werling also concluded that they could not identify a need.
  • Audio Recording of the Meeting
  • Comments from Paul Navarro
  • Dec 4, 2018. BCD  Waste disposal ‘first and foremost’ in development decisions, by Sara Clifford.  The Brown County Regional Sewer District is in the process of applying for a combination of grants and loans to build a sewer system in the Bean Blossom area which would replace more than 200 individual home and business septic systems. It’s a project that’s been in the works in some form or another for 20 years. …   
  • Nov 27, 2018BCD, GUEST OPINION: Brown County soils as they relate to a septic system by Phil LeBlanc, BCRSD Board member
  • A soil test is required before a septic system drain field site is approved to determine the soil’s ability to accept wastewater. 
  • A drain field can have a long and successful life (usually about 25 years) — if it is taken care of.
  • Regarding indicators of a failed systemWhen the soil system slows down or stops breaking down the waste, the soil can become clogged, and if the “out of balance” is allowed to continue, the septic system fails. The soil can no longer accept the wastewater, the drain field starts to flood, odor starts to occur and the wastewater backs up into the tank. You then have a septic system failure.
  • Nov 16, 2018. Letter to Residents – Posted at Brown County Matters. Does not identify that there are any failed septic systems in the area to be served.  
  • In their letter to residents, their justification included a need based on the “age” of a system and using an “opinion” by Purdue Extension Service that “suggests “an ” average” lifespan of a maintained system is 25 years. (Quote: “Technical sources including Purdue University Extension suggests 25 years as the average lifespan for a well-maintained septic system.”
    • An effective and maintained system could last longer than 25 years. AND it’s very likely that this could be proven by working systems in the county that are older than 25 years. The letter also draws the conclusion that $65.00 to $85.00 a month forever (a price that will rise over time) is more cost-effective than a septic system. Interesting math.


  • Nov 6, 2018. BCD Is a regional sewer partnership possible? By At a couple public meetings this fall, Brown County Redevelopment Commission President Jim Kemp suggested another idea: rolling the Gnaw Bone and Helmsburg regional sewer districts into the Brown County Regional Sewage District.
  • Nov 6, 2018. BCD  Groups gathering data for Bean Blossom sewer project Location in Bean Blossom not identified.  A decision on where the plant will go will probably need to be made by this spring, he said. In the meantime, the board, its hired engineer and other parties are still working on other aspects of the sewer plan so it can be submitted for funding to state and federal agencies. Part of that work is gathering data on why and where sewers are needed.
  • Oct  9, 2018  RSD Meeting.  Brown County Matters – Facebook Posts  
  • Sept 21, 2018. BCD  GUEST OPINION: How the Brown County Regional Sewer District came to be Editor’s note: This guest column was written with input from Brown County Regional Sewer District Board members Judy Swift Powdrill, Phil LeBlanc, Debbie Larsh, Mike Leggins and Clint Studabaker. Studabaker submitted it for publication.
    • History and an anecdotal case for change.
  • June 27, 2018.  Town, sewer district come to agreement on ‘buffer zone
  • Anyone who doesn’t currently have sewer service and owns property within a certain radius of Nashville will be able to petition the town to get sewer service if they want it.
  • That doesn’t necessarily mean that the town will be able to serve them; however, the town will have that legal option — something it hasn’t had for five years.
  • June 26, 2018. BCD. Bean Blossom sewer project details discussed by Sara Clifford 
    • Mike Leggins bought six lots on Old Settlers Road in 1988. He razed the vacant, condemned or burned-out homes that stood on them and put up five new ones — family homes, with three or four bedrooms. .
    • The septic systems that served them soon failed, even though the systems were new. Leggins said the high water table was to blame; waste was hitting the groundwater before it had been sufficiently filtered and cleaned.
    • Now, Leggins, the landlord, has to use those homes as if they were two-bedroom homes in order to not put strain on the septic systems — and even that doesn’t prevent them from sending waste downhill, he said.
  • June 6, 2018. Preliminary Engineering Report (PER). Received copy (thumb drive) from the RSB President on June 6, 2018.
  • June 20, 2018Regional Sewer District One Step Closer To Offering Service By BROCK TURNER .  PDF Regional Sewer District One Step Closer To Offering Service _ news-2018 – Indiana Public Media
    • Some residents say they’ve lost trust in the Brown County Regional Sewer District Board. The board Tuesday night allocated $270,000 for an environmental study the State of Indiana requires for …
    • Facebook Post: Our finest hour?
  • May 30, 2018.  Federal assistance for new wastewater treatment plant to be requested by B.C. Regional Sewer District NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE APPLICATION
  • The Brown County Regional Sewer District intends to file an application for federal assistance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Rural Utilities Service.  The project includes construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. Any comments regarding this application should be submitted to the Brown County Regional Sewer District, PO Box 1881, Nashville, IN, 47448
  • May 9, 2017. BCD  Resigning sewer board volunteers claim project obstruction,  Sara Clifford – Three of the five members of the Brown County Regional Sewer District Board have resigned amid allegations that the Brown County Health Department has been derailing the Bean Blossom sewer project and disparaging the current sewer board along the way.

    April 11, 2017Sewer district reviewing options for waste disposal

    • Four representatives of state funding and assistance agencies attended a special meeting Monday morning, April 3 about financing for the project. So did about 15 members of the public. … But after asking for an update on what the project is, Jim McGoff from the Indiana Finance Authority said Brown County isn’t ready for the financing step.
    • “At this point in time it sounds like the project has not been finally defined from a standalone plant versus other regional options, being either to Nashville or to another neighboring utility,” McGoff said.

    March 14, 2017Septic system add-on discussed at sewer meeting

  • Feb 21, 2017.  Report: Cheaper to build wastewater plant in Bean Blossom
  • Evan Werling, the sewer board’s president, told the audience that the alternative option — piping the wastewater to Nashville’s treatment plant on the western edge of town — would cost about $800,000 more than building a stand-alone plant.
  • At the Feb. 7 meeting, Werling said he did not consider the town’s proposal an attempt to negotiate. Wanda Jones, the lawyer for the sewer board, said she did not consider it in the board’s best interest to sign it. 
  • This is not the first time the sewer effort has come this far.  Perry said the USDA rejected a prior application for grant money by what was known then as the Bean Blossom Regional Sewer District because the cost per sewer customer would have been too high.
  • Jan 25, 2017New group steps in on sewer project
  • The Brown County Redevelopment Commission has agreed to take a direct role in attempts to bring a sewer system to the Bean Blossom area.
  • However, in a Jan. 9 interview, Werling said that without proof of environmental threats, and in light of rumors that most residents of Woodland Lake do not want the sewer, he will not allow the board — comprised of five members of equal voting power — to implement the sewer. … “Ethically and morally, I won’t do that to someone else,” he said.
  • If the project is successful, it would serve as a concrete example of Brown County’s ability to complete a multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Redding said.    would be a great confidence builder. It would be something that we would point to for the next big project that we engage in,” he said.
  • Dec 14, 2016  Town, sewer district continue contract negotiations
  • At the Dec. 6 meeting of the sewer district, Werling said the contract was not the response he had anticipated. 
  • “We got this huge, massive, eight-page contract with exhibits,” he said. “Not only was it approved by the town, it was also signed and notarized, waiting for my signature — a contract that we’ve never seen before.”
  • There are things in there that, if we discussed them, there’d be some pretty angry people in the room. I can tell you, those things are not going to fly,” he said.
  • In addition, under the contract, anyone connecting to the district’s system within three miles of Nashville would have to sign away the ability to protest future annexation by the town.
  • August 24, 2016.  Sewer board meets with affected residents
  • Ladd estimated a $65 monthly charge. That’s the best-case scenario.
  • If the grants the board is expecting didn’t pan out, the monthly cost would be more like $225.
  • The board said it would not pursue the project if monthly rates reached that high.
  • This is the second time the board has reached the grant proposal stage.
  • Last time, the plan was halted because of not having enough customers, said Vicki Perry, state director of the Indiana Rural Community Assistance Program.
  • July 27, 2016.  Bean Blossom sewer question continues (Includes list of properties)
  • About 200 Bean Blossom and Woodland Lake property owners may receive a letter from the Brown County Regional Sewer District before the end of the month.
  • It will invite them to a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 2 to learn about a proposed route for a new sewer system and how it will affect them, said Evan Werling, president of the district board.
  • The letters are the latest step in a nearly two-decade effort to bring sewer service to the area.

July 28, 2016, BCD, SEWER DISTRICT: Bean Blossom area businesses, residents waiting on the line  By Ben Kibbey  When work first began almost 20 years ago to get a sewer in Bean Blossom, 

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