Issues such as poor soils, small lot sizes, hilly terrain, pollution of surface and ground water, improper on-site septic system design and old septic installations have led to numerous studies throughout Brown County of water quality, environmental concerns, and septic assessments to determine the need for improved wastewater management. The first investigation was by R.W. Armstrong in January 2001, followed by preparation of the Lake Lemon Watershed Management Plan by Malcolm Pirnie in 2002. Additional investigations followed: Ladd Engineering in September 2003, and again in September 2009; Bean Blossom Creek Watershed Management Plan by the Hoosier Environmental Council in 2008; and subsequently the Yellowwood Lake Watershed Management Plan and Bean Blossom Watershed Implementation Project by Monroe County SWCD. Currently Friends of Lake Monroe is preparing a Lake Monroe Watershed Management Plan including impact from Brown County activities. BCRSD has a project ongoing to assess water quality across the entire Brown County and evaluate onsite wastewater management options.
Many areas have already been identified where onsite septic systems are not working properly or are non-existent. Homes and businesses that are numerous and close together often have older septic systems needing repair or replacement. Throughout Brown County, many of these properties do not have the available land area or conditions to complete needed repairs under the current guidelines of the Indiana State Department of Health. Septic systems that are not working properly pose serious public health problems, including the potential spread of disease from high E. coli or other bacteria that can harm individuals, their families, and the water in the area. Community-wide sewage collection and treatment would help reduce untreated human waste from entering the soil, groundwater and surface water streams. Community-wide sewer systems are often the best solutions when local soil conditions (clay material, shallow to bedrock soils and steep slopes conditions found in Brown County) are not well suited for properly operating onsite septic lateral fields.
Clean fresh water is essential for drinking and for recreational usage. Showcasing Brown County’s outdoor assets and the beauty of our natural environment is key to enhancing our reputation as a desirable place to visit and live. Water free of bacteria for kayaking, fishing, and swimming is critical for usable, safe, and exciting recreational activities. However, our natural beauty cannot withstand continued degradation from failing or underperforming onsite septic systems. E. coli and other harmful bacteria, as well as numerous harmful chemicals, contaminate the soil, groundwater and surface waters if left untreated. E. coli from poorly operating or failing septic system must be identified and alternatives developed to eliminate untreated human sewage from entering our natural environment, including our soils, surface waters and groundwaters.
The data sheets herein provide results of many of these studies and assessments.