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Sanitation code complaints arise with Amish community - KOAM TV 7

Sanitation code complaints arise with Bourbon County Amish community

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Complaints about sanitation code violations within Bourbon County's Amish community arise.

Amish families established their community in the county in 2005.  Due to their religious belief they do not use running water or flushing toilet.  Instead, they use privies, or private outhouses for their bathroom needs.

But these outhouses are not in compliance with county codes or state statute.

"No one can say that we're not working to resolve this issue in the most peaceful manner possible," says Bourbon County Commission Chairman Harold Coleman.  "It was brought to our attention that they're using outside toilets and putting the remains in the fields later on."

"I'm not angry, but sort of disappointed," says Amish resident Chris Borntrager.  "We've lived here for seven years.  Now it's a problem and I don't really know why it's a problem.  There has been no evidence of contamination to the land brought to our attention.  I'd rather go on living like we're living."

Commissioners say the code has always been in place but wasn't enforced by previous county officials.

"That is the last thing that we want to do is try and drive something down somebody's throat and look like we've singled out one group of people and we're picking on them - that is not happening," says Coleman.

The outhouses in the Amish community are similar to the ones at Elm Creek, except the ones in Elm Creek are connected to underground holding tanks.

Bourbon County officials say if the community installed their old tanks, the problem would be cleared up.

"It would the quickest, easiest and probably their most economical," Coleman says.

There are about 27 Amish households in Bourbon County and each one would be required to install at least one tank at about $1,000 each.

Bourbon County resident Cathy Pechin is not Amish but represents the group who she believes is being unfairly targeted.

"That's a tremendous amount of money for anybody," says Pechin.

Rather than shell out extra money, Pechin says the families hope they can compost and remove their waste in a way that will comply with codes.

County commissioners asked that the families do a little more research on the composting idea and present that information back to them within 60 days.

But in order to amend county codes state approval must be given, so this is really all depending on that as well.

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