Farmers: Huntertown Sewage Plan Could Flood Our Crops

By John W. Davis
By Julian Teekaram

July 13, 2011 Updated Nov 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM EDT

Eel River Township, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Eel River Township farmers believe a new Huntertown Sewage Plant could flood their farm land, if a nearby ditch is not cleaned out.

Jon Smith has worked 240 acres near the Geller Ditch for the past 32 years.

Smith said back then water flow was fine in the Geller Ditch.

But Smith and neighboring farmers estimated the ditch has not been clean out for at least the past 30 years.

Indiana's NewsCenter visited the Geller Ditch Wednesday afternoon.

We noticed knee high weeds, and inches if not feet on mucky sediment.

Meanwhile, for the past few years, farmers told Indiana's NewsCenter anytime they get a heavy three inch rain, like Northeast Indiana received in May, the ditch practically floods in a span of three to four hours.

"Huntertown is almost three miles away and they're wanting to bring their water to us and that's what our major concern is," said Eel River Township Farmer Jon Smith.

"We're not fighting the sewage treatment plant, have nothing against that, we're just trying to make sure we work out a solution to our problem." explained Smith.

Current Huntertown Sewage Plant plans call for treated sewage water to be dumped over a 24 hour period into the already shallow Geller Ditch.

"We just need some help," added Eel River Township Farmer Lennie Shank.

Smith and his fellow farmers like Lennie Shank have two solutions.

Dredge the ditch or find another place to dump the treated sewage water.

"This is good ground, it's as good as ground as there is in Allen County as far as yield wise goes. I just can't see flooding it, when we don't have to. Just dredge the ditch, just get the problem solved," Shank said.

Meanwhile, Allen County is in charge of cleaning the ditch.

Farmers told Indiana's NewsCenter they pay a ditch assessment fee, which is meant to maintain the ditch.

However, they feel they are not getting their money's worth.

On top of that, farmers lost money this spring, because the Geller Ditch flooded and they had to re-plant dozens of acres of corn and soybeans.

The sewage plant was originally slated to be built in a neighborhood and Lima and Woods Road.

However, that idea is on hold as Huntertown Town Council considers building the $11.2 million dollar plant in a more rural setting.

No word on a vote but Town Council President Jim Fortman has previously told Indiana's NewsCenter that town leaders want the plant up and running by spring of 2013.

Town Council members have repeatedly told community members that Fort Wayne, which currently processes Huntertown's sewage, could increase sewage rates by 30% to 50% in the near future.

The next Huntertown Town Council meeting will be held Monday, July 18 at 6 p.m. at Huntertown Town Hall.

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