Letter: Lisbon doesn’t need sewer system

To the Editor:

Anyone interested in buying a half-completed sewer system costing Lisbon village almost $2 million, completing it and operating it as a utility? No? Surprise.

Lisbon was required by the Illinois EPA to correct sewage discharge into an intermittent creek two decades ago. With help from taxes on local quarries the Kendall County Commissioners allowed us to annex, we are paying the $60,000 a year needed to service the remaining million or so debt.

Lisbon has fewer than 300 residents and maybe 100 homes and buildings. Most homes have both septic tanks and leach fields; some only septic tanks. Heavy rains can flood leach fields, as can high water tables. These risk mixing leach field septic tank effluent with groundwater or floodwater. Some dangerous diseases can survive briefly in oxygenated rainwater. If deep wells are not sealed, and shallow 10-to-50-foot deep wells are in use, there is risk to health.

We experience 3-to-5-inch rainfall, and water tables within 2 to 3 feet of the surface maybe 20 to 30 hours a year. If a deep well is unsealed or a shallow well in use, risk does exist.

It appears to me the solution is to require leach fields for all septic tanks, sealing deep wells and maybe requiring deep wells if shallow wells are downstream of nearby leach fields. However, our EPA masters, by threats of fines, etc., forced trustees to begin a community sewer system. To complete the system might cost over $2 million – another $20,000 per building.

The EPA will not allow more than three “variances.” So, adding a foot of earth to raise a leach field? Verboten. Installing a different individual septic system? Not without a variance. Once size fits all public sewer system for 85 to 90 homes, plus operating and maintenance, plus paying off past debts, plus each of us having to dig up and destroy our existing septic tanks and hook up to the public sewer – another 10 grand?

Our mayor, Mr. Paul Pope, is attempting to keep the EPA off our backs by appealing for grants from our state representatives and the county commissioners.

A recent Record issue described how $5 million or $6 million has been spent on the Piggot-Pickerill park and mansion.

I don’t believe a Lisbon sewer system is required. The county appears in agreement.

Alphonse I. Johnson

Lisbon