Ontwa Township struggles with sewage in residents' yards - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Ontwa Township struggles with sewage in residents' yards


For some Edwardsburg residents, Labor Day was less than restful. They were scrubbing their basements and bathrooms because last night many of them say their properties filled up with sewage overflow from the nearby lift station.

"You hear the gurgling noise and the next thing you know it's coming up the shower, it's coming up the toilet. And spewing into the house," said resident Kevin O'Neill.

He was enjoying his holiday weekend when two inches of sewage made its way into his bathroom...and he isn't alone. The residents blame the nearby pump lift station. They say the station is supposed to collect sewage from the area and send it to Elkhart...and this was not the first time this has happened.

"It's the second time in a week," O'Neill said.

On Wednesday there was an Ontwa Township sewer board meeting to address last Monday's overflow.

"Representatives from the servicing company and the township told us this was a one time event. It was caused by a computer malfunction and that it would never happen again and here we are the following Monday, Labor Day, and we have the same problem," said Nick Donis, another resident.

Residents tried contacting several township resources, but couldn't get in touch with anyone. Now they say they're left with this smelly mess.

"And still as of today we don't exactly know from the Township what we're supposed to be doing," Donis said.

It's part of a larger ongoing battle. Some trustees want to build their own sewage plant. A neighborhood group called SORE doesn't.

"When they can't control or even manage the sewage collection system properly we really worry they can't effectively manage a full blown sewage treatment plant," Donis said.

Ontwa Township's Treasurer Meryl Christensen wants the plant so the Township can be fiscally independent of Elkhart. She's not in charge of the lift station with today's problem. She says a company actually runs the pump.

"They are working with source technology to get all the chemicals in and to get everything corrected," she said.

We did reach out to Township Trustees, sewage board members, and the maintenance company, but we recognize it is a holiday and no one returned our calls.

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