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Group fears wastewater may spoil Buck Creek

A group of Harrison County residents concerned with the proposal to discharge New Middletown’s treated wastewater into ‘pristine’ Buck Creek has formed a coalition to ‘Save Buck Creek.’
The coalition’s spokesman, Michael Bailey, said, ‘The organization is deeply concerned that the Harrison County Commissioners and the County Council are rushing into a project that will forever damage the pristine waters of one of Harrison County’s most treasured natural waterways ‘ Buck Creek.’
He said, ‘The county council is voting March 14 to release over $500,000 (in riverboat revenue) for the New Middletown project, a project that is opposed by thousands of people in Harrison County and opposed by many people within the town of New Middletown.’
Bailey, a Central resident and former Congressional candidate, stressed, ‘The coalition is not opposed to the good people of New Middletown, nor are they opposed to environmentally sound alternatives that can solve any of their wastewater problems.
‘The coalition is, however, unwilling to sit idly by and allow one of Harrison County’s most pristine waterways, Buck Creek, to be forever altered and changed.’
Buck Creek runs through central Harrison County south to Mauckport, where it empties into the Ohio River. It’s frequently used in spring, summer and fall for swimming, fishing, inner-tubing and canoeing or for simply enjoying the scenery, many said at a Saturday, Feb. 26, special meeting of the commissioners. The thought of even treated sewage emptying into Buck Creek is troublesome, many said, because malfunctions can occur in sewage treatment plants.
Commissioner J.R. Eckart, chairman of the board of county commissioners, told the citizens that they will have an opportunity to express their arguments when it is time for the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management to consider issuing a discharge permit.
Randy Hunter of New Middletown presented a petition to the commissioners at their special meeting signed by 36 residents who are opposed to the system and the ‘dumping waste water in Buck Creek.’
Bailey said the coalition plans to gather at least 2,000 signatures on a petition asking the county council to ‘vote no on the project and to choose one of the environmentally sound alternatives to solve New Middletown’s wastewater problem.’
Stacy Taylor, one of the 15 founders of the coalition, said he has fished in Buck Creek since he was seven years old. ‘That is one of Indiana’s hidden secrets,’ he said. ‘I would really hate to see this go through. I know New Middletown has a problem, but I don’t think Buck Creek is the solution.’
The coalition is also distributing a letter to New Middletown residents encouraging them not to sign on for the service until a ‘better and more environmentally sound alternative’ has been chosen.
‘Many believe that Buck Creek cannot handle sewage wastewater because during many times of the year the creek flows only a trickle,’ the coalition letter says.
When that happens, the coalition believes residents and wildlife would face serious health risks.
The coalition suggests other options for the town would be to use a ‘mound’ system or other ‘self-contained’ systems.