KENTON, Ohio — A truce has been reached, at least for now, between the Amish of Hardin County and health officials. The two sides have been at odds over rules for wells and outhouses at new Amish homes.
With a clock ticking toward eviction because of orders issued on April 10 that condemned two new homes, the Amish apologized to the Kenton-Hardin Board of Health on Tuesday night and said they wanted to compromise.
The officials seemed willing to listen.
“I want to apologize to the board,” said Cletus Lambright, a bishop and leader in the Amish community. “This is all new to us, and we didn’t know what to do.”
It sounds like Amish have been trying to address the issue in their own manner, while authorities are giving leeway for Amish ways:
On Tuesday, health officials said Hershberger has designed a cap for his well and it has been conditionally approved. He still must enclose the gasoline engine that powers his pump in a galvanized container to prevent oil and water contamination. He said he will do that.
In addition, the board said the families can design and build their own watertight tanks for under their outhouses. An engineer still will have to inspect and approve them, and the Amish agreed to that.
The Amish, who had resisted leach beds for their wash water, now say they will comply because the health board will allow them to dig their own trenches and use non-electrified systems that are much smaller than those required for non-Amish homes.
The second well, belonging to Emory Gingerich, presents a greater problem, though the two sides are still working on a solution.
What about the practice of spreading human waste on fields? Hardin County Amish will still not be allowed to do this (though it is apparently permitted in four other Ohio counties). They have agreed to have it hauled off instead.