Amish-Raised Neighbor Reacts To Supreme Court Decision: “Devastated”

Lizzy Hershberger lives in the same community as the Fillmore County, Minnesota Amish group who won an appeal case at the Supreme Court last week. She is concerned over wastewater leaking into the ground in her area. Hershberger said that she was “devastated that this is the outcome.”

This caught my attention as I believe this is the first opposition – or at least strong opposition – I’ve seen reported from an actual non-Amish resident of the area. Perhaps there have been some other examples of that, but in large part it has seemed that the reported complaints have been formal ones originating mainly from governmental bodies. Hershberger offers at least one non-Amish citizen’s perspective. From KTTC:

“It’s very unfortunate that it’s been going on this long,” Hershberger said. “But this is not the outcome I was expecting.”

Hershberger left her Amish home when she was 17. While she is no longer part of the Amish community, she lives in the area with her family.

“Personally, I would not be able to live here if nothing gets done,” she said.

Hershberger worries about wastewater from the home seeping into the ground and contaminating her drinking water.

“Other residents aren’t going to be happy about this either,” she added.

It seems she feels this is a serious danger in the community. However, it strikes me that this situation has existed for many years now – 15 years or longer – though the dates cited in the video are from about seven years back.

That causes me to question how serious the danger is actually considered to be. If there was a serious and imminent danger from the local Amish method of dealing with gray water, it seems this would have caused a move some time ago. Perhaps her concern has grown as the Amish population has expanded?

Here’s the full video report from KTTC:

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    11 Comments

    1. Stephen

      Ignorance seems to create fear

      That lady needs to put aside her emotions and try to think objectively by first educating herself about what grey water is. All ground water is filtered by the earth as it slowly seeps into the ground. Also the grey water that flows into someone’s septic system, flows right out into the leach field, which is less than 18″ below the ground surface, where it seeps into the ground. It doesn’t matter if grey water is released on the surface or below ground, it all goes to the same place. And if the Amish have been watering their gardens with it forever, and it hasn’t bothered anyone, why would she be upset now? Some people just seem to need a drama, just to have something to occupy their mind.

    2. Mr. Rothrock

      Amish-Raised neighbor

      Grey water doesn’t come your toilet….
      Grey water comes from your kitchen sink, bath tub. Water once it has let the spicket, and has touch the driveway ,washed your hand, it is called grey water….

    3. Walter Boomsma

      Minority rule?

      Sorry to see yet another example of how the minority attempts to rule and the media jumps on the opportunity to assist and empower them, ignoring the law, the “facts” of the situation, including the fact that she’s pursuing a personal agenda. She’s actually already identified the solution–move. The “fact” she was “Amished-Raised” has absolutely no bearing–in fact it weakens her position by implying she has an axe to grind.

    4. Bitter water?

      It is odd that the reporters interviewed this woman, rather than the experts who testified in the case and would have some genuine insight into why the Amish don’t want to install septic systems for their gray water. She surely has ulterior motives for not seeing valid reasons for their concerns, as well as wanting to move because the Amish did not lose the case. She may have valid reasons for leaving the Amish, and I support her right to do so. She also is displaying one of the strong Amish values, i.e., don’t stay and fight with your neighbors; if you can’t agree, part ways peacefully. The news story did not do the story justice at all; it was not in-depth coverage of the actual issues of religious liberty and the overreach of the county officials.

    5. Brian Mast

      She needs to got back to school and learn basic biology!

      All mammals include man have urinated and defecated on top of the ground since we have existed! It (usually) remains safe for those of us humans that are living in more rural areas to do so now. We usually do not do that anymore because all it takes is one sick or diseased person in an area to potentially pass some pathogens to others via flying insects. The waste from other animals can contain pathogens too; but those are seldom harmful to us because we are a different specie. Urbanites of course lack enough ground cover and distance apart to do such things. These reasons are why septic systems were developed long ago.
      The ground contains microbes that consume mammal and human waste. The roots of plants, including the vegetables you eat, do the same thing. It is called the circle of life.
      https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/960-the-nitrogen-cycle

    6. J.O.B.

      Agree with many of you.

      Then move Lizzy.

      She sounded overly dramatic and did come across as though she has an axe to grind. Interviewing Lizzy simply because she grew up Amish is just for drama. She clearly was one-sided.

      Grey water is safe and used all over the world.
      It’s used to wash dishes and shower in. So the water has food and dirt in it. THE SAME DIRT THAT’S FROM THE GROUND IS GOING BACK INTO IT. In other words, it’s safe. Plus the ground itself naturally filters the water. It’s cleaner than the water from the city that has various chemicals in it. Anybody remember Flint Michigan with lead and other hazards in the drinking water and the governments failure there? Grey water is safer than Flints drinking water.

    7. Terry from Wisconsin

      A story from days gone by...

      A story from the olden days from my mom who was born in 1918 just cuz…

      If you like to grow roses, and mom did, plant them along the back porch off the kitchen. When you finish washing the dishes you grab the dish pan of “gray water” and throw it on the rose bushes. By doing that they’ll never have aphids! When indoor plumbing came along the roses were never the same!
      My mom truly was a flower gardener and who was I to question “whatever works” when growing flowers of any kind!

      So Erik, I’ll just leave it at that…

    8. BMH

      Lizzies reaction to Supreme Court ruling

      Whether the Amish involved have Septic or gray water to get rid of waste is none of her business. Probably looking for money for her 2 cent worth. Liz Hershberger needs to sweep off her own door step and its time everyone knows their Livestock trailers which haul pigs and cattle our cleaned out right at their home on the ground. The waste going into the ground and not being filtered. Maybe the news reporter’s should go get a report on that from her own property. While at it bring Pollution Control along to see what they our doing. If their was a manure run off its reported. I’m wondering what is the difference?

    9. J.O.B.

      New Info.

      Turns out, the woman interviewed named Lizzy, who said she was devastated, well, there is a woman who lives in that area with the same name who wrote a book about being abused by the Amish.

      If this is the same Lizzy, then now we know why she has an axe to grind against the Amish and why she was one-sided in her interview. Also could explain the county targeting the Amish.

      Also, the same news channel did a story about this Lizzy a couple years ago. So there is a history. No coincidence that she was chosen for this story.

      She does want attention. Her story of abuse is sad. But clearly shows her anger toward the Amish.

      1. AF

        Yes, it is the same Lizzy

        Yes, it is the same Lizzy. I read her book and while her story of abuse is undeniably sad. It was not limited to Amish community members. By any standards, the way she describes her family would be dysfunctional (Mom drinking, tying her baby to chairs to go out “on the town” and sleeping around with non-Amish, not knowing who her biological father is, unmarried aunt and uncle having relations, etc). It also reads like most of her interactions with men (Amish and non-Amish alike, apart perhaps from that one family in La Crosse) were abusive and that most women she encountered (aunts, convenience store clerks, English family “friends”, etc) facilitated the abuse. It is tragic and the story of the abuse and subsequent trauma needed to be told for sure.
        However, I wish the book covered more of her claim of the local Schwartzentrubers “closing rank” behind her convicted abuser (the ideology behind it amongst other things), the backlash around the victim(s), and how they could still justify him holding a leadership position in the church.
        She’s got a fair amount of mainstream media (local and also that Cosmo article last year) for telling her story which might explain why she was the “go-to” neighbor for this segment? I agree with others who have said that it would have made more sense to hear from the county officials.

        1. J.O.B.

          Thank you for the information.

          Victims need to always be free and safe to speak up. This can help bring necessary change to an unhealthy environment.

          Yes. It sounds like she has been thru a lot. Also sounds like more than a few Amish and non-Amish in that area have serious issues that need to be dealt with.

          I also believe the county officials should have been heard in this news story.