Three weeks ago Amish outhouse troubles made local news in Ohio.  The story seems to be repeating itself in Kansas, but this one is being picked up by national media.

Bourbon County officials have asked Amish near Fort Scott to comply with outhouse regulations.  These include installing a $1,000 holding tank, and paying to have them pumped out every 1-2 years.

Kansas Amish OuthouseThe Fort Scott settlement is a significantly more conservative community than the better-known Kansas Amish outposts at Yoder-Haven, Hutchinson, or Garnett.

I wonder why this outhouse saga got picked up by Reuters and fed to the Chicago Tribune, CNBC, and what looks like a growing list of news outlets, while the other didn’t.

Perhaps this one looks more like it is going to be a clash.  The Hardin County, Ohio group seemed resigned to get in line with outhouse orders.  A Bourbon County commission meeting included the following:

“Is there any evidence we are polluting anything, contaminating anything?” asked Amish farmer Chris Borntrager at a meeting of the Bourbon County Commission last week.

Harold Coleman, chairman of the commission, said he had no answer to that question but that the county requires holding tanks and he cited a state law against burying human waste.

An official added:

“Nobody wanted to get involved in the government-religion thing,” said Tom McNeil, county sanitation director, who was not in office seven years ago. “It was better to stay out of it. But that’s where we dropped the ball.”

Concerned neighbors apparently complained about the Amish practice.

I do wonder how contagious these types of controversies are…does coverage of one lead to more “outbreaks” in other states?  In other words will concerned citizens be eyeing their local Amish outhouses more closely now having read this story (and possibly filing complaints)?

Or is it just that these issues are happening all the time, but get amplified by the media, especially when they come in bunches?


You might also like:

Get the Amish in your inbox

    Question on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the Amish FAQ.