Societal

Ohio county condemns two new Amish houses because they have outhouses and the owners refuse to install modern plumbing

By  Daily Mail Reporter and Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 15:57 EST, 27  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 16:59 EST, 27 March 2013

 

A county health board in Ohio has condemned  two houses recently built by the Amish because they have outhouses and refuse to  install modern septic tanks and wells, claiming it is against their religion.

The fight in Hardin County, Ohio, began last  summer when the Kenton-Hardin County Board of Health said it would start  enforcing the rules on any new home, including those built by the 200 Amish  families who live there.

Health officials say the hand-dug privies  used by the Amish can allow human waste to leech into the water table and  contaminate neighboring wells.

Health violation: A county health board in northeast Ohio says Amish outhouses pose a danger to neighboring homes because human waste could leech into the groundwater 

Health violation: A county health board in northeast  Ohio says Amish outhouses pose a danger to neighboring homes because human waste  could leech into the groundwater

The two homes in question are the first the  fall under the new rules.

More than 100 Amish turned out Tuesday night  to ask the health board  to reconsider the condemnation order, which  requires that the homes be brought into compliance or the families move  out.

Henry Yoder read a letter signed by the  Hardin County Amish  community’s seven bishops asking the board to reconsider  its orders.  Yoder owns one of the houses that are not in compliance.

‘Our goal is to uphold and maintain the  biblical principles of faith  which our forefathers believed: to be a separate  people,’ Yoder read.  ‘And, as stated in Romans 12th chapter, “Be ye not  conformed.”‘

 

After more than two hours of testimony from  health officials, the  board’s eight members didn’t change their minds. They  reaffirmed the  orders to condemn the homes that they initially issued in  January.

Now, the families can dig proper wells and  install approved concrete  pits under their outhouses, appeal the orders to the  Hardin County  Common Pleas Court, or move.

Freedom of religion? The Amish say the new health rules encroach on their primitive lifestyle, which is dictated by their religious beliefs 

Freedom of religion? The Amish say the new health rules  encroach on their primitive lifestyle, which is dictated by their religious  beliefs

‘Our goal is to live simple, God-fearing  lives, and we feel your  requirements are undermining our simple way of life,’  Yoder said,  reading from the bishops’ letter. ‘Our plea is to live in peace  among  our fellow citizens and maintain our lifestyles on our own personal  properties unless it is definitely proven we are a health hazard to our  neighbors.’

All other Ohio counties with an Amish  population have long ago  settled similar disputes. Logan County, for example,  agreed to let the  Amish build their own pits as a compromise. Holmes County,  with the  state’s largest Amish population, says the Amish follow the  rules.

County Prosecutor Brad Bailey said the issue  is bigger than just two homes.

‘Our rules at the health department are to  prevent problems before they happen, not to react to them,’ he said.

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