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UPDATE: Septic system lawsuit, county expert testifies

PRESTON, Minn. (KTTC) – A judge heard new testimony Friday morning in a Fillmore County Courtroom, as Amish community members argue that building a home while following their faith isn’t violating the law.

Attorney Brett Corson, arguing on behalf of the state, brought an official from Fillmore county to the witness stand.

Cristal Adkinson is an expert on septic systems and the county’s codes and regulations.

She said a greywater septic system has to be installed within county guidelines, and that there were many letters sent to the plaintiffs to compromise and resolve the issue.

Upon inspecting one of the plaintiffs homes, Amon Swartzentruber, she noted a straight pipe running from the home heading downhill towards a creek.

There was standing water containing soaps and chemicals which are public health threat.

Corson showed the court pictures of parts of the mulch systems installed on one property. One picture showed a pump lid with a black-gray substance on it that shouldn’t be there.

Another picture showed some substance on the rim of a pipe with a basin underneath with solids in it.
Adkinson said that would usually indicate the system is failing.

Two members of the Amish community took the stand as well, Abe Swartzentruber and David Miller.

Abe Swartzentruber said he installed a greywater system in his home two ago after a judge ordered it. He said the community didn’t shun or excommunicate him for doing that.

Lizzie Hershberger, who left the community years ago, testified that these practices are harmful to the Amish and the public.

Proceedings continue next week with more witnesses. The lawsuit is coming up on its 3rd week now.

Ala Errebhi

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