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Board Treasurer Mike McKenna Talks History, Importance of Koontz Lake Sewer System

Writer  /  Kyle Baird
Photographer  /  Jubilee Edgell

For the town of Koontz Lake, caring for the natural resources we are afforded here in Indiana is much more than just a concept. For them, maintaining and respecting the environment manifests itself intangible, concrete ways through initiatives taken to sustain and support both the town and the lake, chief among those being the construction of a town-wide sewer system.

While not officially an incorporated town, the community of Koontz Lake has a rich history that goes back many decades. In the mid 1900s, the popularity of Koontz Lake as a recreation destination began to grow, and the lake started getting more traffic of users each year, until eventually lake goers began to look at the lake as a spot for vacation and retirement homes and the number of residents and homeowners rose as the years went on. While the increase of homes in Koontz Lake brought growth and excitement to the community, it also brought an array of complications and issues, particularly in regards to the health of the lake.

Any growing community faces its own specific challenges, but one of the biggest concerns facing Koontz Lake was how to manage the growing amount of household waste that came along with a growing community. Koontz Lake residents primarily relied on septic systems as there were limited options otherwise, and the number of septic systems slowly started to put more and more of a strain on the lake to the point where many felt that alternative waste management solutions needed to be explored. It was then that a group of Koontz Lake residents decided to take action and look to install a sewer system that would be dependable, affordable and sustainable for years to come as the population of Koontz Lake grew.

One of the forerunners of the campaign to install a sewer system and current treasurer of the sewer board, Mike McKenna, recalls the early stages of the project and remembers what put the plan into motion.

“We could see that the community had been evolving, and continues to evolve, from a weekend and seasonal community to a largely full-time residency, and that puts a lot of pressure on the land and the lake from septic systems on small lots close to the lake,” McKenna says. “We could see that over the course of time this was not a good outcome, and we felt that we needed a centralized collection and treatment system for our sewage waste.

Largely due to the efforts of Mckenna and the rest of the sewer board, the project began in 2007 with preliminary meetings to plan the installation of the sewer system as well as finding an engineering consultant to help ensure the project was completed effectively. While there were roadblocks along the way, such as high construction costs and logistical challenges to such a large venture, the system was officially completed in 2011 and offered sewage removal and treatment at an affordable cost to all residents of Koontz Lake.

The installation of something such as a sewer system may often go overlooked or unnoticed in any community, but the work done by the sewer board to make sure Koontz Lake received proper sewage treatment has been a tremendous service to the town and has ensured further health of the lake for years to come.

All visitors to the lake each year

feel the effects of the work done by the sewer board and, largely thanks to them, another memorable summer at Koontz Lake is just around the corner.

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