Water and Septic Information

January 21, 2014


Dear Knollwood Neighbors,

I had a very productive meeting with Mark Nelson, Environmental Health Manager at the St. Joseph County Health Department concerning the nitrate levels found in Granger drinking water.  This is my attempt to simplify the issue from the experts.

Northern Indiana has enjoyed the most prolific aquifer in the state.  In a nutshell, an aquifer is an underground layer of glacial water, filtered by sand and gravel, supplying water to our wells.  This aquifer is now showing levels of nitrates.

Nitrates and pharmaceuticals from our old and failing septic systems are leaking into our drinking water, via our personal wells.

Nitrates come from human urine.  For example, when a person takes an antibiotic or seizure medicine, their body absorbs what it can, and the remainder comes out of the body in the form of urine.  The urine then goes into the septic system.  If the system is failing, the nitrates leak out into our yards and then into our well.

This nitrate problem is not unique to Granger.  Most communities throughout the country, with older septic systems, are experiencing the same issues.  The best remedy is of course, the most expensive….. hooking up to city water and sewer.  At this time, the solution is too expensive for the 30,000 + Granger residents.  What do we do?  The county health department would love to see all drywells replaced, as a first step.  To date, it has not been mandated.

Have your water tested.   ($80.00 to $115.00 )

If the nitrate levels are too high, a reverse osmosis unit can be installed under the kitchen sink, where most drinking water is taken from.  A whole house system is not usually necessary because we do not consume or absorb enough nitrates while brushing our teeth or showering.  A reverse osmosis unit can be purchased from any hardware store but should be installed by a licensed plumber.  The total estimated cost for the unit and installation should be no more than $350.00.  By the way, boiling your water makes the nitrate content even higher.  Boiling water is only recommended when bacteria is present.

Pump and inspect your septic system   ($150.00 approx)

As a realtor, I would highly recommend having your septic and well inspected prior to listing.  The county is in the process of making septic codes stricter for the transfer of property.  A new septic system could cost $7,000 or more.  Knowledge is power!

The following list is meant to be helpful to our neighbors and is not an endorsement by the Knollwood Home Owner’s Association.

Valley Lea Water Testing   272-8484     

Guardian Septic (formally A & R) 574-202-7407

Cowsert Septic   574-674-8960 

BFS Plumbing   251-1931                                                       

SLR Plumbing  269-683-1290

“This article is strictly for informational purposes only.  The Knollwood HOA and its board are not experts on nitrates, or septic systems. Before acting you should seek the opinion of an expert regarding an issue discussed in this article or call the St. Joseph County Health Department at 235-9721

For further information read Save Your Septic System