Waynedale Political Commentaries


Back in April I wrote about the community gardens at Foster Park West on Bluffton Road. Maybe you remember the picture of Velveeta the lady scarecrow standing over one of the garden plots and pointing at the river. I mentioned in the article that the use of community gardens, not just here in Fort Wayne but across the country, has been on the rise by both long-time local gardeners and by citizens who have more recently joined our community.

Members of the Burmese community, for example, have rented large plots of space in community gardens where they grow herbs like Thai basil and other greens for use in their native cooking. In May I was driving by the Foster Park gardens and observed a young man watering with a large hose that put out a strong and steady stream of water. I watched for quite a while, and the water from his hose never slowed down. Now I knew that there were no city pipes going into those gardens, and I wondered where his water was coming from. When I approached the young man with my question he pointed to a large hose running down to the river. He was pumping the water directly up out of the river and had an ample supply to feed his garden.
I have long been interested in the subject of water. Not only because I used to work for the City of Fort Wayne’s Water Pollution Control Plant where I helped protect homes from basement backups after large rainfalls, but also today in my work as the township trustee. Our office works hand-in-hand with City Utilities to help folks who have fallen on hard times to at least keep water coming into and going out of their homes. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the public water cycle.

During the Three Rivers Festival one of my staff toured the city’s Water Filtration Plant and reported back to me that she was surprised about all that goes into providing water to the citizens of Fort Wayne. Our water is drawn out of the St. Joseph River, put through several stages of purification, and then piped out to homes and businesses. One recent addition to the purification process at the Filtration Plant is a germ-killing UV Light treatment, a high-tech step Fort Wayne installed in 2013.

After we’ve used our water for drinking, washing, laundry and other cleaning; it goes back out into the river through the sewer system. In the past, that system was often overworked when the water from heavy storms combined with household waste water and overfilled the pipes, thus backing them up into our basements. To address that, Fort Wayne began separating storm and household sewer pipes, and the problem has gotten better.

But these improvements have not been cost-free, and our water bills have increased to reflect that. Most of us can absorb the increased cost and see it as a worthwhile price to pay for a cleaner water system. After all, we have seen the high cost of having a public water system go wrong in places as near as Flint, Michigan. A question on all of our minds is whether a problem like that could ever happen here. I believe not.

Fort Wayne is blessed with safe, clean and abundant water. Our water workers and officials are forward-thinking, alert to potential threats and have acted to avert problems. No system is perfect, but I believe ours is pretty high up there.

Water is a basic necessity-not only for our drinking and cleaning needs but for food production as well. Without water we would perish and so would our gardens.

Latest posts by Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee (see all)

Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee

Wayne Township Trustee Rick Stevenson was elected Trustee in November of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. He is very passionate about helping those in need and considers it a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer