Murky, Smelly Water on Tap


Most of us just expect to turn on our faucets and see clear drinkable water to serve our basic needs.

When your small rural town operates on just two active wells, sometimes things just go wrong. 

For the last seven days, the town of Dana, Indiana, which is just outside of Clinton, has been experiencing harsh, tainted, smelly water. 

Here’s the bigger question at play, is this a state-wide rural community issue?

“Sadly, I only use cold water with them right now because the hot water smells worse,” says Fawn Johnston.  

Fawn Johnston runs Loving Hands Child Care in the small town in Dana. 

While the kids are off playing, running from room to room, the dishwasher finishes it’s cycle. 

“The best way I can describe [the smell] is driving by a hog farm on a hot summer day,” says Johnston. 

The small rural town just has more than 200 customers and when you operate on two wells, unfortunately there’s not an endless supply of water. 

“Last week [the wells] were not able to meet the demand, which causes [the wells] to pump too low and the pressure to drop,” says Sara Benskin, clerk treasurer.  

That’s when the murky, dirty, smelly water appeared. 

“We understand that it’s probably one of the worst inconveniences that anyone could have,” says Benskin.  

For the small child care, lunchtime continues on as normal. 

Just like for most in the Dana area, but Johnston says she knows this isn’t just happening here.

“Something needs to be done on a state or federal level to give these rural towns a way to provide for the community,” says Johnston.

“We are working not only for ourselves, but for everyone who lives in town to correct it as quick as possible,” says Benskin.

The town of Dana has been working hard for the past two years to get their city up to par with their sewage system, per state mandates. 
Now, they’re dealing with sub-par water. 

Johnston says it’s easy to try to place blame on the town officials, but really that doesn’t solve the problem. 

She’s hoping others will get involved in the solution process and help their town officials get on the right track to fix this issue while also staying ahead of others to come. 

Dana town officials have already been working closely with IDEM representatives to scout out a new location for a third well.

IDEM plans to expedite the permit process. 

Engineers are in the town Monday to verify and sign off on the next steps.

They hope, instead of months, it will only take weeks to complete.

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