Water warning issued for trailer park
Recent provincial inspections of Les’s Trailer Park found numerous water and sewer issues that could put public health at risk, prompting a boil water advisory.
Tenants in the problem-plagued mobile home park just west of Red Deer were dismayed earlier this month to receive eviction notices and told the park would be shut down next year.
The high cost of upgrading water and sewer systems was blamed by the owner, Robert Bresciani of Calgary.
An order issued on Sept. 6 by Alberta Health Services environmental health officer Quentin Schatz says the 72-unit trailer park’s water may be unfit for human consumption because surface water could be getting into groundwater used to supply the park.
The current water treatment system does not provide adequate treatment for that scenario, says Schatz.
Alberta Environment’s investigation showed that the “sewage system serving the premise is failing and may lead to groundwater and water supply contamination.”
Also, water quality is not monitored for bacteria as required each week.
All of those problems contravene provincial regulations.
As a response, Schatz ordered a boil water advisory and Bresciani was ordered to post warning signs and do the water monitoring.
For tenants in nine rental units, the owner is required to provide a potable water supply because they fall under additional regulations.
David Brown, of Alberta Health Services, said the water testing — which is offered free of charge by the department — is a critical issue.
“All we want to know is whether or not there’s any contamination in the water,” said Brown, who is central zone manager for Environmental Public Health.
“And unfortunately the owner of the property has been refusing to submit regular samples to us and to have us evaluate that water supply and determine whether there’s contamination there or not.”
Brown said Alberta Health Services and other departments have been working with the owner for the last 15 months.
The sewage system has been an issue in the past and now appears to be malfunctioning again.
“The drinking water concerns are mainly related to the fact that here we are again and there is evidence that the wastewater system is leaking.”
That is of particular concern because the trailer park’s well water comes from a shallow, unconfined aquifer that could be contaminated by surface water.
Finding more permanent fixes for the water and sewage systems on site is also part of the health officer’s order.
Bresciani is required by Sept. 5, 2013, to provide and maintain a drinking water system with an alternative water source or prove the existing water supply is safe and surface water is not mixing with groundwater.
The sewage disposal system must also be maintained and operated in a manner that prevents water supply contamination.
Les’s site manager Mike Nelson told the Red Deer Advocate on Monday that the owner could not afford the upgrades, which he estimated would cost $2.5 million.
Bresciani says in his eviction notice to residents that his company, Brero Holdings, “has been compelled by (Alberta Environment) to make the infrastructures of the trailer court like if the trailer court was going to be built today.
“This is too costly, we cannot afford it.”
Residents are given until Sept. 15, 2013, to leave with their possessions, except for residents on about two dozen lots, who have already been served with eviction notices and must leave now, it says.
Brown said the departments are sensitive to the fact that people may be losing their homes. However, safety for residents is the prime concern.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development spokesperson Jessica Potter got involved because the wastewater system falls under its jurisdiction, while Alberta Health Services oversees drinking water.
“We’re working together to bring this particular individual into compliance.”
Bresciani could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.