Illegal septic system forcing homeowners to move - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Illegal septic system forcing homeowners to move

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LANSING (KWWL) -- The Department of Natural Resources says the sanitary system at Lansing Valley Mobile City is violating current environmental laws. The owners can't afford to fix problem, so they are choosing to close the mobile home park.

"I was upset about it," said longtime resident Lavern Timmerman. "I'm sure we all were, been here so long. I've been out here 13 years, now all at once, you gotta move."

Timmerman's home may technically be mobile, but the idea of moving it to a new location by next month is making his head spin.

"There's nothing around here. I'll have to move somewhere else," he explained.

The problem is a nearby pond - technically known as a single cell evaporative waste water treatment lagoon. In layman's terms, homeowners pump their waste in. The theory is, it settles to the bottom. But the lagoon in Lansing was too small, and the water was overflowing.

"A pump had been installed in the lagoon and it was being pumped through a hose onto the ground next to the lagoon. I did find evidence it was reaching the creek," said DNR Specialist Sue Miller.

Ironically, that state water body is called Clear Creek. It feeds into the Mississippi River, and is depended on by several types of fish and other area wildlife.

Now Timmerman and all of his neighbors are forced to find a new community, one that's not violating state laws. But the economy makes that a challenge.

Area non profit groups are offering to help the homeowners find a new place to live, but many said they will end up having to sell their mobile homes at a loss.

"I won't be able to probably move out, the way everything's setting, until probably down close to the last of the 15th of March," said Timmerman.

That's the day the mobile home park owners are closing their community. Timmerman said he'll figure something out - he's looking for an apartment and plans to leave his trailer on a friend's land. But it's a hard way to say goodbye to his home in the hills.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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