Mobile Home Parks Fined for Discharging Pollutants

Sept. 6, 2000

The owners of two mobile home parks in northwest Indiana will pay a $765,000 fine for violating the Clean Water Act by illegally discharging sewage.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 (serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) in August filed a lawsuit against the parks--Burns Harbor Estates in Chesterton, Ind., and Oak Tree Village in Portage, Ind.--alleging that they did not treat sewage properly and discharged pollutants into tributaries of the Little Calumet River. Within a few days, the owners reached an agreement with the EPA to pay the penalty.

"The wastewater treatment plants at both mobile home parks were poorly maintained and frequently not in compliance with the Clean Water Act," said Regional Administrator Francis X. Lyons. "In the case of the Oak Tree plant, operation and maintenance was so bad that the treatment plant had filled with solids and was discharging pollutants at levels 20 or 30 times greater than permitted. The size of the penalty should send a message that those who operate wastewater treatment plants near recreational waters must comply with water pollution requirements, to protect beaches and public health."

In the past few years, high levels of E. coli have prompted frequent beach closings at the Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore, which is near the place where Little Calumet River flows into Lake Michigan.

In May 1997, Oak Tree Village connected to the City of Portage sewer system and stopped discharging pollutants into Salt Creek. Burns Harbor Estates has made improvements to its wastewater treatment plant and is currently in compliance with its permit requirements.

For the past several years, EPA has been working with the Northwest Indiana Interagency Task Force and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to protect water quality by ensuring that all facilities in the watershed comply with their discharge permits.

(Source: PR Newswire)

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