Friday, June 02, 2017

Long-Time Unresolved Public Health Issues With Aging Sewage Disposal System Forces Landlord To Shut Down Mobile Home Park; Lot-Leasing Homeowners To Get 13 Months To Move, Relocate Their Trailers; Non-Owning Renters To Be Out By June 30

In Easton, Maryland, The Star Democrat reports:
  • The owners of Talbot Trailer Park will close much of the mobile home facility, after the owners and local and state officials were unable to overcome financial and regulatory hurdles for the facility’s sewage disposal, the county council announced Friday [May 19] afternoon in a press release.

    The Talbot County Council said it had been informed by Norris E. Taylor Contractors Inc. (owners of the mobile home park) of its plan to close the majority of the park by June 30.

    Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) and local officials have been discussing options with the owners for bringing Talbot Trailer Park into compliance with state regulations concerning sewage disposal for some time, according to the county. While hoping a resolution could be found, local agencies have proactively developed a plan for how to best help residents relocate.

    “The council fully supports and will assist agencies with efforts underway in meeting the needs of the displaced residents and recognizes that this can be a very unsettling time for those involved,” Talbot County Council President Jennifer Williams said.

    Talbot Trailer Park includes 47 mobile homes, of which about 35 are occupied. Lorraine Claggett, chief operating officer for Norris E. Taylor Contractors Inc. has said Talbot Trailer Park will close by the end of June 2017, according to the county. Those residents of the park owning their own mobile home units, by law, have longer to make alternative living arrangements and have been told to remove their units from the premises by midnight June 30, 2018.

    Since the 1980s, the trailer park has been operating with an interim wastewater treatment system that has consisted of minimal biological treatment discharging septic tank effluent to a bermed infiltration pond. MDE has been working with the owners of the mobile home park for a considerable length of time trying to develop a solution to an on-going public health issue associated with the wastewater disposal system that serves Talbot Trailer Park.

    In the past five years, MDE has attempted to work with the owners of the park to develop a new wastewater treatment strategy; however, the measures that have been put into place have failed to comply with the effluent limits outlined in the facility’s discharge permit, according to the county. In the past twelve months, there have been discussions with the trailer park owners, as well as representatives from MDE, the Town of Easton, Talbot County Health Department and Talbot County government that have ranged from installing denitrifying treatment units to extending public sewer, but economics and maintaining regulatory environmental compliance have presented challenges to all the parties involved that have not been able to be overcome. The owners of the mobile home park have therefore decided to discontinue operation of the mobile home park.

    In an effort to provide assistance to the residents of the mobile home park, Dr. Fredia Wadley, health officer for Talbot County Health Department, has been meeting with Linda Webb, director of the Talbot County Department of Social Services, and Marilyn Neal, executive director of the Neighborhood Service Center, to assess housing needs for the residents.

    This includes identifying and cataloguing available rental properties and housing resources in Talbot and surrounding counties and informing residents of short term rental assistance available to them. Talbot County has worked to be a partner in attempting to develop solutions associated with Talbot Trailer Park.

    “The Talbot County Health Department and Department of Social Services began planning how we might assist residents of the trailer park when we received confirmation of the closure of the mobile home park,” Dr. Wadley said. “We stand ready to assist the residents, recognizing that relocating is never easy when low income housing is needed as part of the solution.”

    Residents are encouraged to contact the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-770-4848 for assistance.