Catoosa Mobile Home Park To Close

Saturday, January 31st 2009, 4:45 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley, News On 6

CATOOSA, OK -- Residents of Lake Valley Mobile Home Ranch, a Catoosa mobile home park, have 5 months to find a new home because of a problem that has been going on for six years.

The state says the park's owners have stonewalled repairs to the way it treats sewage.

The state has been trying to get Lake Valley Mobile Home Ranch to change its wastewater treatment facility since at least 2002. It never happened, now residents are paying the price.

Ailene Leavell and her husband have lived there for nearly twenty years.

"We have loved it. We have never had any issues with this park," said Ailene Leavell, Lake Valley resident.

The Leavell family and all of their neighbors have until the end of June to find a new place for their home sweet home.

"I'm just devastated," said Joyce Garrison, Lake Valley resident.

The reason goes back to the park's wastewater treatment center. Public records show the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has been trying since 2002 to get the park to upgrade the treatment works facility because it discharges treated effluent, or sewage, into a tributary of the Verdigris River.

The park had previously agreed to begin construction in December 2004. It never happened.

Last week, residents learned the park's owners were shutting it down.

"That's a little disappointing to us as residents because we've received such short notice to move out," said Leavell.

Besides tending to the wastewater treatment facility, the owners of Lake Valley are required to monitor the quality of the wastewater every month. The DEQ says they've simply stopped doing that.

"Oh I didn't know that. I don't know a lot of that stuff," said Garrison.

The office was closed Saturday morning and no one answered the door when a News On 6 crew stopped by. But in the letter to residents, Mike and Johnie Neely said the project would cost $1.5 million, cost $100,000 every year to maintain and that it's not feasible to keep the business operating.

"I just know I've been here sixteen years and I have a lot of health problems and I'm just concerned what's going to happen to this little community," said Garrison.

The DEQ says it's not forcing the park to close, it's just making sure they follow the rules.

A message left with the owners of the park has not been returned.