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Jasper County Trailer Park Violates Clean Water Law & Evicts Res - KOAM TV 7

Jasper County Trailer Park Violates Clean Water Law & Evicts Residents

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JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI -

Sharon Mahaffey and the Mahaffey Family Trust have been found in violation of two counts of the Missouri Clean Water Law for illegally operating a wastewater treatment facility in the back of their trailer park for years.

Now they're forcing several families to move out to try and comply with the law. Many of those families we spoke with say they never saw this coming.

"We planned on living here the rest of our lives. And we were just totally shocked. We didn't know what we were going to do. Me and my mom are both handicapped and now we have to move,” says a woman who didn’t want to be identified.

Owners of Suburban Wheel Estate served eviction notices to a third of their tenants after an investigation and lawsuit by the state over violations of Missouri's Clean Water Law.

According to the lawsuit by the state Attorney General's Office and the Department of Natural Resources residents sewage is disposed into an illegal wastewater lagoon built back in the 1970s without a permit.

Neighbors we spoke with they weren't made aware of the situation until this month.

"You know it's really a big toss up game on what's going on for sure and what's not, because nobody really knows, they won't give us no straight answers,” says a man living at the trailer park who also didn’t want to be identified.

"Weird things have been going on in the park. Not moving in other trailers and stuff. And then when we found out, we figured out that they had known about this for a quite a while and we were shocked that we weren't given more of a warning,” says the woman.

The state claims the wastewater lagoon is unlined, constructed of highly permeable materials, and leaking into a tributary heading into center creek, posing a risk for pollution.

The owners must comply in sixty days, by building a new wastewater facility or connect to a city line, which would cost about a million dollars, something they say they will not do.  Other than that, owners and their attorney refused to comment for our story. And residents say they've given little answers to residents.

"Whether we get evicted or not, we're going to go ahead and move because we can't get a straight answer on what's going on. So we're not going to wait till last minute to you know find out that we're one of the ones that gets an eviction notice,” says the man.

The rest of the park uses septic tanks and has not been forced to move out. Management declined our request for an interview, but say the fate of the rest of the tenants is uncertain. All residents who received eviction notices must be moved out by January 8th at the latest.

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