State of Ky. wants to make sure water is safe for mobile home residents

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 20, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 20 at 6:53 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- After an iTeam investigation about disgruntled residents at a mobile home park, called Autumn Lake Point, the state of Kentucky wants to make sure the water is safe for those residents.

The parks owners told WHAS11 News water use in the park was out of hand so they started metering individual homes and billing residents for the water.

The pressure has been mounting at Autumn Lake Point to reduce the amount of water flowing into the park. 

"This is an environmental issue for us to. It's a lot of water, it's a lot of water," Nathan Smith, SSK Communities Owner, said.

Over the last 32 months Autumn Lake Point's monthly water bills have ranged from $14,000 to $47,000 per month. The owners, SSK Communities, have passed on much of the cost to its residents.   

Smith said his new system works and metering for water has greatly reduced the amount of water used. But it comes with a cost.

"You pay for the meter, you pay for the reading, you pay for the mailing, you pay for the program. I mean you basically are running a small water company," Smith said.

What Smith might not have known is that by billing and metering individual customers at Autumn Lake Point is like acting as a public water system. According to the Division of Water a permit is required to do this.  The Division of Water said that SSK Communities does not have one.

"Anybody who operates any kind of a water system has to do that with oversight from the Division of Water,” Andrew Melynkovych, Kentucky Public Service Commission, said.

Melnykovych said Autumn Lake Point is a public water system, and not a utility, so it can charge residents whatever it wants for water. But it needs a permit from the Division of Water to do so.

Autumn Lake Point resident Ginny Chappell has been worried for some time. Documenting leaks and pressure problems, along with other resident complaints, has earned Chappell a non renewal letter from SSK Communities.

She also occasionally has an off-duty officer outside of her home; she said the park has paid for that to keep her in line.

"You and I both know it's retaliation. They are not happy with the stuff that I have made public," Chappell said.

SSK agreed to spend $1,700 of its money to move Chappell and her mother's trailer to another park. Chappell agreed, but then discovered with plumbing electric and additional cost the move would still cost her $1,500.

"I don't have that kind of money so I'm kind of stuck which I have found that to be very common lately," Chappell said.

WHAS11 called and left messages with SSK Communities’ Nathan Smith several times over the last couple of days to get his comment on not having a permit with the Division of Water and so far he has not called back.

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