South Nevada County Mobile home park sewage backup resurfaces
Three days after owners of a South Nevada County mobile home park received approval to expand, a “mystery” sewage backup at the existing park has resurfaced.
Acting on a positive recommendation from the Nevada County Planning Commission, Nevada County Supervisors on March 10 gave unanimous approval for a 62-unit expansion of Forest Springs Mobilehome Community, a 310-unit 55-and-over park east of Highway 49 at Lady Jane Road.
Last Friday, however, Forest Springs resident David Davidson-Methot said he returned home at about 5:30 p.m. to find sewage-line water squirting out of the pressure release valve of his unit. It was deja vu from July 2014, when a sewage backup at neighbor Sherri Hawley’s unit forced her to move out, he said.
“It was the same thing as nine months ago,” Davidson-Methot said. Hawley, whose mobile home is on a slightly lower elevation from Davidson-Methot’s, has filed a lawsuit against the mobile home community in Nevada County Superior Court over the backup last July.
“They’re increasing in size, but they’re not doing anything about this,” said Hawley, 60, a phlebotomist at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.
She contends the park is to blame for a faulty sewage connection at her unit, a claim the park management denies.
“It’s a mystery that it happened to her,” said Alan Kilborn, general manager of Forest Springs. He said the community has only had problems at two locations since 2008 — one at another site in the Phase 1 portion of the park, and the other at Hawley’s unit, twice.
“I’m not convinced it was an incident,” Kilborn said.
“We do not have a defunct system,” he added. “It’s up and working well.”
He said he had no explanation for how the blockage may have traveled up to Davidson-Methot’s unit, and not caused serious damage at Hawley’s.
He said it only left “two cups of water” in Hawley’s toilet area and a “1-foot-diameter” puddle in the shower/bathtub.
Hawley disputes that description, saying that the sewage effluent was present in numerous spots.
“There was toilet paper all over the driveway,” she added.
Kilborn, however, said a plumber ran a “snake” 60 to 80 feet out from Hawley’s sewage line Friday and “he didn’t find anything.”
He said the “snake” may have pushed out a blockage in Hawley’s line. In that case, he said, the park is not responsible, since each homeowner is responsible for their sewer line that extends from the main pipe to the home.
“We’re responsible for the main sewage line,” Kilborn said. “We take our responsibility for the sewer system very seriously.”
According to Davidson-Methot, the plumber said he hit something “hard,” but when he removed the “snake,” there was nothing attached.
“It may have been a tree root,” Davidson-Methot said. His unit did not get any sewage water inside, he said.
According to Kilborn, he found it “suspicious” that Hawley’s sewage pressure release valve cap, which had been left unscrewed after the first incident, had been re-screwed and tightened. It was supposed to have been left open, he said.
“I’m miffed at the moment,” he said. “Things aren’t adding up.”
Davidson-Methot said he had no idea who had re-attached the valve cap. He said Hawley had not been at the site and he was not aware of any other visitors.
Forest Springs Mobilehome Community owner Robb Tucker, of Forest Springs LLC, said Hawley’s case has been turned over to the park’s insurance company. He, like Kilborn, has said it’s an isolated incident confined to Hawley’s unit — a contention that Hawley denies.
Hawley’s attorney, Craig Diamond of Grass Valley, said he has been in touch with the park’s insurance company, but so far there has been no resolution.
A case management conference is set for 9 a.m. April 20 in Nevada County Superior Court.
To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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