Some residents in Georgetown want the failing sewage treatment plants at a mobile home park to continue operating, despite a recent study suggesting that the plants are polluting water in Scott County. The caveat: The sewage plants must be fixed as soon as possible.
The Kentucky Division of Water held a public meeting in Frankfort on Wednesday to collect public input on whether to grant or deny a permit for Georgetown Mobile Estates, located on the Scott-Fayette County line, to continue operating its two sewage plants. The public hearing comes after a preliminary study, released earlier this summer, that suggests high levels of E. coli bacteria were found in Cane Run Creek and the E. coli was coming from sewage discharge from Georgetown Mobile Estates.
But that’s not the only problem coming from the treatment plants.
“The smell is unbearable,” said Christina Griffin, a resident of Georgetown Mobile Estates who has lived there for more than 20 years. “If there’s very hot days when you go outside, it will literally lift your stomach. That’s how bad it is.”
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Georgetown and Scott County officials have been vocal about solutions. One plan calls for $3.5 to $4 million to be spent installing a pump station and a 1.6 mile-long sewer line to Georgetown Municipal Water and Sewer Service’s nearest service point. Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather said the Georgetown City Council, Scott County Fiscal Court and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government have already budgeted money to fix the problem.
“The infrastructure within Georgetown Mobile Estates requires significant improvements,” Prather said.
Prather also called for the full release of the study, which was authored by Third Rock Consultants.
“For any of us to be making a decision about this issue with the absence of the latest, most detailed data available, I think would ... be a mistake,” he said.
If the sewage discharge permit was extended, it needs to come with the condition that the park’s owners must commit to improving the sewage system in the park, he said.
If the Kentucky Division of Water rejects the sewer discharge permit, it could result in the trailer park closing and its residents being forced to leave. Georgetown officials estimate that 2,000 people live there.
Griffin said the park’s residents were uneasy about the possible closure.
“Where are we all going to go,” she asked. “None of us have the money to relocate. There is no place to relocate.”
The mobile home park is owned by COMM 2013-CCRE8 101 Dale Drive, LLC, which is managed by Midland Loan Services, a subsidiary of PNC Bank, according to Kentucky Business records and Scott County property records. It was formerly owned by Daniel Sexton, who is currently serving nine years in jail for bank fraud and was ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution.
Blaine Early, an attorney with Stites & Harbison who represents the mobile home park, said the process to fix the pollution in the park has been ongoing following Sexton’s removal as owner.
“The owner is committed to addressing these environmental issues,” he said, adding that the Kentucky Division of Water should allow the sewage package plants to operate.
Most Georgetown residents get drinking water from the Royal Spring aquifer, which is underground. The sewage package plants discharge into an unnamed tributary of Cane Run Creek. There is some dispute as to whether the pollution affects the Royal Spring aquifer. The City of Georgetown has previously stated the tributary eventually feeds into the city’s water supply, while the Kentucky Division of Water and attorneys representing the trailer park have said it does not.
The Kentucky Division of Water said it typically takes six to eight weeks for permits to be granted or rejected after the public comment window.