published Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Septic tank issues prompt evictions at Alabama marina

DADEVILLE, Ala. — Dozens of families living on property owned by Alabama Power in Tallapoosa County have been given six months to find new places to live.

Alabama Power is closing Pleasure Point Park and Marina on Lake Martin because of issues pointed out by the Tallapoosa County Health Department over the summer.

The agency cited the property for 19 violations, including possible septic tank failures and wastewater discharge.

In a letter to Alabama Power, health officials said there were an excessive number of unpermitted and illegal septic systems being used on the property. There are between 70 and 80 residential units on the property.

Some residents have said they suspect the utility plans to deal with issues related to the septic tanks before selling the land. Alabama Power officials say that's no the case.

"We have no plans for the property other than getting in and cleaning up the illegal sewage issues that are out there," Alabama Power spokesman Brandon Glover told the Montgomery Advertiser. "We hope the marina can operate, but our main concern is addressing the issues by the health department."

Glover added that the utility anticipates spending between $250,000 and $1 million to address issues with the septic tanks and is trying to help make the transition as easy as possible for marina residents.

"We're helping them by providing a Dumpster on site. If they need any tree service to help move the mobile homes, we're providing that. We're giving them six months past their lease as well so they can find accommodations at other mobile sites," he said.

Some marina residents have said they offered to help Alabama Power respond to the health department's findings and were dismissed.

"We offered to pay a five-year lease up front," William Ashley told the Opelika-Auburn News. He lives in Columbus, Ga. and bought property on the lake two years ago. "We offered every proposal to keep the park open," he said.

Joyce McKim told the Advertiser that her family moved to Lake Martin from Cordele, Ga. in 2007 to be closer to relatives who live in Alabama. Two weeks after paying off their mobile home, the McKims were given a notice from Alabama Power saying that they'd have to move.

"We sunk a lot of money into it like everyone else," McKim said. "And it's just out the window.

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