Archived Story

Sanitation issues were focus in Pleasure Point decision

Published 9:54am Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dear Editor,

As many in the Lake Martin community know, on Dec. 31, 2013, Alabama Power’s lease with operators of Pleasure Point Park and Marina ended and, as the landowner, we decided not to pursue renewal.

This decision was not entered into lightly or without careful thought and deliberation with the park operator, engineers and regulators.

Our decision is based on what is best for the Pleasure Point property, the Lake Martin community, the collective interest of all of our customers and the need to maintain our credibility with state and federal regulators.

I would like to share with you – the Lake Martin community – the issues we were forced to weigh.

On June 19, we received a Notice of Violation from the Tallapoosa Health Department informing us of the numerous and very serious sanitation issues at the park. Alabama Power was given 30 days to submit a plan of action.

The Notice of Violation listed “multiple violations” of the state’s health regulations and “possible septic and grey water discharges.”  Alarmingly, the Notice of Violation concluded that as few as four septic tanks at the park, serving more than 80 structures, had been appropriately approved.  Given the large number of structures so closely packed into the park, the health department noted that viable options to bring the sewage systems into compliance were extremely limited.

Independent engineers were consulted and agreed with the health department.  In light of current health code regulations, the property is no longer suitable to maintain a mobile home park – now or in the future. As such, Alabama Power responded to the Notice of Violation by committing to the health officials that we would direct a wholesale cleanup of the property and eliminate both the widespread sanitation issues and the overuse of the property.

We are hopeful that a marina can continue to operate on the property to provide beneficial services and public access.

Beyond that, we have no plans for the remaining property. Instead, our near-term focus is squarely on the costly and time-consuming process of removing numerous illegal sewage systems.

Because we understand park occupants are upset and concerned about relocating their mobile homes, we met with occupant representatives in separate meetings in November.

We shared our concerns and our resolve to clean up the property and ensure that it would not be overused in the future.

We also explained that even if a new septic system were feasible and economical, such a plan would fail to address the proper removal of the numerous existing,  illegal sewage systems currently being used by occupants – one of the critical problems the health department outlined in the Notice of Violation.

The situation is complicated and unfortunately was forced upon Alabama Power.  Even so, Alabama Power remains committed to helping park occupants transition as easily as possible.

We have offered occupants a six-month grace period (until June 30, 2014) to remove their mobile homes and associated structures.  We have also offered tree service assistance (at our cost and through our contractors) to help occupants more easily move their mobile homes.  We are also providing dumpsters for the occupants to use as they leave the property to search for new recreational opportunities.

We hope you understand the depth of the issues Alabama Power was forced to evaluate, and agree that the decision to clean up Pleasure Point Park, while unfortunate for a few, is in the best interest of many.

 

Marshall Griffin

Alexander City/
Dadeville, Business Office Manager, Alabama Power Company

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