Dallas mobile home park failed to maintain water system, lawsuit says

Tim Harris has become accustomed to water outages at the Donna-Lynn mobile home park where he lives. He learned to keep gallons of water handy in case of a breakdown.

“I feel sorry for people who have kids and stuff, because they’re having a hell of a time,” he said. “I have to fetch water to flush the toilets and everything.”

Harris said the water ran for a while, but then stopped randomly. He says he last lost water maybe a month ago.

“It’s good water when it’s on,” he said.

The Donna-Lynn Mobile Home Park, located south of Dallas near the intersection of Hardin Road and US 321 Business, is the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Department of Environmental Quality of North Carolina, which alleges that the owner of the mobile home park, The Carter Land Co., has failed to properly maintain the water system for the past several years.

The lawsuit, which was filed April 18 in Gaston County Superior Court, alleges that in March 2019, a health investigation by the Water Resources Division, a division within the DEQ, found six violations of the standards that require the maintenance of water systems. according to approved engineering plans.

An automatic air-water volume control unit in a tank associated with a well was not functional; The piping connecting the main pipe of one well to the piping of the second well had been disconnected; a 2-inch gate valve, which previously served to connect the piping associated with a well to the water discharge piping, had been removed; A meter had been removed; a vent pipe installed in a well did not have a downward-facing screened opening; Piping previously used to connect a meter associated with a well to piping that emerges from a sanitary joint was replaced with polyethylene pipe, according to the lawsuit.

The Water Resources Division issued a notice to Carter Land citing the violations and directing them to take action by May 24, 2019. On October 2, 2019, the Water Resources Division surrendered again and a found that the violations found in March had not been resolved, except for a monitoring plan that was provided, the lawsuit says.

On September 21, 2020, residents of the mobile home park told Austin Pegues, an environmental engineer with the Division of Water Resources, that they had been without water for two days.

An emergency contact told Pegues that someone had broken into the well house and vandalized one of the wells.

Pegues visited the site and in the following days stayed in contact with those involved in operating the water system, according to the lawsuit.

In October 2020, the state sanctioned Carter Land for the violations alleged in March 2019.

In August 2021, nearly a year later, Pegues and Clinton Cook, a regional supervisor, conducted another health survey of the system and found that five of the six issues had not been resolved, according to the lawsuit. They also noticed an additional violation that they hadn’t noticed before: an old hydro-pneumatic tank on the north side of the well associated with one of the wells was connected to the water system. The tank serves no purpose and presents an ongoing source of potential contamination, according to the lawsuit.

On December 21, 2021, the state issued another Notice of Violation and reissued the same Notice on March 7, 2022.

“Continued operation of the water system in a manner inconsistent with approved plans and in violation of regulatory requirements makes the system more susceptible to failure, which increases the risk of pressure loss events,” the report says. court case.

The state is aware of six pressure loss events in the past three years, and periods of low or no pressure increase the potential for introducing contaminants into the system, the lawsuit says.

During these times, residents are advised to boil all water they intend to drink or use bottled water.

Carter Land’s corporate charter was suspended by the North Carolina Secretary of State on October 10, 2010, “for failure to comply with Department of Revenue requirements,” the lawsuit said. Until his suspension in 2010, William H. Carter was listed in annual reports dating back to 2004 as the chairman and sole officer of Carter Land.

Carter Land was also administratively dissolved by the North Carolina secretary of state on July 21, 2011, for failure to submit an annual return, according to the lawsuit.

Although it has been over 11 years since Carter Land’s charter was suspended, Carter Land still owns the property where the water system is located. They are also believed to own more than two dozen plots in Catawba County, three plots in Iredell County, and one property in Watauga County.

William Carter was personally present on at least one site visit with the Water Resources Division, according to the lawsuit.

Carter did not respond to a phone message left on his company phone.

His Linked In page still lists him as the owner of The Carter Land Co.

Journalist Kara Fohner can be reached at 704-869-1850 or kfohner@gannett.com. Support local journalism by signing up here.

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