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U.S. EPA orders Coachella Valley mobile home owners to comply with drinking water, waste requirements


LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has ordered Coachella Valley mobile home owners Scott Lawson and Harvey Duro to comply with federal drinking water and waste requirements.

The Oasis Mobile Home Park, Indian Village Mobile Home Park, and Desert Mobile Home Park provide housing for several thousand residents and are located on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation in the Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs, California.

The EPA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have recently stepped up efforts to insure human health and environmental protection at mobile home parks located in the area. In July, the Bureau of Indian Affairs conducted an emergency inspection of the Desert Mobile Home Park. In August, the EPA and the BIA conducted joint health and safety assessments of three additional mobile home parks on the reservation.

“These actions will help insure the health and safety of residents living in these trailer parks,” said Jeff Scott, EPA’s Director for the Communities and Ecosystems Division in the Pacific Southwest region.

Today’s announcement is the result of inspections conducted over the previous year, and includes penalties for failure to adequately monitor drinking water supplies and improper handling and disposal of household garbage, hazardous waste, lead-acid batteries, used oil, and electronic equipment.

Under the terms of these settlements, Scott Lawson, who operates the Oasis and Indian Village Mobile Home Parks, will:

o pay a total of $32,325 in penalties for waste and drinking water violations,
o properly dispose of all remaining open dump waste;
o arrange for weekly garbage pickup to prevent open dumping;
o establish a waste management plan;
o distribute a residential waste management fact sheet on how to properly dispose of used oil, lead acid batteries, electronics and tires.
o Mr. Lawson has already taken several actions to improve conditions in the parks, such as hiring a full time, certified water operator.

Harvey Duro and Desert Mobile Home Park will pay $1,525.00 in penalties, conduct a one-day waste collection event at his mobile home park, and establish a waste management plan with residents.

Within the next three months, the Desert Mobile Home Park will host a one-day waste collection event open to the public. Prior to the event – expected to cost $5,000 - Harvey Duro and Desert Mobile Home Park will notify the Torres Martinez tribe and post flyers in the community. Wastes to be collected at the event include batteries, white goods (washers, dryers, refrigerators and the like), computers and monitors, microwaves, televisions, and used oil.

In addition, Harvey Duro and Desert Mobile Home Park agreed to:

o arrange for a weekly garbage pick up from the park;
o develop a waste management plan for used oil, lead-acid batteries, and electronic devices; and
o distribute a fact sheet to a park residents outlining how and where to dispose of waste material.

The EPA will continue to provide technical assistance to trailer park owners on the Reservation, to ensure that residents are provided with a safe and healthy environment. “Over the next few weeks EPA and the BIA will be meeting with trailer park owners to provide guidance on fire and electrical safety, public health protection, wastewater treatment, and other actions needed to protect park residents,” said Jeff Scott.

In November, the EPA will join the Torres Martinez Tribe and 25 state, federal, and local agencies to provide a public progress report on efforts to reduce open dumping and burning on the reservation and surrounding area. The report will be provided from 1:30 – 2:45 at the Torres Martinez Tribal Hall, 66-725 Martinez Road near Thermal, California.


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