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Old 07-09-2015, 01:48 PM   #1
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Clean up fee $3,200?

Last month I was staying in a small RV park just overnight. In the morning I dumped my black tank that was full. About five minutes in to the process I smelled sewer. Looked around and at the rear of the campsite there was my raw sewage flowing out of some clean out in the ground. I let the office know and about ten minutes later the fire department showed up and put on haz mat suits with all sorts of clean up materials. It was quite the scene and you should have seen the looks I was getting. After the clean up, about two hours, I was on my way.
Today I get a bill for $3,277 for clean up and citation for illegal discharge of sewage. I called the park and they know nothing and strangely have no record of the incident. Then I called the county and they just have my name only as listed on their report as the responsible party. The county person was not helpful or understanding in any way, rude would be a better description.

What's my next step?
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:52 PM   #2
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Not a lawyer, but without pictures, names of witnesses and campground employees, I would say your next step is get out your checkbook.
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:57 PM   #3
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Why should the OP have to pay anything? If he connected his hose to the park's septic system, how is it his fault that the park had a problem?
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:14 PM   #4
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Why should the OP have to pay anything? If he connected his hose to the park's septic system, how is it his fault that the park had a problem?
Agreed. CG responsibility. County only hoping you'll fork over the money. Write a letter describing the events. Have an attorney review it and forward on his letterhead disavowing any any all responsibility. Then forget about it unless you live in that state and county.
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:57 PM   #5
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I can't believe the FD responded. Anyway, I too would write the county and be specific that the spill was from the CG's plumbing, the clean out. That clean out happened to be behind the site rented to you by the CG. You may want to say you previously used the CG's sewer connection in a manner consistent with proper temporary use. Restate that you did not use, tamper with or in any other manner touch the clean out. I would also be firm in making sure they understand you were not and are not the responsible party.

The only thing that could get you is that the CG had posted restrictions on the use of the sewer hook up.
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:59 PM   #6
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Update:
Spoke with the county and they are emailing the report to me.
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:05 PM   #7
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Ouch. I have learned that ANYTIME something goes wrong, document, document, document. That's what smart phones are for.

12 years ago we were trenching for a sewer line and hit the gas line. I got a bill for $1,500 from the Gas Company to fix it. Sent them the pictures of where they mis-marked the ground. Never heard anything else about it.
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:23 PM   #8
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Sounds like the campground owner and the county clerk are relatives and are trying to hang you with the bill that the campground should be paying. As stated have your attorney write them a letter as described, I don't think you will hear anything more about it.
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Old 07-09-2015, 04:46 PM   #9
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Update 2:
I got the report. Under statements there is the campground manager stating customer discharged sewage. Then there is my statement saying exactly as I listed in my original post.
Then the fire department stated the location of the discharge to be at the rear of my motorhome from an undisclosed underground source.

I think I'm in the clear, but will have attorney review before I respond. I'm puzzled as to why I even got the notice.
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Old 07-09-2015, 04:51 PM   #10
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Even the cost sounds way out of line. We were dumping once and the sewer hose came off. I was right there, but it still spilled enough to see before I could correct the problem and stop the flow. This was in a really nice private CG and I expected for them to make a big deal out of it even though I cleaned it up the best I could. So I went to the office and let them know what happened and they sent a maintenance guy over. He sprayed bleach all over what was left of the spill, and then used a couple bags of sand over the area to dry it up. I asked him what the cost was going to be and he jokingly said "a six pack of beer". I ran to the CG store and grabbed him a 12 pack(all they had) and gave it to him. He was embarrassed and wouldn't take it at first, but eventually did. I would bet at the very least the bill could be limited to cost of supplies used(right now the bill is including the FD response and time), and billed to the CG and not you.
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Old 07-09-2015, 05:58 PM   #11
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Call the county health department that the cg resides in as this is UNSAFE UNDER ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

You followed proper procedures with industry standard equipment installed by certified folks (mh factory) so the failure of sanitary equipment located at the campground could have CAUSED YOU HARM and you need to know who to serve papers if not corrected and you notified of correction completed.

Go on offense...
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:14 PM   #12
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Call the county health department that the cg resides in as this is UNSAFE UNDER ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

You followed proper procedures with industry standard equipment installed by certified folks (mh factory) so the failure of sanitary equipment located at the campground could have CAUSED YOU HARM and you need to know who to serve papers if not corrected and you notified of correction completed.

Go on offense...
I totally agree with this, what a joke this whole story is. You dump where you are supposed to and they have sewers that back up out of clean outs and then they call haz mat and the fire dept. and then serve you papers of some ridiculous clean up fee. I would be on the offensive on this one big time.
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Old 07-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #13
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Clean up fee $3,200?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winepress View Post
Update 2:
I got the report. Under statements there is the campground manager stating customer discharged sewage. Then there is my statement saying exactly as I listed in my original post.
Then the fire department stated the location of the discharge to be at the rear of my motorhome from an undisclosed underground source.

I think I'm in the clear, but will have attorney review before I respond. I'm puzzled as to why I even got the notice.

Your last statement bothers me. I don't see you in the clear yet at all. CG manager says Mr Winepress discharged that sewage. Mr Winepress says I discharged sewage down the pipe. FD says we showed up after the fact and there was sewage from an unknown source all over the ground behind Mr Winepress's MH. County says it looks like it's Winepress's fault, let's send him the bill.

And that's where it stands. Nothing is resolved, and according to the only official documents extant, the county has assigned responsibility to Winepress, and the bill is due.

I would not communicate personally any further. Have your lawyer do it, on his letterhead, in his language. Get pics of the CG sewer connection at your site, and of the cleanout protruding above ground behind your site. He can turn the situation around and put them on the defensive. That is imperative, and you, in all likelihood, won't accomplish that.

A sewage spill can be a serious business, and you're never more than a couple of steps away from having the EPA involved. And the last thing you need is to have a Fed on your back.


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Old 07-09-2015, 11:39 PM   #14
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I am sure your lawyer will ask for proof that it was your sewage as the report indicates it was from an undisclosed source
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