Trailer Park criticized at meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Residents of Cahaba Park West said they are literally sick.

The mobile home park, which is home to over 150 families, has become an issue of concern for them.

“We’ve been experiencing a lot of problems in that area, but our main concern is the sewage and septic system,” said Alvin Bryant. “We want to try to get as much support behind us as we can. We need to be living in a clean, safe environment.”

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Bryant, and other residents of the park came before the Dallas County Commission Monday to seek help for these problems.

“I don’t have a pump in my septic tank, so when it comes out of my house, it literally sits in my yard,” said Bridget Nichols.

Nichols, who has a two year old daughter and is expecting another child, said that she has a sickness that she can’t get over, despite taking antibiotics.

In addition to Nichols, other tenants have experienced unexplained rashes, diarrhea, stomach aches, and high temperatures that they attribute to being exposed to the raw sewage.

“Some of the tenants have sewage come into the bathrooms when they flush,” said Teresa Pitts.

“Basically everywhere you step that it wet, is sewage,” said Natasha Brown. “The sewage lines have probably busted because the ground is soft.”

In addition, Brown said that a lagoon that is roughly the size of a football field is located in the back of the park. Raw sewage from the homes runs directly into this lagoon.

“It fills up, runs over, and runs out into the park,” she said

“This child, Brown said, pointing toward her daughter Myracle Mitchell, played in it, thinking it was a pond.”

She said that after playing in the lagoon last year, her daughter became very ill.

“She was in the hospital here and the Birmingham Children’s Hospital,” Brown said. “She had a fever of 104 degrees for two weeks and they could not break it. As a result, she has a leaking heart valve.”

Residents said that there is no sign posted around the lagoon and only recently, a fence was put up to keep people out.

“I even got samples of the water and took it to doctors, but I have not heard anything,” Brown said.

“We have serious problems, but can’t seem to get help from the management there,” Bryant said. “We’ve tried on numerous occasions to find out who the owners are, but get the run around. The bottom line is we pay too much to get the type of service that we do.”

“We’ll try to help you get to the right place, and the right people,” said Judge Johnny Jones, who suggested that they contact the Health Department’s Environmental Health office.

“I went out there and I looked at this with my own eyes,” said Commissioner Kim Ballard. “You all are not lying.”

“It’s private property and it’s out of our jurisdiction, but we will do anything that we can to assist these residents,” Ballard said. “We do have an obligation to protect the health and welfare of people through the health department. If it is not in compliance, it’s nothing that we have control of.”

“I’m satisfied (with the results of the commissioner’s meeting),” Brown said. “They showed much concern and I really feel that they are on our side. I know that they will help us because it’s unfair. They’re here to serve and I think that they are going to do their job.”