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Resolution ER4-02F

Mobile Home Park Public Health Issues

January 1, 2002
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2005
Active Status:
Vote Results:

WHEREAS mobile home parks provide tenants with water and sewage distribution systems within their private lands;AND WHEREAS sewage distribution systems may deteriorate or not function properly and may allow effluent to escape the distribution system causing health concerns that effluent may actually lay on the surface where children could come in contact with it or it could come in contact with potable water sources used for human consumption;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Alberta Government to put regulations in place and provide for regular inspections of water and sewer systems operated in mobile home parks to prevent contamination of water by systems that are not operating properly;AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alberta Government provide funding to health authorities for manpower shortages and require them to respond to complaints of public health issues within 24 to 36 hours of receiving a complaint.

Member Background:

The County of Grande Prairie No. 1 has come across a situation where residents living in a mobile home park have turned to the County regarding concerns of sewage effluent pooling on the ground in a mobile home park. It has been observed that this is occurring after heavy rains when the ground is already saturated with water. Residents have indicated that complaints have been filed with the local health authority; however, there has not been timely responses to these complaints and when the health officer does get to the site, the effluent has seeped into the ground or run off site through the surface drainage systems. Over the years, other situations have also arisen where there are questionable practices regarding sewage disposal systems and the means by which sewage effluent is disposed of from some of the older mobile home parks.Although landlords are governed by the legislation provided in the Land Lord and Tenant Act and the Mobile Home Sites Tenancy Act, there is no specific regulation under these Acts or the Public Health Act that regulates the special circumstances that exist in the mobile home park rental situation as it relates to water supply and disposal of sewage. Although some issues can be dealt with under either the Housing Regulation or the Nuisance and General Sanitation Regulation, these regulations do not seem to provide enough protection for water distribution or sewage disposal in these unique rental arrangements. Another issue that is apparent is that although mobile home parks require permits from Alberta Environment to release the effluent from their lagoons, the distribution system does not require regular inspection or examination to ensure that it is functioning properly. Existing legislation does not give the Public Health Inspectors the authority to require regular sampling of water supplies managed by these types of landlord/tenant arrangements thereby ensuring that the sewage distribution systems are not adversely affecting the water supply.The County is concerned for the health and safety of the citizens who reside within the mobile home parks, especially in light of the health issues that have arose within communities across Canada (Walkerton, Ontario and North Battleford, Saskatchewan), we know that this can be a serious problem if left unchecked. Currently there is nothing that municipalities can do to assist citizens who reside in mobile home parks if there are problems with the water or sewer systems within the mobile home park.Alberta needs to develop better regulations for regular inspection of septic distribution systems within mobile home parks. There also needs to be more accountability on the part of the health authorities in their response to public health complaints relating to sewage issues. Many of Alberta’s health authorities do not have enough manpower to cover the large areas that they are responsible for and due to this manpower shortage, they are unable to investigate these public health complaints in a timely manner. The province must review funding requirements to provide for adequate manpower to the environmental health departments. The public health of the citizens of the province is at risk and it is the provinces responsibility to ensure safe living conditions for tenants of mobile home parks through the provision of legislation and the inspection agencies to watch over these public health concerns.

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