Legal Action to be Taken Against Powdertown Residents

Written by on November 14, 2018

At the Lee County Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday a motion was approved for the County Attorney to proceed with legal action against the residents of Powdertown who have yet to install new sanitary sewer systems.

Rosa Haukedahl from the Lee County Health Department said that even after the idea for legal action was presented at least week’s meeting, she has still not heard from the remaining residents about their plans.

“Nothing has changed since last week, so we are where we were before with the seven or eight injunctions to be filed,” Haukedahl said.

There are eight residences that have not installed the new systems at this point or have not received a permit to install a system, one of which is vacant as the owner has recently died.

Supervisor Matt Pflug expressed a sentiment that was shared by supervisor Don Hunold the previous week that the remaining residents have had more than enough time to install the system.

“Again, you know they’ve had ample time to resolve this. This started back in (2016),” Pflug said

Pflug went on to say while a lot of progress has been made, eight residences are left from the original 38, the county has been served by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and if the necessary progress is not made, the county will be fined.

This fine will also not be a one-time thing, but will happen every day the systems are not updated. It would also then have to come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

Haukedahl said her department has done everything they can and the injunctions are the next logical step.

The injunctions have not been written up at this point, but Haukedahl said the wording will be up to the County Attorney’s Office.

There have been two other injunctions filed in the past against some of the residents and the systems were installed quickly afterwards. Haukedahl said this is what they are hoping for here too.

“So, we are hoping for the same outcome. You know, again, our intention is not to remove people form their homes, but we have a job that we need to complete,” Haukedahl said.

Supervisor Ron Fedler also expressed the same thought that this is not something the Board wants to do, but has to.

“This is not a decision that’s reached lightly. We’ve been discussing this for quite a few years and the DNR is aware of the situation ,” Fedler said. “At some point DNR could fine the county and that is why we have to do this.”

Weather will impact the timeline for system installations and it was said they would be able to give the residents until the spring time to begin the work, but they need to come in and apply for the permit.

“If they come to our offices, if they come to me, we are still seeking solutions outside of the court. That is our first course of action. If someone were to come to me this week, that is one less injunction that we need to file,” Haukedahl said.  

Haukedahl said it is time to go with the legal action because everyone who would listen has already done the work.

“The ones who are willing to comply or are able to comply have done so already. What we have remaining are the ones that are basically waiting for the county to do something,” Haukedahl said.

The story is still developing and we will have more coverage of it as it progresses. 

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