The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said Tuesday it has issued a $56,285 penalty to Bend Oregon Investments, LLC for operating an onsite wastewater treatment system that is discharging untreated or partially treated sewage onto the ground at the Green Acres RV Park north of Bend.
DEQ officials said Richard A. Boro is the owner of Bend Oregon Investments, LLC, which owns the Green Acres RV Park at 7777 S. Highway 97 between Bend and Redmond.
DEQ said it issued the penalty because the septic sewer system at the RV park has been failing since at least December 2011, causing sewage to be discharged onto the ground.
Such discharge poses a public health hazard if people come into direct contact with the sewage, or through insects and animals that have had contact with the sewage, officials said.
Sewage is also a significant pollutant that can harm aquatic life, contaminate drinking water and impair recreational and commercial uses of water.
In addition to the penalty, DEQ issued an order requiring the company to complete repairs to the onsite system by August 22 and to continue having the septic tank pumped regularly to prevent discharges.
Bend Oregon Investments, LLC has until Thursday, August 7 to appeal the penalty.
A DEQ notice dated July 17 said Deschutes County staff, with whom DEQ contracts for such work, inspected the facility in December 2011 and found sewage discharging onto the ground near a drain field, north of the park's entry road.
The same situation was found during inspections in May 2012 and again in June of this year, and repairs had not been made, they said.
The owners are ordered to submit a long-term plan to evaluate and repair or replace all the onsite sewer (septic) systems at the park by Sept. 19.
Residents of Green Acres Park shared their reaction to the news on Tuesday.
"Well, it (the sewage) overflows from the neighbor and into my yard," said Rachel Harris, who has lived at Green Acres since February.
"It could jack our rent up -- everybody's rent up," said resident Frank Frost. "People could be forced to move."
However, residents we talked to said they are still satisfied with their living situation.
"It feels like home," said Harris. "I haven't had any issues here personally, and they treat me great."
The owners and managers declined to comment on the story.