BY LINDA BENTLEY | JUNE 23, 2010
Petite Acres issued Notice of Violation for water supply issues
The water supply system shall be designed … to satisfy a supply of at least six fixture units at a residual pressure of at least 20 PSI at each trailer coach site
CAVE CREEK – Ken DePue, a tenant at Petite Acres, a small trailer park tucked behind the Circle K store between Rico Plaza and the Hideaway Bar and Grill at 6800 E. Cave Creek Road, has been complaining about the water pressure at the trailer park for over a year.
In September 2009, DePue finally filed a complaint with Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD), stating he is unable to take a shower because the trailer park has little or no water at all. He stated in his complaint that the owners were aware of the problem but nothing was being done to correct the problem.
On Sept. 11, 2009, MCESD contacted Cave Creek Utilities Manager Jessica Marlow, who responded by saying the town would check on pressures in the distribution system.
A few days later, Marlow reported the pressure at the trailer park was 52 PSI at the time of the inspection and said the town had not received any complaints from any other customers in the area.
MCESD followed up in February 2010 by installing a pressure recorder at DePue’s trailer after confirming water pressure at the meter was 52 PSI.
After approximately six days of data collection, MCESD Inspector M. Mallet reported the pressure fell below 20 PSI on at least 10 occasions, with the pressure at zero on two separate occasions on two different days.
Photos by Linda Bentley
MCESD Inspector T. Achille responded to another complaint on Feb. 25, 2010 and learned the water had been turned off at all the units because Roger Williamson from Plumbing on the Side was on-site repairing a broken pipe.
Achille subsequently spoke to the property manager, who stated water had been restored.
On March 1, Achille contacted DePue to inform him about the broken pipe and asked if the repair had corrected the low water pressure problem.
DePue told Achille it had not.
On March 5, Mallett installed a pressure recorder at DePue’s trailer to record data for one week. However, the pressure recording device did not record a whole week’s worth of data as expected and MCESD discussed installation of a new recording device.
On March 30, Mallett retrieved the pressure recorder with data obtained from March 24 through March 30, the results of which showed numerous drops below 20 PSI.
In exchange for rental payments, Arizona Revised Statutes requires landlords to provide tenants with a healthy and safe living environment.
The law specifically states a landlord must make it possible for tenants to receive running water, including hot water.
On June 11, 2010, MCESD Director John Kolman issued a “Notice of Violation and Demand for Compliance” to Darrell Hulsing, owner of Petite Acres, finding him in violation of Chapter IX, Section 4, Regulation 2, of the Maricopa County Health Code (MCHC).
The section deals specifically with water supply systems at trailer coach parks and states: “The water supply system shall be designed, constructed and maintained to satisfy a supply of at least six fixture units at a residual pressure of at least 20 PSI at each trailer coach site, in addition to the water requirements of any service building.”
Summarizing the numerous instances when the water pressure at DePue’s trailer recorded at less than 20 PSI and the two instances when it recorded at zero, Kolman detailed the corrective action Hulsing “must take” to correct the violation(s) as follows:
i. Petite Acres shall achieve full compliance of water supply provisions for trailer parks outlined in the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code and associated approval stipulations within 180 days of the effective date.
ii. Petite Acres shall submit an engineering report drafted by a currently registered Arizona professional engineer that provides assessment of Petite Acres water systems’ violation causes and a detailed plan to correct the above listed violations within 60 days of the effective date.
iii. Petite Acres shall submit engineering plan application(s) for any change or modification of water supply or sewage disposal facilities in the Petite Acres trailer coach park to the Department Subdivisions Program within 90 days of the effective date, with expedited status fees. Petite Acres and the …. Engineer shall ensure that each plan application submittal is drafted in accordance with MCHC, Chapter IX.
iv. Petite Acres shall respond to all department plan review comments within 14 days of receipt.
The notice goes on to say if Hulsing fails to correct the violations by the compliance deadline and does not request a hearing within 15 days after service of the notice, MCESD will issue a compliance order assessing a civil penalty of up to $5,000 and may take any other action against Hulsing the director deems appropriate.
DePue refers to Hulsing as a “slumlord” and says the water pressure issue is just part of the problems. While also accusing Petite Acres of knowingly renting to illegal aliens, DePue says the requirement to provide a safe and healthy environment is being ignored by Hulsing.