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Lee County Taking Legal Action Against Homeowners Near Polluted Lake

Apr 7, 2019

Lee County is taking legal action against the owners of several homes near Chatfield Lake in an attempt to prevent future pollution of the lake.

The county sent letters to property owners in the unincorporated community of Mooar/Powdertown in late 2016. Those receiving the letter were told to either prove they had an adequate sewage system or to install one.

The letter followed a report that E. coli levels at Chatfield Lake were very high.

Rosa Haukedahl with the Lee County Health Department said the 2016 letter was sent to the owners of 38 homes. She said four property owners have completely ignored the letter by failing to reach out to the county.

“The word is out,” said Haukedahl. “They are aware. They know the situation. They live there. So I feel like it was their responsibility to communicate with us.”

So the county has filed requests for permanent and temporary injunctions against the owners of the four properties in question.

  • 3635 Iowa Road (Terrie Baker)
  • 3640 Iowa Road (Daniel & Kimberly Moore)
  • 3536 Lake Road (Dennis McLaughlin)
  • 3547 Lake Road (Gale Blackwell Sr.)

The county has since dismissed the injunction request against Blackwell, who passed away in 2017. Lee County Attorney Ross Braden said he was unaware of Blackwell’s death when the request was filed.

Of the remaining court filings, they state that the homeowners are contributing to the pollution of the lake because they do not have approved on-site sewage systems.

The property owners have about two weeks to respond or the court could rul against them. If that happens, no one would be able to occupy the homes until a proper system is installed. The court could also impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000/day.

This is not the first time the county has sought injunctions regarding homes near Chatfield Lake. The county sought injunctions against two families who owned a total of four properties.

Haukedahl said the four properties in question are now in compliance. She said the county could take legal action against several more property owners who have contacted the county, but have not installed a working sewage system.