Owner promises water filter fix at Forest Lawn by next week

·3 min read

The owner of the Forest Lawn mobile home park is promising to install a new filter for the park’s water system by next week.

Northern Health has told residents not to use the water after a reported equipment malfunction and concerns about bacterial contamination. Park owner Peter Wang says a water filtration will be installed by Nov. 9 to remove high levels of manganese from the water that make it unsafe for consumption.

“It’s not good for the entire system, but you can drink it,” said Wang.

Residents have said their water issues started more than six months ago, after the park was sold and its water operator fired last year. Wang says the allegations are not true, and that the operator was fired in mid-October, with a new operator being hired.

“There was no problem until last week, October 23, to be exact,” said Wang. “We’ve always had a water operator.”

The previous operator has since been rehired on a temporary basis and will assist with the repairs, Wang said.

“No. It’s not a good time to look at it now,” said Wang when asked for a tour of the park’s water facilities. “On Monday we cleaned the water tank and took care of the hot water.”

Northern Health initially issued a boil water notice to residents, but later told them not to use the water as high manganese levels would be further concentrated by boiling the water.

Roughly 150 people live in Forest Lawn, and residents contacted Alaska Highway News last week complaining of intermittent service and undrinkable water for the past several weeks.

Residents have resorted to taking showers at their friend’s houses, and having bottled water shipped in, and are refusing to pay their rent until the problem is fixed.

“Water is coming out of the tap in the most putrid shade of brown,” resident Sandi Rector said last week.

According to Northern Health inspection notes from Oct. 28, the park’s water system “was not properly constructed and has not been adequately maintained.”

Inspectors noted there was no qualified water operator on site, and flagged concerns about a malfunctioning filter and chlorination system, and that a cistern used for water storage “is not being regularly cleaned and sanitized as required.”

By 2021, the park owner will be required to have an assessment done on the system by a qualified water system professional, and apply for a construction permit for upgrades and changes. Upgrades must be approved by Northern Health’s Public Health Engineer before construction can begin.

“The water system operator has been given clear timelines for completing the corrective actions, starting with the requirement to repair or replace any malfunctioning equipment immediately, to prevent further interruptions to water service,” said Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins.

An Aug. 14 inspection flagged the water quality issues, but stated them to be low risk.

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News