TALENT, Ore. – Talent’s Oak Valley residents are already facing the stress of rebuilding after the Almeda Fire. Now, those residents might have to pay an estimated $12,000 each for a new sewer system.
Oak Valley is a 55+ community in Talent that burned down in the Almeda Fire.
The Rogue Valley Sewer Services General Manager, Carl Tappert, told NBC5 this is an unfortunate case of irresponsible development.
“The sewer systems all ran through the backyards, they’re undersized pipes. It didn’t meet any public sewer standards. So when everything burned down and people want to rebuild, we don’t have any public sewer for them to connect to,” said Tappert.
Tappert said developers had originally planned in the early ’90s to build a mobile home park, but then changed it to subdivision housing. The issue is mobile home parks do their sewage through the plumbing code. While subdivision housing has to go through the RVSS and DEQ.
“With this particular project, it looks like it got built without us even knowing it about it,” said Tappert.
But when his agency and the DEQ found out about the property, they sent a letter saying the subdivision was out of compliance. The letter was sent in July 1995, yet the sewage issue was done.
“It never got corrected. How that change happened I don’t have an answer for that, I don’t know,” said Tappert.
While most of the subdivision is debris now, Tappert said his agency is finding ways to help Oak Valley residents with the cost of the new sewer system. Rogue Valley Sewer Services is meeting with its board next week about the costs. Tappert told NBC5 News depending on how damaged the pipes were during the fire, FEMA may be able to help. He also looked into various insurances seeing if the sewer costs could be paid through individual’s insurance. However, he said it depends are each policy.