BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MONTROSE – Lee County Supervisors have put remaining Mooar/Powdertown residents on notice their patience is running thin on getting septic systems in place.
After Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Rosa Haukedahl, program director for the Lee County Environmental Services, said there are nine more residents in the township that have yet to take remediation steps to obtain a permitted septic system.
A program was started in 2016 to get 38 homeowners with unpermitted septic systems to have upgraded or new systems installed. The effort began when the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told Lee County that Chatfield Lake, located in the township, was contaminated and had to be cleaned up. DNR officials at one point threatened the county with fines of up to $25,000 per day if efforts weren’t undertaken to get the district and lake cleaned up.
In November, Haukedahl updated the board and said 18 were still out of compliance. On Tuesday that number had been cut in half.
Former Lee County Attorney Mike Short sent letters out in 2015, according to Haukedahl, warning residents that the county could take legal measures to make the residents comply or face penalties up to and including removal from their homes to clean up the lake.
Board Chairman Don Hunold said the residents have had three years to comply and at some point the county will have to take action in accordance with the letter and further communication from the health department.
Haukedahl said several other residents outside the nine outstanding are still in the process of getting systems in place, but they are working with the county.
“We’d rather work with them to get these systems in place,” Haukedahl said. “But they have to come to us and start the process.”
She said the DNR has been happy with the progress of the county per her last update to them in November.