Manufactured Home Community Suffers Setback

Resident Jim Ott reviews damage. Credit: News Tribune.

In Puyallup, Washington, the stereotypes surrounding manufactured versus site built housing are playing out in a less than ideal way.

Literally, it stinks.

Residents of Elmwood Mobile Manor watched a new neighborhood come together, dubbed Stewart Crossing, and they thought it would be a great addition. Little did they know that it would create major issues with water.

According to the News Tribune, residents say that, due to federal flood-prevention requirements, the developer of Stewart Crossing raised the ground level between three and four feet. Now the community is the lowest spot in the immediate neighborhood and it threatens to make their homes uninhabitable.

Due to the raising, several homes’ septic systems have failed, drinking water may be contaminated and areas flood when it rains.

For Jesus Arvilla’s and his family, it’s coming to them using a porta-potty because their septic tank failed.

Every time they pumped it, it would fill with water five minutes later,” said Arvilla.

Jesus Arvilla outside of his home. Credit: News Tribune.

When we want to take a shower, we have to go to my auntie’s house.”

That water has largely saturated the community’s septic system drain fields, and filled some septic tanks. That means that sewage has no place to go.

They elevated the land all around us,” said resident Eli Berniker. “Because they elevated it, the water in our park [sic] is raised. And it’s causing a problem with our septic tanks because they can’t drain properly.

Residents say that they have spent more than $80,000 trying to solve the problem, by creating a new drainage mound on what was formerly the park’s guest parking lot. That system handles the sewage from two homes and possibly has capacity for a third. But the community has no money and no land to expand the new system.

Other neighbors of the Stewart Crossing development have also complained, and took those complaints to a city council meeting last week.

We all know we have a problem,” said David Toomey, owner of Toomey Auto Electric.

I have two questions: What the hell are you going to do about it? And how soon are you going to do it?

The council removed the approval of the Stewart Crossing plats from the agenda and asked the city’s engineers to come up with a solution.

Kurt Wilson, owner of Stewart Crossing, said that he is sympathetic to Elmwood residents and would work with them to solve the problem. Wilson also believes that exceptionally heavy rains have not helped.

Twelve months’ worth of rain in four months,” said Wilson.

The park’s [sic] septic systems are old and don’t meet modern codes. Stewart Crossing has followed city rules to the letter.

Lance Gauthum pumps a septic tank at Elmwood, while talking to Jim Ott. Credit: New Tribune.

Puyallup Mayor John Hopkins said that the city, residents and developer are all working hard on a solution, which includes bringing in a specialist.

Our engineers aren’t groundwater experts, so we’re asking an expert to tell us what’s wrong,” said Hopkins.

Wilson and the city worked last weekend to pump out residents’ septic tanks in an effort to buy time.

One of those septic systems, which served two homes, failed during the pumping.

Elmwood resident James Ott summed up the situation.

We’re being run out of town without a gun,” said Ott.We need to put our thinking caps on now how to fix this solution.” ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)


RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


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