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Officials file lawsuit in Cortland MHC sewage spill

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 5:24 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 9:13 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Management of the Cortland MHC mobile home park will document how they dispose of sewage while they develop a plan to fix the failing septic system in the mobile home park, according to a court order entered Wednesday.

Cortland MHC and Mobile Management Co., which operate the park, also will ensure that all sewage is cleared from the 90-unit mobile home park's land, a neighboring cemetery and a neighboring veterinarian's office within 24 hours, court records show. Mobile Management is a corporation affiliated with Chicago-based Zeman Homes, which lists the Cortland park among its holdings on its website.

Prosecutors from the Illinois Attorney General's Office and DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office filed a lawsuit and temporary agreement Wednesday, about three weeks after county officials said they found park officials had been pumping raw sewage onto the ground. Sewage also was seeping out of the septic system from a manhole and pooling in several areas, court records show.

"This one obviously had some import to it when there's been raw sewage being dumped," Attorney General's Office spokesman Scott Mulford said. "It was a situation that needed to be dealt with."

State and local health officials have said that for weeks, raw sewage spewed onto the ground from a system attached to a failing septic tank at the park at 300 S. Somonauk Road, outside the Town of Cortland. Zeman Homes CEO Dee Pizer and Assistant Vice President Jeff Fannon did not immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

Under Wednesday's court order, Cortland MHC officials agreed to immediately stop any sewage spills in the area and to hire a licensed professional to pump sewage from the failing septic system. They will give state and county prosecutors documentation of all sewage-related work done at the park within a week, and inspect the area for sewage spills any time it rains at least a half-inch any time within 24 hours, according to the records.

Cortland MHC officials also have 45 days to give prosecutors an engineer's report on problems with the current septic system and how they are going to fix it.

Water tests showed that the sewage did not affect water at the Cortland Animal Hospital, but fecal coliform bacteria and e. coli were detected in three samples taken from standing water near the temporary sewage, the swale between the mobile home park and the veterinary office and near the veterinary office’s well.

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