CWC approves funding for Arkville park's septic issue

By Joe Moskowitz
The owner of an Arkville mobile home park, who is accruing fines at the rate of $250 a day in connection with the park’s failed septic system, will probably not have to pay those fines. And, he is going to receive thousands of dollars from the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) in previously denied help to solve the park’s septic issues.

Arkville resident and mobile home park owner Richard Gulde has been battling the Town of Middletown, and the City and State of New York for years, ever since he purchased Carlson’s Trailer Park located in Arkville. By his own admission, the park has been plagued with an inadequate septic system and problems existed when he bought it.

Facing stiff fines
Last September, after his repeated refusals to bring the system up to code, Gulde was ordered by Town of Middletown Judge Gary Rosa to fix the system or start paying the fines. Gulde, who said he was financially unable to remedy the situation, contended that if the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) provides septic repair help for other small businesses, then his business, a trailer park, should also qualify for their help.

At the time, the CWC said that it wasn’t its policy to provide septic repair help to commercial real estate. Gulde then appealed to the CWC to change its policy and according to CWC corporate counsel, Timothy Cox, that’s exactly what they did during their last board meeting. The 1996 watershed agreement specifically denied funding to commercial real estate developments, including mobile home parks.

Mobile home parks excluded
In 2007 the rules were changed to allow funding for small businesses, but again mobile home parks were excluded. On July 2, in response to a request by Gulde and his attorneys, the CWC Board of Directors met and changed their rules to allow the corporation to fund septic repair to licensed mobile home parks that are within 250 feet of a watercourse. About 20 such facilities exist in the watershed, 15 in Delaware County.
The Carlson Trailer Park, because it is within 250 feet of a watercourse, the combined Dry Brook and Bushkill streams, now qualifies for CWC assistance.
Cox says the existing septic system will be decommissioned and the park will be connected to sewer mains and the waste will be treated at the New York City owned and operated Margaretville wastewater treatment plant.
Cox says the CWC will reimburse Gulde for 75 percent of the costs, or up to $40,000. The work is being done by Cowan Excavating of Roxbury.
Middletown Code Enforcement Officer Pat Davis says the fines, which haven’t been paid, are still piling up, but he says that if the system is brought into compliance, the town will probably not make Gulde pay. But, Davis says, Gulde might have to reimburse the town for its legal expenses. Davis says that would not be a great deal of money.