Trailer Park Arsenic

The owner of the Sage Trailer Park in Mustang was given 60 days to install arsenic filtration systems for tenants under an order issued by Washoe County commissioners.

County officials said failure to comply could force the closure of the park east of Reno.

Owner Pat Mylan said he will borrow money to install the systems to remove arsenic from drinking water. Several tenants also said they are willing to help with the cost.

The park has 18 mobile home tenants who pay $310 per month. Health officials said arsenic removal is not required for 16 travel trailer spaces.

The park's certified well operator said he has found individual filtration units available for $400 each and a plumbing company to install them.

Installing larger systems for the park's two wells would cost about $140,000.

Rick Reighley, an engineer with the Washoe District Health Department, on Tuesday said the department will accept the filtering units as long as the certified well operator's verified test results show the arsenic is being removed.

Mylan has owned the park behind his Mustang Station bar since 1963. Bob Sack, director of the district environmental health division, said the park has been operating without a valid health department permit since April of last year.

"We've come to the end of our rope on options to get Mylan to bring this water system up to code," Sack said.

Health officials said the health and safety of the park tenants who use the well water are at risk. Long-term exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in water can cause cancer or liver damage.

In January 2006, the federal standard for arsenic in drinking water was lowered from .05 milligrams per liter to .01 milligrams per liter.

The park's water system has an arsenic content of .028 milligrams per liter.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)