Owner Downsizes RV Park to Comply with Law
Thomas Peckham’s fight with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ended.
At least for now.
The owner of Moon Meadows Campground near Erie, Pa., has downsized his facility to avoid having to make extensive changes to its water system, the Erie Times-News reported.
“The DEP can’t regulate anything that has less than 15 water hookups and serves fewer than 25 people, so that’s what we did,” Peckham said.
A DEP inspector found in October that the Greenfield Township campground’s water system violated the state’s Safe Drinking Water Act.
It also had been operating without a public water system permit, which is required for any facility that has 15 or more water connections or serves 25 or more permanent residents.
One of campground’s wells was drilled and connected to the water system without DEP approval, while another well was located less than 100 feet from an on-lot sewage tank and drainage field.
DEP officials ordered Peckham to bring the water system into compliance or close the facility.
Peckham decided not to dig another well or make other changes to his water system. Instead he reduced the campground’s water connections from 60 to 14, so that it didn’t require a public water system permit.
“I wasn’t going to make all those changes,” Peckham said. “The system has been operational for decades. I can’t change the leach field, and it’s downhill from the well, anyway.”
DEP inspectors visited Moon Meadows on Thursday (Nov. 4), said DEP spokeswoman Freda Tarbell.
“They determined that Mr. Peckham was not operating as a public water supply,” Tarbell said. “He had brought the system below the regulatory threshold of 15 connections and 25 people.”
Peckham eventually wants to increase the number of people who can stay at his campground, which is located off Station Road-Route 430, just west of Colt Station.
One way he plans to accomplish that is to sell part of the property. A new owner should be permitted to make up to 14 more connections to the water system, Peckham said.
“Plus selling the property would generate some revenue,” Peckham said. “I lost $100,000 or more this year because of all this.”
The problems at Moon Meadows began in June 2009 when an Erie County Department of Health inspector found puddles of raw sewage at the campground and substandard septic work done without a required permit.
Peckham refused to make improvements. Erie County Judge Shad Connelly eventually sent him to the Erie County Prison on July 28 on a civil contempt charge for failing to close the campground or make the improvements. Connelly allowed the campground to reopen in early September.