North Carolina resident Ingrid Larsen is being prevented from living in a tent on her own property because she has no sewer line.
Larsen’s home was destroyed during Hurricane Ophelia in 2005 when a sewage pumping station failed, caused 10,000 gallons of human waste to flood Larsen’s home – for 10 straight hours. The sewage was so toxic that Larsen’s house became a biohazard that had to be torn down. She lost most everything she had owned.
She wants to build again on the property but wants to use a septic tank already on the property instead of the sewer. Sanitary district commissioners, though, have denied her request.
So she chose to live in a tent, although she recently received a vacate notice.
“I want to be right here on my land where I’m happy and where my heart is,” Larsen told The Star News newspaper. “When I look out here, I see my son playing football with his boys.”
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The local sewer district, the Southeast Brunswick Sanitary District, will not let her use the septic system because there is a sewer line near her property — the same sewer line that backed up and flooded her home. Typically, only homes away from sewer lines receive exemptions.
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Larsen refuses to hook into the sewer because she’s afraid of another overflow like the one that destroyed her home, and she believes the septic system would be safer. The septic system was installed before the sewer line reached the property.
Now the county has sent her a vacate notice that reads in part, “The use of a tent must take place in an appropriate campground,” the newspaper reported. She could end up in jail if she refuses.
Larsen says she would gladly upgrade the septic system to meet present codes.
The sanitary district is not backing down.
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“It’s not right for the whole district to make one exception for one person,” Peter Goewey, the chairman of the sanitary district board, told The Star News. “We’re not hard hearted, but just because she’s paranoid or worried is not a reasonable request for an exception.”
The board has granted some exceptions including one to a local business, Goewey acknowledged. The business is allowed to use a septic tank because the owner of an adjacent movie theater would not let the business owner dig up a theater parking lot to install a sewer line.
“I love my land,” Larsen told The Star News. “I’m not just here living in a tent because I have nowhere else to go. It’s not like I’m squatting out here not working and being a bum.”
Larsen previously settled out of court with the sanitary district for the damage to her home. Now she faces another battle just to stay on her property.
“Just let me use my septic system that already exists,” Larsen said. “That’s all I’m asking for. I’ll keep asking until I either get it or I die.”
Do you believe Larsen should be allowed to use her septic tank or to live in a tent? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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