While communities shun Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “trailer cities” and thousands of hurricane evacuees remain in hotels, 38 FEMA trailers have sat empty at an RV park in Lafayette, La., for four months.
According to The Advocate, Baton Rouge, FEMA moved 38 travel trailers into Lafayette City-Parish Government’s Acadiana Park Campground in early November and has been paying $15,600 a month to lease the RV pads.
As of Wednesday (March 1), those trailers remained vacant, a problem FEMA blames on confusion over health codes that regulate the type of sewer system required for the trailers.
“You would have thought they would have some resolution to that,” City-Parish Parks and Recreation Director Gerald Boudreaux said. “We’ve given them full authority to do what they need to do. … They’re renting the spaces. The ball is in their court.”
The six-month lease contract was signed in September, but the city-parish government did not begin billing FEMA until Nov. 2, when all the trailers were in place, said Greg Gautreaux, director of parks maintenance for the Parks and Recreation Department.
FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Rodi said the park site has been on hold because of the type of sewage system required there by the state Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH).
Rodi said that DHH had first approved the use of so-called “bladder” sewer systems — tanks that would sit next to each trailer and need to be emptied regularly — but then changed course.
Rodi said FEMA is attempting to work out an arrangement for sewer service at Acadiana Park but nothing has been finalized.