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Heartland trailer park owners reach settlement over asbestos concerns

An abandoned trailer at Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park./ KTVO

The owners of a Wapello County trailer park have reached a settlement with the state over environmental issues on the property.

According to public documents released by state of Iowa, the Department of Natural Resources has been investigating the Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park since 2010.

The park, located just west of Ottumwa on Highway 34, is owned by James Olchefski and Robert Nicholson.

Both men are listed in court documents as living in Hudson, Wisconsin.

The park is described in DNR documents as having 68 mobile homes, many of them abandoned.

Investigators say the park's owners repeatedly failed to follow environmental regulations on the property.

Specifically, the DNR was concerned that the owners were demolishing and burning abandoned homes without regard to asbestos regulations.

In 2015, asbestos laced debris was found at Hidden Valley.

The DNR estimates suggest the men saved nearly $13,000 by demolishing the homes without following proper procedures.

The settlement order signed earlier this month requires Nicholson and Olchefski to pay a $5,000 penalty and submit a plan to the DNR for demolishing additional homes and cleaning up debris.

As part of the settlement, Olchefski and Nicholson are not required to admit to any wrongdoing.

Click here to read the enforcement action and settlement agreement.

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