ARANSAS PASS, Texas — Last month a child died after falling into a septic tank at Paradise Lagoons RV Park in Aransas Pass.
Now a resident in Rockport wants to turn a terrible accident into an opportunity to educate people on the danger of unmaintained septic tanks.
“It broke my heart and made me sick. It was hard to actually come to work the next day because of it,” said Scott Mapes.
Scott Mapes, owner of Coastal Technical Services in Rockport, was referring to the incident that happened last month when 2-year-old Charleigh Nicole Nelson died in Aransas Pass after falling into a septic tank.
“It was real upsetting because we knew it could have been prevented,” said Mapes.
This is one of the reasons why Mapes is taking it upon himself to educate residents and RV Park owners in the community and surrounding counties on the dangers of not maintaining their septic system.
“We just want to make sure the homeowners, property owners, and everybody that has a septic system can fully understand what are the consequences of a septic system that is degraded or not maintained properly,” said Mapes.
He said everyone can learn from this tragedy.
“This is my industry, and this is my livelihood, and I want to be able to share the knowledge that the state has given us so everybody is well informed, and so we cannot let this ever happen again,” said Mapes.
In the early 2000s, septic tanks were completely buried, making access for kids almost impossible. However, now, many septic tanks are at the surface level, secured by plastic lids and screws making it easier for maintenance and inspections.
“That is one of the things the county here in Aransas County requires, and if you don’t have one, you will not pass inspection,” said Cape Valero RV Park owner Emilio Flores.
“It is just maintenance, and it is awareness of the screws that are supposed to be in the child’s safety ring that is inside the green dome, and the dome itself will have anywhere from 6-12screws also. All those screws should be in place,” said Mapes.
“So it is a must to not only have safety, but sanitary conditions, ” said Flores.
Mapes is expected to meet with the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce RV Council this month, and he will also be giving a presentation to area real estate agents on how septic systems work.