Campsite sued after NJ child falls to death in septic tank

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LOWER TOWNSHIP – Parents of a toddler who died after falling into a camping septic tank the night before Easter are suing, claiming the cover was not secure.

Scott and Ashley Davidson, of the Delmont section of the Mauritius River, said in their lawsuit that their 3-year-old daughter’s fatal slide wasn’t the only time the facility’s septic tank lids were dangerously loose.

An unresponsive Emma Davidson was removed from a sewage septic tank at Sun Outdoors Cape May around 9:30 p.m., according to the Cape May prosecutor’s office. She died shortly after in a local hospital.

Sun Outdoors Campground, in the Erma section of Township, is accused by the Davidson family of “a repeated pattern and practice of not securing” or locking septic tank lids.

Other visitors had almost fallen into such tanks at the same campsite, according to the costume, while visitors’ pets had actually fallen into unsecured tanks in the past.

Another Sun Outdoors-owned camp property in neighboring Dennis Township called Driftwood also had an incident in which someone fell into a septic tank, the lawsuit also said.

The State Department of Environmental Protection is also listed as a defendant. According to the lawsuit, the DEP cited the campground for multiple violations for unsecured septic covers and for broken or cracked lids for their tanks, as well as failing to keep inspection records.

Sun Communities, based in Michigan, owns, operates or manages 560 properties in 39 states of the United States and Canada.

Its other affiliate, Sun RV, is also cited in the lawsuit, as are Kampgrounds of America and Cape May KOA.

Erma’s property was known as Cape May KOA until about March.

Sun Communities’ request for comment was not immediately responded to Tuesday afternoon.

The DEP questioned state police on Tuesday evening, saying they were “the lead agency” in the matter.

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