Editor, The Beacon:
Florida is blessed with an abundance of captivating water resources, and these resources have made Florida a successful and favorite travel, commercial and residential destination. However, this success has placed pressure on these resources and threatens Florida’s water quality, with residential wastewater nitrogen contamination one of the primary concerns.
Of the more than 6.3 million households in Florida, two-thirds use sewer laterals and one-third use septic systems to treat household wastewater. In 2012, a FDOH Florida Senate Bill Analysis and Fiscal Impact Statement reported that, Florida allows “99.9% of its septic systems to operate without maintenance requirements … and 75% of Florida’s septic systems to operate past their life expectancy.”
The lack of an effective owner-friendly maintenance program has permitted hundreds of thousands of household wastewater-treatment systems of all types, old and new, to operate far below state standards, allowing 16 million pounds of nitrogen to contaminate Florida’s environment every year. Household sewage “treatment systems” do not reduce nitrogen; their maintenance does!
Florida’s current nitrogen-reduction strategy will need to connect 1.4 million septic systems to sewer at a cost of $42 billion, just to catch up to the 16 million pounds of nitrogen Florida allows to contaminate its waters every year.
Florida’s plans to reduce nitrogen by connecting a handful of septic systems to sewer and mandating the installation of nitrogen-reduction septic systems that are more expensive to maintain and reduce less nitrogen, will force an unjustifiable financial burden on Florida citizens and property owners, with little to no results.
Conventional septic systems may not have been initially designed to remove nitrogen, but it turns out they do a pretty good job. FDOH and FDEP science shows that installing a modern conventional septic system, at an average cost of $8,000, removes 17 percent more nitrogen than the proposed nitrogen reduction system that will cost taxpayers and homeowners an estimated $25,000.
Does any one treatment system outperform the others in preventing groundwater pollution? A recent nitrogen study of septic, sewer, and sewer with reclaimed irrigation technologies has shown that they all — including household sewer lines — pollute the aquifer the same.
An owner-friendly cost-effective maintenance solution, without mandated inspections, can easily and affordably prevent the 16 million pounds of nitrogen from entering Florida’s environment, at a fraction of the cost of Florida’s current plans.
This simple owner-friendly wastewater-maintenance solution will protect Florida’s health and environment while saving citizens and homeowners money. It is not a theory, study or magic box; it’s just good old-fashioned common sense.