Little Kickback From New Septic Regs

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hughthomas In: Little Kickback From New Septic Regs | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Hugh Thomas, Executive Director of SRWMD, presents a check to the Columbia County commissioners.


Mr. Terry Hansen from the Florida DEP presented the new regulations on some residential septic tanks.  These will go into effect on July 1, 2018, along with the new BMAP regulations, of which it is part.

hansen terry In: Little Kickback From New Septic Regs | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Terry Hansen, DEP

As reported yesterday by the Lake City Reporter, in certain areas, new permits for septics on lots smaller than one acre, pulled from the Department of Health, after July 1, will require an advanced type of nitrate remover which is much more effective but also several thousand dollars more expensive.  The new system also requires several hundred dollars per year for maintenance, unlike the conventional tank.

Surprisingly, only one builder came to the podium to complain.  His complaint basically fell on sympathetic but deaf ears.   This presentation to the Board was informational only, with no vote nor decision by the commissioners.

Your historian spoke for OSFR, whose stance is that we approve these regulations, but deem them flawed in that they do not go far enough, and they place a burden unfairly on certain citizens.  By far the biggest contributor to nitrate pollution in Columbia County is agricultural fertilizer, and that is not even mentioned.

Additionally, every new septic should require the new system, not just small lots in certain areas.  Unfortunately, this position is too strong to be acceptable to all at this time, but in the future it will not be.    Our BMAPs are not meeting the goals which they set.

OSFR also believes that the hardship of stricter regulations for both agriculture and septic permit purchasers should be cost-shared by DEP.  As we say over and over again, we must all pay for our clean water, and it is priceless.

As our resources are reduced more drastically, so will our regulations change up to the point where we have no resources left to regulate.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
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  1. Every time I attend meetings with Florida State Environmental agencies involved, I find it hard to believe how unprofessionally they are run. Most of the time, public comment is not part of the program, and/or, if they are asked “a hard question”, the meeting’s chair dismisses it for obvious reasons!! Now, consider the number of land owners of one acre (or less) lots, who’s property value just dropped $10,000. ?? Their property is “less sellable” as a home site.
    Now, someone tell me how it is “legal” to dump 9,000 gallons of untreated human waste out in a pasture, less than three miles from the river’s edge. Who know’s how many truck loads get’s dumped in this same spot?? This is consider a means of “fertilization”! Or, building a permitted “concentrated chicken feeding operation”, a known polluting nightmare, only a mile from the river, without even a liner to catch the liquid produced in the 1.2 Million chicken’s droppings.

  2. I think that people realize that there is a problem and that builders are glad that the BMAP is as benign as it is. There would be a lot more pushback if DEP actually did what needs to be done to ensure water supply safety. It’s going to take a firm hand, and a lot of political will, to force industry, agriculture and homeowners into necessary compliance. It’s not going to happen voluntarily.

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