In 2008, the Florida Legislature gave the Department of Health, Bureau of Onsite Sewage a directive to “further develop cost-effective nitrogen reduction strategies”. Specifically, the Bureau was to further develop PASSIVE STRATEGIES FOR NITROGEN REDUCTION “THAT COMPLEMENT THE USE OF CONVENTIONAL ONSITE WASTEWATER TREATMENT SYSTEMS.” Funding to the tune of $5,000,000 was appropriated to complete the study. Eight years later, the Bureau had “developed” non-passive systems, none of which could be installed due to lack of engineering specifications and adequate documentation.
Legislators and homeowners alike obviously did not get what we paid for. We still do not have a passive, nitrogen reducing alternative and BMAP forges ahead with mandated septic system remediation plans. Thanks to the Bureau of Onsite Sewage, those BMAP remediation plans only allow conventional systems to be replaced with electrically operated, maintenance intensive, cost prohibitive “advanced” nitrogen reducing systems. The approved list of choices was generated by the Bureau and incorporated into FDEP’s Basin Management Action Plans to be used in 13 Springs Protection Areas.
FDEP and the Bureau are telling everyone that they have a passive alternative. As we reported earlier (Sludge Report June 10, 2018), the passive woodchip system is a cruel joke. I monitored a recent meeting of the TRAP (Technical Review Advisory Panel). I asked if the woodchip “system” had been installed and monitored at homeowner sites. The answer was “NO.” I asked how the complex design of the woodchip system was developed. The answer was “It was the result of the thought process of the researcher”. [See the thought process here] One TRAP member commented that he could not in good conscience install a woodchip system not knowing if it would work or last even five years. This is the same system you, the homeowner must declare on your deed and might have to replace in 10 years.
Are there viable passive alternatives??? Yes. They are out there, commercially available, and waiting to be approved by the Bureau of Onsite Sewage for their permits to do business in the State of Florida. Two that we know of were deliberately excluded from the Nitrogen Study. For years, both companies have been working through the Bureau’s “Innovative” approval process, trying to satisfy an unending, ever changing list of demands for performance, documentation, homeowner test sites, and incurring enormous costs to meet those demands. While the Bureau is perfectly okay with approving the woodchip system born of a “thought process”, they are not okay approving commercially available passive systems that have met or exceeded their demands.
NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!
The good news is that two of our legislators have agreed to sponsor legislation that will remove the Bureau of Onsite Sewage from the approval process. Senator Randolph Bracy (D) and Representative Kamia Brown (D), both in the Orlando area have taken the concerns of their residents to heart and are co-sponsoring bills (HB 1241 and SB 1776) that will streamline the process of bringing innovative, passive products into our state and finally solve the problems and roadblocks created by the Bureau. Maybe now, the intent of our legislators who originally funded the Nitrogen Study back in 2008 will finally be realized. Maybe now, workable, affordable nitrogen reducing solutions will be available to the homeowners. Maybe now, the mandates put on us by FDEP’s BMAP septic system remediation plans will not economically destroy our residents and the value of their homes.
Thank You, Senator Bracy and Representative Brown!!
|Senator Bracy (407) 297-2045||Representative Brown (407) 297-2001|
Contact Senator Bracy and Representative Brown and tell them thank you.
Contact your own senator and representative and tell them to support HB 1241 and SB 1776
MORE GOOD NEWS!!!
Coalition for Property Rights is Back! Homeowners have a voice in Tallahassee!!!
The Coalition for Property Rights – FL (CPR-FL) is once again our property rights advocate in Tallahassee and around the state. Dan Peterson, President of the recently incorporated non-profit CPR-FL, has been in Tallahassee, speaking to legislators and educating them about our septic system issues, which are especially important in Governor DiSantis’ water quality agenda and budget. Several bills have been introduced focused on our septic systems. All of them are on Dan’s radar and he will be reporting back to us all as these bills progress through the new session.
Go to http://cpr-fl.org or click on the CPR logo appearing below. Sign up to get Dan’s “Tallahassee Live” newsletters. While you are on CPR’s website, please make a generous donation to CPR-FL. Traveling to Tally, lodging and other expenses cost money and an enormous amount of time. You have a voice because Dan has made a commitment to advocate on behalf of your property value and your right to use it freely and unencumbered. He can’t do it without you!