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Immediately following the conclusion of the TRAP Committee’s recommendation to postpone implementation of SB 550, Governor Crist chose to release a statement in support of moving forward. This report includes a letter from Rep. Trudi WIlliams, the bill’s co-author, that the DOH rule was wrong.

Friends and Neighbors,

Apparently, the “people’s governor” has decided that the people are no longer of any consequence and has refused to delay implementation of the septic inspection program. He has bigger fish to fry. He has refused the recommendations of the TRAP committee. Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection also has a hand in this. Full article follows my note. It appeared September 23, 2010, immediately after the TRAP meeting. Please read. We must let Governor Crist know in no uncertain terms how we feel about this. I am urging all of you to contact Governor Crist ( or write: Office of Governor Charlie Crist, State of Florida, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001.

While you’re at it, call or send a note to Secretary of Dept. of Health, Dr. Ana Viamonte Ros (CC: to Gov. Crist). She needs to take responsibility for her Dept. of On-site Sewage, and Mr. Briggs.

Department of Health Feedback
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #A00
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1701
Phone: (850) 245-4321


Published from News Service Florida on September 23, 2010



THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Sept. 23, 2010………. Gov. Charlie Crist will not delay the implementation of a bill passed earlier this year that will require septic tank inspections every five years to protect Florida springs, despite calls from two more lawmakers to plug the plan for the time being.

Two Panhandle lawmakers, Sen. Durrell Peaden, R-Crestview, and Rep. Greg Evers, R-Baker, wrote Crist Thursday to say septic tank inspection requirement is too expensive in a tight economy and should be pushed back from January to July 2011 to allow lawmakers to revisit the matter next year. Earlier this summer, outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, said the bill should be repealed altogether and has promised to keep hammering the state on the issue.

But Crist, who signed the measure in June, will not heed either suggestion, a spokesman told the News Service of Florida.

“The governor is not delaying implementation,” Crist spokesman Sterling Ivey said. “It was a Senate bill that passed both houses and he signed into law. He didn’t have any reservation about the bill when it reached his desk or he would have vetoed it.”

Backers of the springs protection bill say the requirements will cost much less than possible federal water regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. The EPA is currently considering limits on the amount of chemical pollution that would be allowed in state bodies of water, but backers argued they may consider letting Florida have more of a say in that – and not eventually try to police Florida septic tanks – if the state showed it was serious about protecting its water resources.

But Peaden and Evers said Thursday that said that less expensive was not good enough in a rocky economic time.

“In recent months…many individuals have contacted our offices regarding the adverse impacts to them both financially and physically as a result of the new septic system evaluation requirements,” they wrote to Crist. “Concerns have continued to grow as estimates from various counties on the cost of implementing the septic tank evaluation provisions have varied widely from a low of $180 to a high of $800.

“Since the law itself makes no mention of the actual cost of an evaluation, Floridians can be left to deal with unscrupulous individuals that can charge any fee they choose under the authority of the state,” the lawmakers wrote.

The springs bill, SB 550, was backed by environmentalists, but heralded by sponsor Sen. Lee Constantine as a product of negotiations with various competing interests groups.

“When you get the home builders and the Sierra Club to agree” Constantine told the News Service last month, that’s consensus. “This was landmark legislation.”

But Peaden and Evers said that a review of the cost of complying with the bill by the Florida Department of Health as it considers rules for implementing the septic inspections shows that lawmakers should take another look at the requirement.

“This raises serious concerns that in a rush to pass legislation to protect Florida’s water resources, insufficient time was spent on how this law was going to financially affect Floridians,” they said. “Therefore, we request that you use executive authority granted to you under the Florida Constitution to direct the Department of Health to postpone the implementation of this legislation … allowing the Florida Legislature to more thoroughly investigate the financial impact to Floridians.”

The two lawmakerws also asked Crist to direct the Department of Health conduct a fiscal analysis on the “full and actual costs of the implementation of such an evaluation program” before the new requirements go into effect January. 1, 2011.

Detailed context on Florida environmental issues is available on the NSF Environment Backgrounder at environment/environment.htm.

Email from Trudi K. Williams, Co-Author of SB550 – Representative District 75

The following letter was presented at the TRAP meeting on 9/23/2010. Our thanks to Representative Williams, co-author of SB 550 inspection language. If anyone should know what the legislative intent was, it would be Representative Williams. By profession, Representative Williams is also an environmental engineer. The letter was presented by Orange County District 2 Commissioner Fred Brummer.

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2010 06:41:27 -0700
From:Trudi Williams
Subject: SB550

Please read this at the TRAP meeting tomorrow. I will be in Atlanta tomorrow or I would have made this statement directly.

It is my understanding that once again DOH/Mr.. Briggs is misrepresenting the Legislatures intent. SB 550 was a three year project that went through many iterations. In the end, the Bill required an inspection every five (5) years by a licensed septic contractor. and a pump out. The inspection was limited in scope to “view” the drainfield and insure that there was no raw sewage ponding. The bill also stated that system repairs were ONLY to be performed when sanitary nuisances are encountered which is defined as sewage on the ground or backup into the home.

At NO time was the intent of the Legislature to rebuild an existing septic system just because the separation between the wet season water table and the bottom of the drainfield no longer meet with the current rules as it pertains to setbacks and separation. These earlier systems were built in accordance with the DOH standards at the time of construction, and unless sanitary nuisances are present as described above, are to be left alone!

All new setbacks and separation criteria would be required ONLY when the homeowner constructs a new system or repairs or modifies the existing permit.

To imply that soil borings and the like are required on all systems is just wrong!

To make my point, many septic contractors who stand to benefit from DOH “interpretation” of this Law, are vehemently opposed to DOH rule making to date.

I will be watching this very closely. I am very, very concerned with DOH attempt to rewrite the law.

Thank you,

Trudi K. Williams P.E.
Representative District 75o:p>