13 years later- research report shows converting water’s-edge, Suwanee River septic systems to sewers did not produce the promised results – nutrient levels unchanged! New bills filed to repeal SB550 inspections. EPA’s Costs in human terms – in the news. TRI-County welcomes new Advisory Board members. Editor’s corner – the role of un-elected government employees.
THE VERDICT IS IN! NOT GUILTY!
Florida Journal of Environmental Health, Spring/Summer 2011, Issue 207 (www.feha.org)
I was enjoying a little light summer reading and will summarize for you an interesting study just published in the above mentioned journal. It seems 13 years ago, 750 septic owners along the Suwanee River were targets for sewers because of pollution issues involving salmonella, fecal coliform (poop), and nitrogen. Water quality samples were taken before sewers were brought on line and recent intensive water quality studies were conducted to assess the results of converting septic systems to sewers.
The study reveals fecal coliform (untreated sewage) was reduced as a result of installing the sewers, but total coliform increased. Nutrient (nitrogen) levels were unchanged, and salmonella levels were unchanged.
What does that mean? It means the problem of fecal coliform could have been eliminated by simply making sure septic systems along the river were working properly. It means the total coliform level had to be attributed to something other than septic systems. That “something,” the study says, was probably wildlife and other non-septic system sources. It means, for all practical purposes, the money homeowners and government agencies spent on sewers was unnecessary and unproductive, i.e. wasted! It means that regardless of the separation between the drainfield and the high water table, or the distance between the drainfield and the waters’ edge, septic systems were not contributing nitrogen, nor were they responsible for salmonella levels. IT MEANS, NOT GUILTY!
Cruising through the Florida Environmental Health Association (FEHA) website, the source of the above article, I stumbled across a position statement of the organization…..very revealing. After reading it, it’s understandable why citizens and legislators keep fighting the same battle over and over again with bureaucracies and their rule-making.
The position statement discusses the commitment of this organization to the Kyoto treaty that accepts climate change as a fact. It commits members of this association to support the United Nations model that identifies rural and suburban development as unsustainable. The position statement further directs its members to take all actions that will counteract climate change and promote “sustainable development” principles. Membership in this association includes state employees working in the Dept. of Health, Bureau of On-Site Sewage, and others.
Belief drives actions. Rural and suburban development typically includes the use of septic systems. This may explain how it happens that legislation is “misinterpreted” again and again by our bureaucracies. Given rule-making authority and given their internal commitment to support the “guiding” principles of the association, those in the Bureau will probably continue on this path of inappropriate rule-making. As a result, legislators’ time and attention will continue to be diverted from dealing with legitimate constituent, economic, and science-based concerns. If anyone is inclined not to believe this is happening, just look at the amount of time, energy and money has been spent over the past four years trying to stop the rules promoted by the Bureau of On-Site Sewage.
In fact, those in the Bureau (and elsewhere in a non-elected government role) who have perpetually promoted rules in opposition to stated legislative intent need to understand they are acting outside their legitimate role. They have no constitutional or statutory authority to super-impose personal or professional belief onto laws or onto society. While they are entitled to a personal, or even a professional belief in climate change and sustainable development, they are not policy makers or law makers. Their only legitimate role is to advise when consulted and implement, not interpret, or manipulate, or embellish, the will of the legislature. If they want to set policy or make law, they need to run for office and win based on their commitment. That is our structure of government and how it works. To do otherwise, creates chaos, costs taxpayers money, and in fact, mocks and undermines our form of government.
IN THE NEWS:
Editorial Opinion authored by A. Samson, TRI-County Association H.E.L.P. appeared in print in two Florida newspapers, Tampa Bay – TBO On-Line, and in Gainesville –
The Topic: “EPA Rules Will Inflict Heavy Toll on People.”
Evers files bill to repeal septic tank inspections
Summarized from Northwest Florida Daily News. ( nwfdailynews.com )
Sen. Greg Evers, who filed a repeal bill during the 2011 legislative session, has introduced Senate Bill 114, a bill that will repeal the state-wide mandated inspection provisions of SB550 passed in the 2010 legislative session. Senator Evers has strong support from Rep. Marti Coley who has also filed a repeal bill for the second time. Evers is confident the new repeal bill will pass next year. Both Coley and Evers were quoted as saying the inspections are “overreaching and expensive in tough economic times.” Repeal is fully supported by various tea party groups who believe the responsibility for inspections should reside with local governments, not the state. For more information please refer to the Northwest Florida Daily News: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/evers-43135-inspections-septic.html
Additional inspection repeal bills have been filed by Rep. Coley (HB79) and Senator Lynn (SB178), and one bill has been filed by Rep. Drake (HB115) to repeal the ban on land application of septage contained in SB550.
TRI-COUNTY ASSOCIATION H.E.L.P., Inc. welcomes new Advisory Board Members: TRI-County Association welcomed two new members to the group’s Advisory Board. Brenda Carey, Chairman, Seminole County Board of County Commissioners has accepted an invitation to serve in this capacity. She joins Orange County Commissioner, Fred Brummer, and Lake County Commissioner, Leslie Campione to round out advisory representation for the three counties whose homeowner and business members live and work in the three counties served by TRI-County Association.
In addition, Mr. Dan Peterson, newly appointed Executive Director of Coalition for Property Rights has agreed to serve on TRI-County’s Bd. of Advisors, replacing Carol Saviak, who resigned to take on a new position with the St. Augustine Chamber of Commerce. If you would like more information on Coalition for Property Rights (CPR), please contact Dan at 407.481.2289, or through CPR’s website www.proprights.com.