This is the kind of article that makes one’s blood boil.
Click to Read the Article from “The Florida Current”
This is the kind of article that makes one’s blood boil – especially when the supposedly credible “source” blames the wildlife deaths on nitrogen pollution produced by septic systems. Mr. LaPointe says, “I think” septic systems are the problem. Note there are no scientific facts quoted to support the supposition stated. A barely noticeable one-line editorial disclaimer says that “Scientists haven’t firmly identified the causes of the wildlife deaths”, which does little to balance the heavy opinion of all the environmentalists quoted.
The fact is that our Dept. of Health has the tools at their disposal to find out. They used them in the Suwannee River study and proved the septic systems they initially blamed for nitrogen pollution were, in fact, NOT the source of the elevated nitrogen levels in the river. Within a year’s time, sufficient monitoring wells can be utilized to prove or disprove the issue. Exactly what research did Mr. LaPointe, a member of the Everglades Foundation, use to formulate his opinion? Would it be the same non-viable research that all the other environmental groups use when they blame septic systems for everything nitrogen-related?
In the article, Senator Negron is quoted as saying “septic tanks should be addressed in a manner that is completely consistent with the rights of private property owners.” We agree, but it should also be addressed based on adequate science and in proportion to the other known threats. So far, no study we have read includes a factor for sewer contributions to nitrogen in the ground and surface water, even though seepage and spills from sewers dump more nitrogen into the water than septic systems by a minimum factor of 22:1.
In addition, although the FL Dept. of Health has in past hearings admitted that some systems have been improperly sited or installed wrong, no one has ever suggested that anyone at the state, county, or contractor level be held accountable for allowing the violations. Quite the contrary, over these past six years, the rules promoted by the Bureau of On-Site Sewage focus on making the homeowner responsible for septic systems that were sited, permitted, inspected and approved by the Department even though, by their own admission, some systems may not be in compliance with code. What are we taxpayers paying for? It’s the Bureau and those they train and certify who are in charge of performing this fundamental responsibility. Perhaps they need to write a few rules for themselves.
For all the concern over septic systems, you would think by now there would be scientific evidence, not the familiar litany of “I think”, or Mr. LaPointe’s mystery research into manatee deaths that is “pointing to nitrogen from septic tanks.” This is innuendo, not fact. While human waste may be a factor, no one with any credibility would be ignoring the fact that leaky and broken sewers, lift station mechanical failures, and municipal plant outfalls are a greater pollution threat than septic systems could ever be. Just last week 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage had to be pumped from a broken sewer line that runs under the Little Wekiva River. The sewer line handles about 55,000 gallons of sewage per hour. They don’t know how much sewage dumped into the river before the break was discovered! The 55,000 septic systems in the Wekiva Study Area could never cause this kind of environmental damage if they all exploded simultaneously. But I’m sure they will be blamed for it. I won’t even start on the subject of injection wells. That’s another topic of huge proportions. There is only one absolute in all of this – if the real contributing factors continue to be ignored, citizen/taxpayer money will be spent on “feel good” solutions that will never produce the promised benefit.