Residents Near Springs May Get Replacement Septic Tanks
Published April 22nd, 2014
HIGH SPRINGS- The state House and Senate are both moving to pass a bill to restore many of Florida's springs. One cause for concern is septic tank pollution which may mean new systems for those living in High Springs.
"If I don't have a problem with it, I don't see why I should get rid of it," said Joseph Baxter. Baxter told us he's lived in his High Springs home for decades and has yet to replace his septic tank. "I've been here thirty years and all that time we have been using septic tanks," he said.
Septic tanks are now targets in a bill to fix Florida's ailing springs. Environmental officials say every time a septic tank owner flushes, most harmful bacteria is filtered out but, a chemical known as nitrate passes through and ends up in spring water. Nitrate pollution increases the growth of toxic algae.
Reports from Alachua County's Environmental Health Department estimate that up to 3,500 homes in North Central Florida may have to replace their systems. Especially those who live near Poe Springs. The state Senate just added it to the list of springs that need protection from pollution. Alachua County owns and operates Poe Park, county environmental officials told us they support the bill.
Alachua County Environmental Protection director Chris Bird said, "This has a lot of opportunity for us to really help these springs. You know, we get visitors from all over the world that come to this springs and they are world class and we really need to start treating them better."
There are about 1,600 septic tanks in High Springs, only those living closest to Poe Springs Park will require new systems. "If they can afford to do it and they want to do it that would be a community decision," said Baxter.
The good news is homeowners won't have to pay for the upgrade. As it's written now, the bill says Florida's Department of Environmental protection will fund the project.
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