Florida lacking on septic tank cleanup

Florida’s historic capitol building and current state capitol building, in Tallahassee on August 31, 2013.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Florida is doing virtually nothing to encourage cleaning up leaking septic tanks, which contribute to the states water woes.

10 years ago lawmakers required inspections, but then got cold feet.

There are over 2.8 million septic tanks in Florida and The Department Of Health said 10 percent, or at least 280,000, are leaking.

In 2018, fewer than 20,000 were repaired.

“It’s antique technology that needs to go,” said Leon Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner Bill Howell.

Howell said new technology now on the market for about $2,000 could turn septic tanks into mini-wastewater treatment plants.

“And it's got bacteria in it and you pump air into it and the bacteria actually eats what’s in the septic tank. Digests it completely,” said Howell.

The impact of doing nothing can be seen in Wakulla County at its first class spring.
This boat used to do 30 or 40 weeks of tours a year.

The last time they had a glass bottom tour was two years ago.

In 2010, lawmakers passed a springs protection bill that required septic tanks be inspected every five years.

A year later, after thousands of complaints about the cost of the inspections, lawmakers killed the plan.

Former State Senator Lee Constantine was the bill’s sponsor

“We would have been five years, minimum, closer to a solution, and by 2020 we would have inspected every single tank in the state of Florida,” said Constantine.

Septic tanks are the second biggest polluter of our water, behind agriculture.

The state’s Chief Science Officer has said that some septic tanks would need to be modernized to become complete mini-wastewater treatment systems.