Septic Systems Discussion
Session - Recommendations
Recommendations from the Septic Systems Panel:
- Variability in
hydrogeological settings and land use patterns across the State
requires that watershed-specific approaches to waste water treatment
and disposal be used. No one size fits all (centralized waste
treatment might be the ideal solution in certain areas such as urban
communities; while enhanced septic systems may be the model of
choice in sensitive rural areas).
- The panel recognizes
the need for additional studies, monitoring and research to verify
the effectiveness of Best Management Practices (BMPs) implemented or
policies chosen. However, the panel also emphasizes the need for
taking immediate steps, based on available knowledge, that further
efforts to reverse water quality-degradation in the spring systems.
- State, regional and
local governing bodies should preserve critical areas through
purchase or conservation easements.
- The panel recommends
delineation of vulnerable zones of high ground water vulnerability
as delineated by FAVA or a similar approach. Local governments, in
collaboration with state agencies, should define zones within which
wastewater treatment practices must be designed to protect and
improve water quality.
- The EPA has defined
five management models for decentralized and onsite wastewater
treatment systems in ascending order of responsibility and
ownership. The panel recommends that nothing lower than level 4 or 5
be adopted for the Woodville Karst Plain springshed.
- Establish management
entity(s) such as a utility that will be responsible for the
construction, operation and maintenance of decentralized wastewater
treatment facilities (AKA onsite wastewater systems), including
existing septic systems, performance-based treatment systems,
clusters systems and even small package plants, if applicable.
- The entity could be a
local government agency, a cooperative or a private sector entity
with proper supervision by state, local or municipal governments.
The possibility of obtaining federal EPA funds, as the initial
capital outlay should be investigated; but long term funding should
be from a dependable tax-based source and/or from user fees.
- Systems used by the
management entity in the defined spring protection zones should be
performance-based in order to ensure compliance with established
standards of water quality and periodic monitoring to verify
compliance. There are many treatment options available for new
construction and retrofits within a defined protection zone. Within
such a zone, the panel recommends the use of systems that can
achieve at least 70% nitrogen reduction, 95% reduction in BOD and
TSS, 98% reduction of fecal coliforms or, establish an effluent
- The panel suggests
that existing efforts to protect environmentally sensitive areas,
such as the Wekiva, the Florida Keys, or others outside Florida be
evaluated for applicability to the Woodville Karst Plain.
- The panel also
considered adding the concept of reduced density in lieu of or in
combination with performance-based treatment systems, hence reducing
loading in higher risk/vulnerability areas. Restricting density to 5
acres or more for these areas could serve to address lowering
nitrate loadings as well as reflect current land use trends."
- Education - the
panel recognizes that cooperation of the communities involved is
essential to implementing measures to protect sensitive water
resources. The panel strongly recommends the design and
implementation of a regional public education effort including
specific steps such users can take that would result in better
operation and maintenance of decentralized waste treatment