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CCP, TKW to hold meeting on wastewater study

January 23, 2019
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

An overview of the completed Captiva Island Wastewater Alternative Study, background behind it and next steps for the Captiva Community Panel will be presented tonight at a special public meeting.

Hosted by the CCP, the Wastewater Alternatives for Captiva meeting will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Captiva Civic Center. Doug Eckmann, of TKW Consulting Engineers, will provide a presentation on its study, while CCP Wastewater Committee Chair Jay Brown will go over the history and next steps.

The estimated 30-minute program will be followed by questions and discussion.

Article Photos

Jay Brown

Lee County Public Utilities Director Pamela Keyes, FGUA Operations Manager Glenn Forrest and Sanibel Natural Resources Director James Evans are also anticipated to be in attendance.

"The purpose of the meeting is for the community to get an understanding of the study," Brown said. "We're trying to inform the community as best as we can about what the facts are."

He will open with some background on why the study was conducted.

Fact Box

If you go


Wastewater Alternatives for Captiva meeting


Captiva Community Panel and TKW Consulting Engineers


Today, Jan. 23, starting at 7 p.m.


Captiva Civic Center, at 11550 Chapin Lane


Open to the public

Brown explained that the CCP approached the county about researching wastewater alternatives based on feedback from the community. People were concerned about the continued use of septic systems.

Historically, Captiva has relied extensively on conventional septics to process wastewater.

In 2016, the CCP formed the Wastewater Committee to investigate alternative long-term wastewater strategies. The committee conducted information-gathering meetings with Lee County staff, Sanibel community leaders and staff, septic system maintenance firms, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and management at the FGUA treatment facility that serves the South Seas Island Resort.

It then proposed to Lee County that it retain an engineering firm to evaluate alternative wastewater strategies, like possibly creating central sewer service or a program to upgrade existing septic systems over time to higher performance standards. Funds were obtained, and the project awarded to TKW.

"We're the one that convinced Lee County to do the study, to fund it," he said.

TKW finished the project and submitted its report in September.

During the meeting, Eckmann will review the major facts or findings within the study.

"He's going to present an overview of the key points in the study and give a little detail on each," Brown said, noting that the program will be informative but not as in-depth as the study itself.

"I think those attending will get a good overview of what's in the study," he added.

The study provides a comprehensive overview of current wastewater treatment systems in place, potential issues with maintaining the status quo, an evaluation of latest technology on septic systems, and evaluation-preliminary cost estimates of methods the island may employ to expand central sewer service to areas of Captiva now using septic systems, if that it what the community wanted to do.

"The panel does not have a position on what the best wastewater strategy is," Brown said. "Our only position is we need to develop as many facts as possible for the community to make a decision."

"So the community can decide what's best," he added.

Brown noted that if the community decided it wants to go the central sewer system route, the project would require more than 50 percent support from island property owners before moving forward.

Following Eckmann's presentation, Brown will cover the Wastewater Committee's next steps, which entails bringing in a water quality expert to evaluate the environmental implications of the options.

"TKW is primarily an engineering firm, not a big environmental firm," he said.

Brown noted that more information is needed for the public to make a well-informed decision.

During the question-and-answer session, the CCP will take comments and feedback.

"I would suspect there's going to be a lot of questions and discussion," he said.

"We'll talk about it as long as people in the audience want to continue discussing it," Brown added.

The community is urged to come out and participate.

"Water quality is a huge issue in Southwest Florida now," he said. "This is designed for transparency and for the public to get as much information as they can."

"It's an important issue and I think people need to be as informed as possible," Brown added.

For more information, visit or call 239-489-2616.

A copy of the study can be found online, as well as the CCP's summary of it.

The Captiva Civic Center is at 11550 Chapin Lane.



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