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CCP further discusses sewer systems

By Staff | Feb 24, 2016

Further discussions were had at the Captiva Community Panel meeting of the next steps it should take in gathering information in regards to changing over to a sewer system.

Sewer Committee member Jay Brown began his presentation by sharing with the Captiva Community Panel the current practice of central treatment facilities on Captiva. Those four facilities include South Seas Island Resort, ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort, Captiva Shores and Sunset Captiva. He went on to share during the Feb. 9 meeting that there are more than 500 individual septic systems, which includes at least half of them unregulated and uninspected.

Brown said he thinks they need a good understanding of the environmental impact of the current systems.

“We know we have a view on how Sanibel feels about the South Seas system and we also know that SCCF did a water study a number of years ago that looks at water quality issues and the existing septic systems,” he said.

Brown said they also need to look at non-environmental benefits that might result from a central sewer, such as lower on-going property owner expense, improved reliability and convenience. He said it is also important to know how much it would cost, who would pay for it and how would the cost be paid.

“The only two logical possibilities is the expansion of the South Seas plant, or working with the City of Sanibel and using their existing,” facility,” Brown said.

He said so far what they know about cost stems from a presentation they had from FGUA in December, the operators of the South Seas plant. They guesstimated it would be $23,500 per household to expand the South Seas plant to withhold all of the existing septic, Brown said.

If the panel decides to go that route, they would have to establish a MSTBU in order to finance the project. Brown said they would need to have 51 percent support of the property owners who would pay for the project.

He said he penciled out the project to be financed over 30 years at $23,500 at 4 percent. Each property owner, Brown said would have roughly $1,400 added to their annual property tax bill for a 30 year period.

“I’m trying to give you a rough perimeter if we decide to do the South Seas route,” he said.

The other means is hooking up to Sanibel. Brown said the attitude he received from the City of Sanibel is that Captiva is not environmentally concerned and that there are a lot of issues with the South Seas Island Resort facility.

“They have an opinion that we are very pro density, that we want to expand, and that Captiva is not interested in controlling density,” he said. “There is a real disconnect here.”

Although those opinions were shared, Brown said Sanibel is very supportive of Captiva hooking into their system. He said Sanibel’s recommendation is to go to Lee County and request they do a feasibility study that would look into hooking into Sanibel’s system.

“There are a whole range of possible scenarios,” he said of feeding into the South Seas facility, all of Captiva feeding into Sanibel, or feeding into different facilities.

The last question he addressed was would a central system have the unintended consequence of promoting increased density over long term on Captiva. Brown said would it be more possible as an incentive for developers to come in and propose projects of higher density if they went the sewer route.

Before the meeting concluded Brown discussed some of the panel’s next steps in gathering information.

Those steps included meeting with SCCF to review past water quality issues; meeting with Mick Denham to understand Sanibel views on septic and water quality; obtain data available from Sanibel on septic and water quality; advocate for Lee County to do a feasibility study and understand the extent to which current zoning protects Captiva from future rezoning not supported by existing property owners.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.