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Further waste water discussion during November panel meeting

By Staff | Sep 18, 2019

Jay Brown

A presentation will be provided during the Captiva Community Panel’s November meeting to discuss the findings of a wastewater analysis of the island.

Panel member Jay Brown provided an update about Dr. David Tomasko’s wastewater analysis, which the first draft was near being finished, during last week’s meeting. The report, he said was reviewed by the waste water committee, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation and Natural Resource Director James Evans.

“SCCF has given some additional data to look at and James Evans will have comments prepared for Dave to finish as he is preparing his final report,” Brown said.

Brown said he is going to direct Tomasko to finish his report in advance of the November meeting, so he could attend and discuss the report.

“I think we should wait for November to do that, so everyone is back in town,” he said, adding that the panel could get the draft ahead of time for review. “We will have him present the report to the public, which I think should occur in January when our occupancy on the island is at its highest. Hopefully we would have a public meeting.”

Brown said the main finding, the most important thing, is Tomasko did not find that Captiva septic systems was a significant contributor to coastal water quality at the present time.

“What he does believe is that a large proportion of the existing septic systems do not meet minimum permitting guidelines at the current time. Many of the systems have less than two feet of separation between the drain field and the water table. A lot of septic systems exist on lots too small to meet the requirements,” he said. “Down the road the septic systems are going to become increasingly inoperable over time, whereas it is not a clear present danger to water quality.”

The principal issue area is in the Village area where there are small lots between the drain field and water table. There are also issues on a number of septic systems on the bay outside of the Village.

Brown said the option for the Village is for people to either rehab, or redo their septic system to make them work effectively.

“I think he believes at some point the Village area is going to be compelled for central septic because they are not going to work effectively long term,” he said.

In addition to thinking of alternatives, and taking all the information collected to make the best recommendation for the community for the best long term waste water strategy, the panel also wants to look at storm water practices.