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CCP: Poll shows support for septic-to-sewer conversion

By Staff | Apr 15, 2020

The Captiva Community Panel’s “straw poll” to determine the amount of public support for a possible central sewer program concluded on April 7. The proposed plan would provide central sewer service to all areas of Captiva outside the South Seas Island Resort. South Seas already has central sewer service provided by an FGUA processing facility located within the resort area.

Properties outside South Seas rely mostly upon conventional septic systems. The possible central sewer program would extend Sanibel’s central sewer service to all areas of Captiva outside South Seas. A new main sewer line would be installed from Blind Pass across Captiva to the entrance of the South Seas Resort. The sewer line would transport wastewater from Captiva properties outside South Seas to Sanibel’s Donax wastewater treatment facility. The Donax facility treats wastewater to the highest pollutant removal standards now in existence and would have ample capacity to treat all Captiva wastewater.

Sanibel would treat Captiva’s wastewater under an interlocal agreement between Lee County and Sanibel. The total project cost would be funded by creation of a municipal taxing authority approved by a majority of property owners in the proposed Captiva service area.

Initial estimates provided by the TKW engineering consulting firm are that property owners in the service area would need to be assessed on average $2,000 annually over 30 years to pay back all the costs associated with implementing the new central sewer program. In addition, property owners would pay Sanibel’s existing customer processing fees, currently an average of about $800 annually per property.

The CCP polled all of the more than 500 properties in the proposed service area by conventional mail and email to assess the number of property owners possibly in favor of continuing to move forward on a proposed sewer conversion plan. The poll was intended to determine if there is sufficient public support to justify continuing effort by the CCP to develop all the plans and information that would be needed by the public to evaluate creation of taxing authority. The poll was not intended to be a “binding” vote.

Responses to the straw poll showed substantial public support for the possible sewer program. Sixty-six percent of the responders said they either “favor” or “strongly favor” the proposed central sewer program, while 27 percent either “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the proposal; 8 percent were neutral or had no opinion.

Based on the results, the CCP decided at its April 14 meeting that efforts to develop the central sewer program should continue. Important next steps will include development of detailed engineering plans and cost estimates. These are needed so property owners can have more confidence in the cost estimates versus the currently available estimates which are only the broad estimates included in TKW’s 2018 study of Captiva’s long-term wastewater alternatives.

Detailed engineering plans are needed to allow public evaluation of any negative impacts the central sewer system components might have on Captiva or individual properties. Such plans are also needed to allow public evaluation of potential community disruption during construction of the central sewer system. The CCP directed its Wastewater Committee to begin exploration of how these engineering plans might be developed and funded.

All documents used to conduct the straw poll are posted at captivacommunitypanel.com.

Questions about the straw poll or the possible central sewer plan may be directed to Wastewater Committee Chair Jay Brown at jaywbrown1@icloud.com.

Source: Captiva Community Panel