What’s going on?

Nearly one-third of the state’s population uses septic tanks, representing 12% of the total number of septic tanks in the U.S. Unlike central sewers, property owners with septic systems are personally responsible for monitoring and maintaining them.

Those systems will have a lifespan ranging from 15-25 years, but many are still used well past the recommended guidelines. This can lead to wastewater leaking into our waterways.

Why it matters.

Untreated waste making its way into the flow of water can contribute to the nutrient pollution that fuels the algal blooms that have plagued Florida’s waters.

Florida also has a relatively high water table, usually sitting just a few feet below septic tanks. The longer it takes water to filter through the ground, the more contaminants are removed. Our fast-draining landscape can lead to fewer contaminants being removed.

Flooding and sea level rise can raise the water level even more, exacerbating those problems.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, “proper design, construction and maintenance of systems are important to help protect Florida’s ground water, which provides 90% of the state’s drinking water.”

During the 2021 Florida Legislative Session, lawmakers proposed that more than $127 million go toward converting septic systems to central sewer systems.

What you can do: