February 13, 2015


“Fountains of Youth”


“Fountains of Yuk!”

The Florida Clean Water Network announces the release of its new statewide report on septic tanks. It includes a narrative report and a spreadsheet that highlights some important facts about septic tanks and their impact on Florida waters. The spreadsheet is organized county by county for easy access to local data. The report can be found at the following links:

With 2.6 million septic tanks, it’s no wonder that many of Florida’s springs, lakes, rivers and bays have excessive nutrient and bacteria levels. Even though the problem is well documented by numerous sources over the past several years, the Legislature and Governor’s office have consistently been unwilling to take decisive action to address the public health threats and water quality violations being caused by too many septic tanks across the state.

“In fact since 2011, state policies have gone backwards on the issue,” says Linda Young, author of the report and Executive Director of the Florida Clean Water Network. “Figuratively speaking, Florida’s septic tank policies are “backed-up” and the spillage is everywhere. “

The report summarizes state policy changes over the past 40 years and offers a few examples of places where mindless use of septic tanks is now causing extreme water quality problems. Some of these problems are examined more closely to show some successes and failures.

There’s a large section on success stories where real progress is being made, by hook and by crook, on the local level. It sets the imagination free to envision what could be accomplished if local governments and utilities’ hands weren’t tangled by inconsistent and lax state laws and regulations.

“Every single local government and utility representative that I interviewed while writing this report, gave me increasing hope that we can solve this very, very serious problem,” said Young. “Yes it will cost money and yes it will require changes in the way we handle growth in Florida, but the effort will be rewarding for many decades to come.”

The report closes with six recommendations for concrete actions that can be taken to turn Florida in a more sustainable direction and reverse the damage already done to our waterways. There is also a county by county spreadsheet that provides pertinent details on septic tank use and impacts at a glance.


About the Author

Linda Young has been the executive director of the Clean Water Network of Florida since 1994. From 1989 to 1997, she founded and published a monthly statewide environmental newspaper. Over the past twenty three years, she has co-founded some of the most long-lasting and effective environmental organizations in the Southeast, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and C.A.T.E. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Southern Oregon University and a M.A. in Political Science/Campaign Management from the University of West Florida.

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