Guest Commentary: Septic tanks to cisterns

A gift to our children and grandchildren

The preservation and conservation of potable (drinking) water is the only issue of which I am aware on which every Marco resident agrees. And, I commend both existing and past city councils and city administrations for their foresight in developing reservoirs and other infrastructure which have placed the city of Marco in an enviable position.

There is more that we, as residents, can do to ensure potable water is available to our children and grandchildren in the future. That is, for those of us yet to be converted from septic tanks to sewer, to take advantage of a grant program available from the South Florida Water Management District to convert our septic tanks to cisterns. The latter of which could then be used to supplement our city potable water system in the watering of lawns.

Personally, I like the suggestion of one our residents to use this water for drip irrigation of shrubs and plants which is even more water-wise. If that individual has a cost estimate for that type of conversion, I would greatly appreciate it if you would contact me at or 394-1612.

According to our city manager, the cost of making this conversation may exceed any savings from our water bills at least in most of our life-spans, but it is the right thing to do for the future of our children and grandchildren. The extra cost, if any, will be offset by a $500 to $750 grant, and you will no longer need to pay the city’s contractor $900 plus or minus for having your septic tank destroyed.

The city needs a minimum of 27 residents to sign up for this program before April 20 (probably earlier) to make the city eligible to receive the grant; therefore, if you are interested, please contact Rony Joel at city hall at 389-5000 ASAP.

Editor’s Note: City Manager Steve Thompson announced Monday that a letter to the residents within the Sheffield sewer district is being prepared to extend the date for response regarding septic tank abandonment from April 10 to May 20 to allow them time to decide if they would like to participate in the cistern program, if approved.

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Comments » 7

deltarome writes:

This issue needs to be pushed further but the city is in a conflict of interest as they make more money the more water we use.
We need to cut water use no matter what.
Reducing the amount of grass we have to water and the amount of water hungry plants is a better step.
The city needs to loosen up the required amount of green space we have in our yards so we can use gravel covered ares on all but our front yards. The city should also come up with a list of drought tolerant grasses and plants so we can move forward in reducing irrigation needs. using our septics for a cistern is not practical for water front lots as it is necessary to keep it filled with water or it might float out of the ground.
If it doesn't rain enough, you then have to fill it with clean drinking water...........

marcoislandres writes:

Dealtarome your septic tank will not float away if it does not have water in it, don't listen to Joel's lies.

happy6 writes:

you wanna'bet///it will lift out of the the propane tanks...

ChuckKiester writes:

Gentlemen, two thoughts: Should septic tanks converted to cisterns indeed "pop" out of the ground for whatever reason (lack of maintenance, or a design flaw of the cistern to ensure that it always contains water supplemented by city water if necessary), then at least they would only be releasing rainwater into the environment. I would also like to make an observation that during the dry season our water table also drops which presumably results in less pressure from below. Chuck Kiester

sailingalong writes:

As usual Roney and the city are misinforming the residents in order to further their own agenda. This conversion is becoming a widely accepted practice across the state. It is being done for a fraction of the cost being stated by the city. Remember Moss's $5,000 per home figure he used to justify not giving the residents reuse water? This is just more of the same obstructionist BS to keep the residents locked into the excessive rates we pay for the potable water that we use for irrigation.

marcoislandres writes:

Your tank will not come out of the ground, if this were true all these houses that are only occupied for 3 months a year would have lost their tanks by now. My neighbor pumped his tank out before he went up north last year and there was no problem.

happy6 writes:

hey...if the water table rises due to storm surge i assure all of you that the tanks will rise! so will the propane tanks...has nothing to do with how long the property is's pure physics....also....if it rises alot your boat will sink or float away..and your pool will flood...come on folks think about the scenario.

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