Septic tank as rain water storage?

City Manager Steve Thompson addresses the idea and other city issues in Weekly Update, March 18

— Septic Tank Conversion. The City of Marco Island received several emails from citizens inquiring about a grant from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the conversion of a septic tank to a cistern. SFWMD offers several grants throughout the year.The city has taken advantage of these grants very successfully offsetting several costs for the Septic Tank Replacement Program (STRP).

The grant question recently raised by several citizens is the Water Savings Incentive Program (WaterSIP). In 2004, the City of Marco Island did obtain this grant from this program. The eligibility of this grant is for Public or Private Water Providers, homeowner’s associations, or large users. Additionally, the eligibility requirements indicate that the applicant must adhere to the current laws and regulations. This grant is considered a match grant, therefore 50% or more of the total costs for the project are to be matched with funds or in-kind services. The funding cannot be used for projects that are research, design, educational, study, test, exploratory, pilot, or demonstrative in nature. Mr. Joel provided the grant information to the condominium associations on February 26, 2009. This is when the City was notified of this year’s grant. The issue that many are asking about is the use of this grant for conversion of a septic tank to a cistern. Current rules do not allow septic tanks to be used for cisterns.

This issue was raised early in the Septic Tank Replacement Program and the State Health Department explained they would not allow it. An article in the Miami Herald has showcased a local resident that has obtained approval from the State Health Department through a variance. Our staff has contacted the Health Department locally to learn if the Keys variance changes the past direction from them regarding this issue, and they have responded.

The Collier County Health Department’s response is as follows, “The CCHD has not

received any application requests for any variance to use a septic tank for any other purpose. We continue to work with the City of Marco Island in the transition from septic systems to connection to the municipal sewer system. Any request for a variance from 64E-6 FAC would be forwarded to the State DOH for inclusion into thenext variance meeting. Final agency action would be sent after the variance meeting and the acceptance or denial. CCHD would review the request and provide our recommendation of the request. Recommendation would not be for the use of a septic system for any other use.”

Check back to for more on the issue from residents, county and state officials

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 10

Fossil writes:

CCHD has always been in cahoots with the City on this STRP scheme to increase revenues. There is no way that without tremendous pressure from our citizens, will the CCHD ever approve any varience that may reduce revenues. The lack of concern for water availability is political and has nothing to do with our health. Common sense and conservation always takes a back seat to money.

marcoislandres writes:

I read that article in the Miami herald and it makes sense to me, why not store our rainwater in tanks we already have and used it to water our lawns. With the cost of water on this Island you will see less green and more rock in the coming years, this would be one way to keep it green.

MarcoBound writes:

Sounds like a recipe for poo-juice

sailingalong writes:

The city will spend thousands of dollars and hours of energy studying the LCEC takeover but won't spend a dime or 10 minutes studying a program that could actually help the citizens. The water system is the cash cow that is providing income for their grand programs. They won't do anything to reduce that income.

MarcoJimbo writes:

Follow the money. The City makes a tidy profit forcing you to irrigate with their overpriced drinking water. They will never consider providing residents with raw (untreated) or gray (treated sewer effluent) water, much less allowing you to collect and store rainwater. They talk a good game of conservation and environmentalism, but their actions don't square with their words.

sailingalong writes:

Steve Thompson needs to read his statement above that: "CCHD would review the request and provide our recommendation of the request. Recommendation would not be for the use of a septic system for any other use.” He now tells us how that "There is no resistance at the staff level to assisting residents with a conversion effort" How does recommending that a septic system be not be used for any other use support his statement that there is no resistance at the staff level to assisting residents with a conversion?

Does anybody really wonder why most of the citizens have no faith in the integrity of city hall and are disgusted with Mr. Thompson? Who has less intergity, Geithner or Thompson? Looks like a tie to me.

marcoislandres writes:

Let me get this straight the City told us the STRP was necessary because of the environment but saving water, a precious resource is not.
I has become clear to me that the City is in the business of selling water and making money and does not care one bit about the environment, it was all a bunch of BS.
Ed Issler I would like to here from you why saving rain water in the rainy season to use for watering lawns in the dry season is a bad idea.

sailingalong writes:

Sorry, Issler is out to lunch.

ezeee writes:

Last time I checked I was paying $3.62 per thousand gallons for water and after checking I find myself and the vast majority of the homes don’t have gutters all around their homes to collect the water, plus the way the cost of electricity is going up it could cost more to operate and maintain the pump then the savings will be.

We will collect most of the water during the rainy season when we don’t need it for irrigation, unless of course the proponents of this plan on drinking it and bathing in it. It just does not get me excited.

The water storage system the city of Marco Island has in place is more then adequate, I think I’ll pass on this idea.

liberator100 writes:

Finally a great idea we can all agree on! It is a shame to destroy septic tanks when they can be readily used as water cisterns. Water from downspouts can be easily chanelled into a cleaned septic tank and the water pumped back out for irrigation. The City better get behind this idea quick. It is a winner.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.