MARCO ISLAND — 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.”