An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Orange County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Orange County launches site to explain new septic rules in Wekiva Basin

News Image

Orange County government launched a new page on its web site this week to help homeowners understand confusing new septic rules in the Wekiva Basin, an area that includes neighborhoods near Apopka and in Pine Hills.

New rules for property owners in the Wekiva Basin became effective July 1.

The 2016 Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to adopt strategies to improve water quality in the aquifer that feeds the springs and develop plans to prevent and remove pollution.

Some of those plans have been controversial — and could potentially be costly.

State scientists and environmental groups contend that seepage from 60,000 residential septic tanks within the Wekiva River basin is a big contributor of nitrates — a pollutant — in both the river and the springs, which are popular venues for canoeing, swimming, tubing and other water sports.

Only lawn and agricultural fertilizer account for more, they say.

The new rules, enacted by the Florida Legislature, will require some Wekiva-area property owners with septic tanks to upgrade to more complex and expensive systems to treat nitrogen pollutants or connect to sanitary sewers if available.

Conservation groups say damaging pollution percolates from residential septic systems and flows through the environmentally sensitive Wekiva River basin, imperiling the long-term health of the springs, the river and its tributaries.

The site includes answers to frequently asked technical questions and helps explain a BMAP, the so-called "blueprint" for restoring the impaired waters.

Homeowners can learn if their property is located in the area subject to new state rules by visiting the website and using an interactive maptyping their property address into a search window.

The page also provides links to helpful fact sheets for home-builders, Realtors and local governments.

Source: Orlando Sentinel