Cleaning septic tanks to preserve clean water in SWFL

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Southwest Florida banks on the beaches, weather and water to help the economy survive and thrive.

However, failing septic systems could be one culprit related to unappealing water. Estimates show there are nearly 100,000 in Lee County.

Carlos Cassanova has decades of experience when it comes to pipes.

“In this neighborhood, everybody’s on septic,” said Casanova.

His family owns All Septic All Plumbing and is doing a standard septic tank clean-out in Cape Coral on Friday.

“Well, the function of the septic tank is to hold all the solids that goes before it goes into the drain field, so we protect your drain field,” said Casanova.

Problems arise when homeowners don’t have regular inspections or septic systems fail, allowing that dirty water to leak into our groundwater and thus pollute it.

Florida TaxWatch, a non-profit, think tank focused on your tax-payer dollars took a closer look at the risks of conventional septic tanks and made recommendations for improving wastewater management.

Meg Cannan points to some issues that leaks can prompt.

“If you have all this nitrogen that’s trapped in your groundwater, that’s now coming to the surface, that’s going to feed algal blooms, so that’s one of our big concerns. When we talk about septic tanks and water issues, it cannot only affect what we drink but can affect, you know, the views,” Cannan said.

A study from the Department of Health found more than half of Florida’s septic tanks are over 30 years old, and less than 1% receive routine maintenance.

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