A Septic Issue for Jackson County

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Marianna- State lawmakers passed legislation to relieve septic tank owners by doing away with the unpopular law that required five year tank inspections and repairs. But people in Jackson County may not get the same relief.

Though the tank inspection program is optional for most counties, counties that sit on a first magnitude spring, like Jackson County, have to opt out of the program. The county has until January 1 to make the decision, and county commissioners are not taking it lightly.

"We do have a first magnitude spring here, it's blue springs which is one of the gems of our county and we're very concerned about that but at the same time we know that we've had septic tanks operating here in Jackson County for decades now with no problem"
said Jackson County Commissioner, Jeremy Branch.

The Health Department oversees the mandates that would stem from this program. "You would certainly want [tanks] regulated to the point that the danger of contamination from septic tank systems is minimized to the the [lowest] extent possible" said William Long, the Jackson County Health Department Administrator.

But Long said the large majority of septic tank owners in Jackson County, an estimated 19,000 homes, take care of their tanks without having to be told or inspected and have been for years.

Many in the area feel the mandate is intrusive, expensive and unnecessary. "We were talking about anywhere from 5 to 15 thousand dollars out of the pockets of hard working Jackson County families. That's too much overstep when there has been no scientific proof that septic tanks are failing and causing a contamination problem here in North Florida" said Branch.

But, county commissioners plan to hold several hearings on the issue so everyone's voice can be heard. A date has not yet been set.


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  • by Anonymous Location: Panama City Beach on May 16, 2012 at 10:41 PM
    I'm going to have to call BS on this whole septic tank inspection matter. These septic tanks have been around for decades and have not caused a problem. Why is something made out of nothing? Couldn't this have waited until it was proven a problem? The person that came up with this law should be drummed out of the state. Septic tanks are probably less of a danger than sewage systems, at least they are no more of a danger. I hope the people of Jackson County get relief from this stupid, worthelss piece of baloney legislation.
  • by Nick Location: Dellwood on May 16, 2012 at 10:15 AM
    Living is Blue Springs Basin requires a unique well and frequent water testing due to farm run off. Now you expect us to believe that our septic tanks are causing contamination to our waterways. You people in the government need to start using some common sense.
  • by Anonymous Location: Florida on May 16, 2012 at 10:07 AM
    Hats off to you Jennifer!!!! You are the first one I've known that even knows what an MSD is!!! I also own one, an MSD can be expensive BUT IT'S THE LAW!!!!
  • by Russ Location: Panama City on May 16, 2012 at 08:48 AM
    Seems to me that monitoring wells could be used near the lakes so you can see a problem and correct it before it contaminates the lake. It would be more effective than checking septic tanks once every 5 years.
  • by Houston Location: Marianna on May 16, 2012 at 07:56 AM
    This is BS and will work to get all the commisioners that do not kill it replaced. They may say you have to but they can't kill ya and eat ya just don't do it!
  • by Jennifer Location: FL on May 16, 2012 at 04:39 AM
    Well it seems to me that this is another way for the GOVERNMENT to take over another right. ARE THEY GONA PAY FOR THIS? I THINK NOT!!! But to the other comment about the houseboats. Yes I agree but when u say all are not using, u r incorrect. We have one there and we do use a (MSD). So it is not all.
  • by Charles Location: Greenwood on May 15, 2012 at 08:47 PM
    Ii would suggest that our county commision remember that elections come before Jan 1st and if they don't get rid of this intrusive expensive regulation we the voters can surely get rid of them.Maybe some new county commisioners can remember who they are supposed to work for.
  • by Duane Location: florida on May 15, 2012 at 04:06 PM
    Why should ANYONE have to have tanks inspected? Look at the number of House boats on the Apalachicola river that is dumping "raw sewage" into the river daily!! Non of these house boats have MSD's (marine sanitation devices) The FWC will not enforce the laws, They place the blame on EPA...The EPA doesn't enforce the laws.....They blame it on FWC. All the while raw sewage is flowing down stream into the Bay! If your oyster or fish has a certain "TWANG TASTE" to it..........IT AIN'T BP! IT AIN'T OIL!
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