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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