Bay County Commissioners push to swap out septic tanks for sewer lines

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Old and leaky septic tanks have been known to pollute waterways across the state, including at least one lake in Bay County.

“Septic systems that are there aren’t to the quality that they’re built today. They create a lot of basically unnecessary growth of plant life and different things along the shoreline and it chokes out Deer Point,” Bay County Commissioner Doug Moore said.

A new program is working to clear that, by giving roughly 800 homes near Deer Point Lake the option to swap septic for sewer.

“So this will allow us to go out and attack that problem right around where our drinking water is in the Deer Point Lake Preservation Area,” Moore said.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is putting up $1,000,000 towards permitting and designing the Bay County North Bay Water Quality Improvement Program.

“They are going to be able to tap in and be able to have a better water system,” Moore said. “It will improve the quality of the water for the entire community. And it will allow us to slowly and methodically continue to take out the septic tanks that are around deer point watershed.”

Hooking up to the sewer lines won’t be free. Prices will vary for each homeowner based on where the closest spot is. But just because this program will be available and offered to the existing homes, it’s not a requirement for any of them to switch from septic to sewer.

It’s a very different situation for the new developments in the area like the Hodges Bayou Plantation in Southport. All new houses won’t have the choice to go septic or sewer. It will be strictly sewer.

Officials said the design phase is almost finished. Once complete, it will take a few months to find a contractor and then roughly a year to fully implement the new system in the area.

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