District, DEP, Rockledge fund water quality improvement project
PALATKA, Fla., June 29, 2017 — Residents of the Breeze Swept subdivision in Rockledge have begun making the switch from septic to sewer, thanks to a cost-share project designed to reduce septic tank pollution in the Indian River Lagoon.
“This is the kind of partnership project that offers long-term impacts to the estuary,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Any time that we can work together to eliminate the use of a large number of septic tanks near the Indian River Lagoon, it’s a victory in the battle to protect the waterway.”
The project allows 138 homeowners to abandon their septic tanks and connect to the new sewer line. Septic tanks can feed algal blooms by discharging nitrogen and phosphorus to the lagoon. Most of the homes in the neighborhood were built in the 1960s and are only two or three blocks away from the estuary.
“The city is very pleased that we have had the opportunity to undertake this project, which is working to improve the health of the Indian River Lagoon,” said Alix Bernard, Rockledge’s acting director of the Office of Planning and Grants.
The district funded $710,685 of the $3.36 million cost-share project, which will benefit the adjacent Indian River Lagoon. Rockledge received an additional $925,000 from Florida Department of Environmental Protection toward the construction of this project.