“Send some toilet paper to the politicians and tell them to use it to clean up after passing this dirty piece of legislation”, was one of the suggestions which was made at the special meeting on the new Septic Tank Inspection Law (which was embedded within SB 550) which was passed and signed into law during the last session. This meeting was held on Monday evening in the meeting chambers of the County Commission. The meeting was organized and promoted by Richard Harrison, a Jackson County resident and property owner. Around fifty concerned and angry local property owners were in attendance as a strategy was developed which hopefully could lead to a repeal of the troublesome new law.
Harrison described the content of the new law to the group of property owners, and reviewed the measures used to enable passage during the last session of the Florida legislature. He explained that the new law would require regular periodic inspections of every septic tank in the state, and would require an expensive replacement of every septic system installed before 1978 in order to meet current design codes, even if the existing tank was working properly . Additionally, the legislation states that no land based septic disposal system will be allowed at all after 2016. This would require property owners to resort to an expensive pump and carry away for disposal process for septic waste.
The thirteen page septic tank law was inserted into a 171 page Springs Protection Bill as a means of getting it passed. The action was heavily promoted by the state septic tank industry’s lobbying organization, who has been donating funds to politicians and political parties in hope of getting passage of these new requirements. “The motivation was one of selfish greed by the septic tank industry, hidden under the disguise of an environmental issue,” stated Richard Harrison.
The law was passed in the Florida Senate with only four negative votes. Senator Al Lawson voted for passage, but has since stated his opposition to the requirements and disclosed the fact that he was unaware of the content of the bill when he voted for it. He is now working for repeal of the bill during the next session. Representatives Marti Coley and Brad Drake both voted against the bill, and are now working for a replacement bill or repeal action during the next session. “If we do not act now, when the inspectors start coming on your property in a year of so, it will be too late,” Harrison warned.
The net outcome of the meeting was a good exchange of information and expression of concerns. The decision was made to attempt to spark a letter writing campaign in protest of the bill. This campaign would be directed at the Senators who promoted this bill, all of whom are up for re-election this year. Additionally, residents will be encourage to contact any friends or relatives who live in their representative areas and ask them to write in protest of the bill.
All Jackson County property owners are encouraged to write a short letter of protest to :
Sen. Jeff Atwater
(R – 25th Dist) Senate President
824 U.S. Highway 1, Suite 210
N. Palm Beach, Fl 33408
Rep. Larry Cretul
(R – 22nd Dist.) Speaker of the House
6911 SW Hwy 200 Ocala, Fl 34476 Fax 352-873-6566
Sen. Lee Constantine
(R – 22nd Dist) Senate Environmental Committee Chair
378 Centerpointe Circle, Suite 1268
Altamonte Springs, Fl 32701 Fax 407-262-7580
When you write…you might want to include the a piece of toilet paper.
For more information contact Richard Harrison at 850-762-3366.