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OSTDS Management: An overview of EPA management models, case studies, and financing options Jaime Boswell Environmental Scientist Charlotte Harbor National.

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Presentation on theme: "OSTDS Management: An overview of EPA management models, case studies, and financing options Jaime Boswell Environmental Scientist Charlotte Harbor National."— Presentation transcript:

1 OSTDS Management: An overview of EPA management models, case studies, and financing options Jaime Boswell Environmental Scientist Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program

2 What is an OSTDS (On-site Sewage Treatment and Disposal System)?  Conventional Septic Systems  Aerobic Treatment Units  Advanced Systems  Cluster Systems

3 Do we need management of OSTDS?  114,800 septic systems in Lee County Pre-1983 systems are not properly sited Pre-1983 systems are not properly sited  8675 new systems in 2006  Homeowners with little understanding of proper maintenance  Sensitive Environment  Increasing Nutrients  Elevated Fecal Coliform

4 OSTDS Management  Incorporates plans for future  Protects Human Health  Protects Environmental Health  Helps with groundwater recharge  General cost savings compared to sewer expansion in low/medium density areas  Can play a part in watershed management and nutrient reductions

5 Are increasing nutrients and high bacteria counts a result of septic systems?  Sources are unknown sewer, animals, and other nutrient sources. sewer, animals, and other nutrient sources.  Septic systems non-point source of pollution non-point source of pollution expensive and difficult to trace specific sources through monitoring. expensive and difficult to trace specific sources through monitoring.  Septic systems require maintenance homeowners are not aware of proper system care homeowners are not aware of proper system care  Current LCHD practices for siting septic systems has significantly improved older systems may have high (undetected) failure rate. older systems may have high (undetected) failure rate.

6 Operational Failure: Wastewater is not removed from homeWastewater is not removed from home Can affect families health and quality of life – generally taken care of right awayCan affect families health and quality of life – generally taken care of right away Functional Failure: Wastewater is not properly treated prior to dischargeWastewater is not properly treated prior to discharge Can affect communities health and water quality – generally goes unnoticed by homeowner.Can affect communities health and water quality – generally goes unnoticed by homeowner. On-site systems can experience two types of failure:

7 EPA on OSTDS Management “if a community chooses to utilize on-site technology to handle its wastewater, the public must be insured, via a sound management program, that all systems are operating and functioning properly ….the public must be insured that their health and the environment are being protected via professional management of the systems, just as they receive the same protection in the use of a large central sewer system.”

8 Is on-site playing a “formal role” in Lee County Waste Water Management?  Recent CDM report to SFWMD presumes sewer expansion to all Lee County Utilities service areas by 2050 – is this realistic/cost-effective?  Onsite systems are a viable, environmentally friendly, cost-effective, long-term solution if designed, sited, and maintained properly  Low – Medium density communities may benefit from a plan for OSTDS wastewater management

9 EPA Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered Wastewater Treatment Systems  5 Management Models  Variable levels of involvement by homeowners, maintenance providers, and regulatory agencies  Level of environment and public health protection increases with each level.  Communities pick and choose components of each model to suit individual needs.

10  Prescribed Criteria for Systems  Homeowner Education  Inventory of Systems  Reminders of Maintenance Needs  NO Compliance required Model 1: Homeowner Awareness

11  Inventory of Systems  Service Contracts  Service Contract Tracking System  NO built in compliance enforcement mechanism Model 2: Maintenance Contracts

12  Inventory of Systems  Tracking System  Performance and Monitoring Criteria  Revocable/Renewable Permit  Compliance is Enforceable  In effect for commercial and advanced treatment systems in Florida Model 3: Operating Permits

13 Model 4: RME Operation & Maintenance  Maintenance and Operations are performed by a Responsible Management Entity (RME) Must be bonded, but can be public or privateMust be bonded, but can be public or private  Ensures consistent performance and maintenance of on-site systems

14 Model 5: RME Ownership  Responsible Management Entities own, operate and maintain individual and cluster systems within specified service area.  Provides greatest level of protection to the homeowner and to the environment  Similar to central sewer management

15 Case Studies  8 Case Studies Popn  Economic analysis of a hypothetical community Cost effective Less $ up front

16 Charlotte County, FL (popn. 140,000 in 2000)  Problem – abundance of relatively small lots in areas with high water table and poor soil conditions 1988 State rejected county’s comprehensive plan -> water and sewer study 1988 State rejected county’s comprehensive plan -> water and sewer study Proposed sewer expansion to all service areas met extreme opposition due to cost and unsubstantiated need Proposed sewer expansion to all service areas met extreme opposition due to cost and unsubstantiated need

17 Charlotte County, FL  Solutions Revised Comprehensive Plan in 1997 Revised Comprehensive Plan in 1997 Mini-expansions of sewer service Mini-expansions of sewer service Require aerobic systems on small lots and lots near surface water, or density reduction through purchase of double lots with conservation easement – taxed for single lot Require aerobic systems on small lots and lots near surface water, or density reduction through purchase of double lots with conservation easement – taxed for single lot Planned to develop septic system management plan Planned to develop septic system management plan Planned to develop water quality monitoring program Planned to develop water quality monitoring program County Ordinance approved Oct 6, County Ordinance approved Oct 6, 1998.

18 Point of Sale Inspections  Massachusetts  New Mexico  Minnesota  Arizona  Sedgwick County, KS  Washtenaw County, MI  Jefferson County, CO  Boulder County, CO – proposed

19 Greatest Challenge: Obtaining Adequate Funding  Sources of funding (survey from 60 agencies) 40% User and Other Fees40% User and Other Fees 24% Property and Other Taxes24% Property and Other Taxes 17% Operational Fees17% Operational Fees 12% Other funding (includes federal grants)12% Other funding (includes federal grants) 6% State Grants 6% State Grants  Section 319 Non-point Source Management Program  Clean Water State Revolving Fund

20 Solutions from other States  PA – uses state funds to provide low interest loans to homeowners for repairs  TX – fines from pollution violations go towards funding reduction programs  MA Tax credit for homeowners that upgrade systems to meet state standards Tax credit for homeowners that upgrade systems to meet state standards CWSRF scoring procedures allows for OSTDS management plans to be competitive CWSRF scoring procedures allows for OSTDS management plans to be competitive  WA – allows CWSRF to fund counties with low interest loans that in turn provide low interest loans to individual homeowners for repairs

21 Local OSTDS Workshop  Participants generally agreed that a comprehensive mandatory maintenance program would be beneficial, keeping in mind the following critical aspects; funding source (e.g., taxes, SRF, grants) funding source (e.g., taxes, SRF, grants) disposal of septage waste (municipal treatment) – sustainability disposal of septage waste (municipal treatment) – sustainability mechanism of enforcement and education mechanism of enforcement and education mechanism of intergovernmental coordination mechanism of intergovernmental coordination Continued research to ensure proper siting, for example in regards to sea level rise and wetlands Continued research to ensure proper siting, for example in regards to sea level rise and wetlands  In general pre-1983 systems are not meeting today’s standards, and generally these older systems should be upgraded. point of sale inspections point of sale inspections central sewer - more effective in some areas central sewer - more effective in some areas Should include this as part of BMAP for TMDLs Should include this as part of BMAP for TMDLs

22 Resources  National Onsite Demonstration Program   National Environmental Services System   National Small Flows Clearing House   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency   Florida Onsite Wastewater Association 


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