At the regular meeting on September 22, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved a grant application for Septic to Sewer conversion. This first phase will convert septic systems to central sewer service in a specific area of Weeki Wachee called District A. Roughtly half of Distrtict A or 510 properties will be converted. The total estimated cost for the project is $16,500,000, divided into $3,300,000 each year over the course of 5 years. Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk explained the request for grant funding through various methods.
The request discussed at the September 22nd meeting will be the second-year funding of this multi-year project. Applications have been submitted and are still under review for first-year funding of this project (FY2021).
The anticipated breakdown of funding per year is:
70% Florida Springs (Dept of Environmental Protection) – $2,310,000
15% SWFWMD (Southwest Florida Water Management District)
cooperative funding – $495,000
10% Property owners – $330,000
5% Hernando County Utilities Department (HCUD) – $165,000.
In District A, there are approximately 510 properties affected according to Onderdonk. Once estimated to cost property owners $6000, the new cost is approximately $3,250 or $650 per year.
Chairman John Mitten commended Onderdonk on his and his staff’s “expertise and professionalism,” and remarked that the county’s applications for funding of this project have been “well-graded and well-rated.”
The Weeki Wachee Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) requires Hernando County to reduce the rate of total nitrogen being discharged in groundwater by 195,200 pounds/year within 20 years of the June 2018 finalization of the BMAP. Septic tanks have been identified as a major contributor of nitrogen to groundwater.
The Septic to Sewer project is included in Hernando County Utilities Department’s Capital Improvement plans over the next five years.