St. Johns Riverkeeper suggests different approach to septic tank problem

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The septic tank phasing out program has gotten a big hook lately because the cost is higher than planned in the city of Jacksonville.

The St. John’s Riverkeeper suggests a different approach to solving what they call the multibillion dollar problem.

The St. Johns River has long contained pollutants that could be harmful – the algal bloom of years past and fish deaths from increased fertilizer runoff, illegal dumping, and thousands of the city’s failing septic tanks.

“There are approximately 15 to 16,000 septic tanks that are too close to the Jacksonville waterways and need to be removed,” said Lisa Rinaman, riverkeeper at St. John’s. “There are several parts of the city.”

One of the neighborhoods Rinaman was referring to is the Christobel neighborhood on the northside of Jacksonville. Residents learned this week that there was not enough money left to remove hundreds of septic tanks and replace them with urban sewers. It’s a promise given to them in 1968 when Jacksonville expanded its city limits.


“Here we are in this community – a black community – we are at the end of the barrel again. ‘You can wait. They’ll make a little noise now, but they’ll calm down later, ”said Northside resident Yah Ya Kariem. “But we cannot calm down. We must put pressure on them until they do what is necessary to make this area viable. “

Rinaman said she was disappointed to learn that the city now needs to find another source of income to connect these families to the city’s sanitation services.

“It just adds one more health threat, on top of many in these areas, and we are all connected,” Rinaman said.

She said the city should approach the problem from a broader point of view in order to relieve the city’s burden alone.

“It’s something local governments and state governments and federal resources have to work on together because we’ve dumped the can in the street for too long, and it makes our rivers sick and it makes our citizens sick,” Rinaman said.


On Thursday, News4Jax I-TEAM asked Jacksonville Mayor’s office Lenny Curry if finding the money to get out of the Christobel neighborhood septic tank was a priority for its administration but had no answer at the time of publication receive.

Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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