Sun Sentinel: Failing septic tanks damaging state’s environment; will cost billions of dollars to replace

Article Posted on April 22, 2019

By Benita Goldstein 

Florida has roughly 2.6 million septic tanks and they are a growing threat to the state’s environment.

People don’t see the hazard, “because it is underground, it is out of sight, out of mind,” said Dr. Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University. 

Lapointe launched his first septic-tank study in the mid-1980s in the Florida Keys. More and more nutrients were seeping into the water and killing the coral reefs. Sewage was a major contributor.

The growing levels of nitrogen and phosphorus fed algae that suffocated the coral, consuming oxygen and causing a “dead zone.” The state ordered central sewage collection and treatment in the Keys.

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