Author Topic: Fixing Jacksonville’s Septic Issues Would Cost $3B  (Read 488 times)

marcuscnelson

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Charles Hunter

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Re: Fixing Jacksonville’s Septic Issues Would Cost $3B
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2020, 04:23:44 PM »
A bit disappointed in C/m Salem's rather elitist comment:
Quote
Councilman Ron Salem said he questions if it’s even worth replacing septic systems for houses in some areas.

“It just blows my mind that we're spending those kind of dollars hooking up water and sewer to a home that's worth less than what we just spent to hook it up,” Salem said.
It's about the pollution going into our waterways and groundwater.

Where I live (Gilmore) it will likely be expensive, more expensive than it should be. When the City reconstructed Fort Caroline Road a few years ago, they put in a sewer force main and water lines and fire hydrants, but did not put in sewer collection lines. During the design of the reconstruction project, I tried to get the City to add sewer lines, but they were squeezing every BJP penny and did not want to add to the project cost.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Fixing Jacksonville’s Septic Issues Would Cost $3B
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2020, 05:07:04 PM »
I really don't know about this one. This price tag's about $700m less than the entire BJP program, adjusted for inflation. Even if you spread this cost over 20 years, that's still $150m every year just for septic replacement. And obviously this is something you're not easily going to convince suburbanites in Mandarin or Southside to support. Salem's comment sounds rude, but it is a serious concern. And of course in a place so dedicated to the idea of conservatism, "but the pollution" isn't necessarily going to be a strong argument, even if it's entirely true.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Fixing Jacksonville’s Septic Issues Would Cost $3B
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2020, 10:01:37 PM »
I really don't know about this one. This price tag's about $700m less than the entire BJP program, adjusted for inflation. Even if you spread this cost over 20 years, that's still $150m every year just for septic replacement. And obviously this is something you're not easily going to convince suburbanites in Mandarin or Southside to support. Salem's comment sounds rude, but it is a serious concern. And of course in a place so dedicated to the idea of conservatism, "but the pollution" isn't necessarily going to be a strong argument, even if it's entirely true.

FYI, JEA did a "mandated" sewer project in Mandarin along part of Scott Mill and Mandarin Roads a few years ago because failing septic tanks were dumping into area creeks.  I recall around 400 homes were impacted.  And, it seems the way it works is either the home owner elects to hook up immediately or, when a septic tank fails, the homeowner can't replace it but must then hook up to JEA.  I also believe JEA offers to "finance" the connection fee over several years.

One thing, aside from the cost of maintaining a septic tank (occasional pump outs required), lift station (typically replacing the pump for $500 to $750 every 2 to 4 years) and drain field (life is typically 20 to 30 years if tree roots and the water table don't impact it first), is that more and more new or replacement drain fields are being required to be "above ground" (typically requires a large rectangular mound of dirt with prescribed slopes and seeded grass at 2 to 4 feet above grade for an initial cost that is typically $10K to $20K).  This is both unsightly and takes up a lot of real estate that can't be planted with much more than grass.  What is the value of all that?

Plenty of owners would likely prefer JEA if they could get connected, especially if "financed" - to preserve their land use, avoid responsibility for septic systems and to eliminate pollution of our land and water.

The "cost" to JEA is paid back in connection fees and monthly sewer charges.  If anything, this should add to JEA's bottom line if their charges are covering their expenses plus.  I don't see a cost to taxpayers unless there are homeowners that the City is subsidizing.  If so, what's the difference in that and spending several hundred million dollars to run or upgrade utilities including sewer to developments like Lot J and the District?
« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 10:31:38 PM by jaxlongtimer »

itsfantastic1

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Re: Fixing Jacksonville’s Septic Issues Would Cost $3B
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2020, 11:10:01 AM »
It looks like JEA is following the old WSEA plan for areas to consider for septic removal identified here: https://www.coj.net/departments/independent-boards-and-agencies/docs/water-and-sewer-expansion-authority/wsea-conceptual-facilities-plan200811x17.aspx. Their first three neighborhoods not funded by the BJP were Cristobel C, Biltmore Heights and Beverly Hills.

As a Mandarin resident in one of those areas, I've been trying to keep up with JEAs progress. I look forward to the day JEA brings in sewer to my neighborhood but at their current rate of progress/funding; I highly doubt it will be anytime this decade (maybe next two decades). It seems that JEA is using the old WSEA neighborhood map and primarily focusing on the areas that have been historically under-served, areas they can bring on both water and sewer at the same time (highest ROI with new charges, water and sewer) and septic failure rate/pollution contributor. I find this way of rolling out the program to make sense.

It seems like the speed at which things move is hampered by three things; the time it takes 80% of the neighborhood to vote on bringing service in, funding for the project once 80% is reached and the planning/engineering work. Now I don't know if the funding issue cause the engineering issues to stretch out over multiple years because it isn't funded full time or if the projects are so complex that it does take multiple years to design a system and schedule for each neighborhood.

I think if framed properly and communication and updates are given regularly, this upgrade is definitely worth it for the city as a whole and work on some promises of consolidation but I fear many councilpersons will just look at the cost (like Salem) and go it is not worth it; while voting to give JSO an additional $40/50 million per year.

bl8jaxnative

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Re: Fixing Jacksonville’s Septic Issues Would Cost $3B
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2020, 05:43:37 PM »

good points about septic.  In this case:

a) Hookup was promised as part of consolidation & should've been done by now
b) I suspect a lot of these areas don't have existing city sewer that's easily hooked up to leading to the costs
c) For a household making $60K, $120K in a $150K, $355K house, hooking up is possible when it comes to finance.  I'm not so sure that's doable for working class folks that work hard just to cover the mortgage on a house that's work $60K.