I-TEAM: Jacksonville to allocate more money to septic tank phase-out program

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Jacksonville is moving forward with plans to fix a broken promise by sending people to the city’s sewers instead of septic tanks. This could end up costing billions over many years using both federal and local tax dollars.

Right now, the plan is advancing quarter by block. Mayor Donna Deegan announced Monday in the city budget that the city is preparing to spend another $17.5 million to sewer into areas where septic tanks are causing environmental problems.

News4JAX caught up with Arron Jacobs in northwest Jacksonville. The city calls it the Christobel area, near Edgewater and Lem Turner. Arron and people we’ve spoken to in the area say it’s known as the Lower. The 78-year-old man has lived next door since second grade.

Jacobs showed us his backyard. He says it’s a drainage field for his septic tank and he can’t put anything heavy on it because he was told it would collapse. “I think this area has been abandoned and kicked for at least 25 years. We had to remove the septic here,” Jacobs said. “It should have been done a long time ago.

Jacobs and his friends tell us they are delighted to hear that the area will be next in line to phase out septic tanks. They will be able to connect to the JEA sewer lines free of charge. Once connected, they will pay a monthly sewer fee along with their JEA water bill.

MAP: A 2016 city map showing all areas expected to be phased out with septic tanks.

The News4JAX I-TEAM has been following the septic tank phase-out since it was first approved by the City Council in 2016. It wasn’t a quick process. JEA must obtain the consent of 70% of the area’s residents before they begin construction.

One area, the Biltmore, is completed with 214 connected homes. Work continues in other areas such as East and West Beverly Hills.

The next neighborhoods in line include those along the Ortega River, near Emerson, in St. Nicholas, and Julington Creek.

Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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