New sewer technology could save city $ 250 million by phasing out septic tanks

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Some of Jacksonville’s aging septic tanks – which have often been responsible for the pollution runoff into Florida’s waterways – may soon be replaced with a sewage system using new technology that would save the city money hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to a new report from JEA, the phase-out of septic tanks in 32 identified neighborhoods would have cost about $ 1 billion, but that number would drop to $ 743 million using vacuum sewer technology.

“One of the main advantages of the vacuum sewer system is that it will disturb residents much less during construction,” said JEA spokesperson Karen McAllister. “The excavation is shallow, where construction is currently in the middle of the road, and the excavation can go from 3 to 20 feet deep. “

Using a suction station, suction lines and a valve well, JEA would be able to draw the wastewater through the pipes, rather than using a conventional gravity sewer which requires deep trenches and various elevation changes for sewage to drain.

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New sewer technology could be used for the phasing out of septic tanks. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.)

“Some of the other benefits for residents are that they take less time to build, require fewer installations, and produce less odor,” McAllister said.

According to the new report from JEA:

  • A total of 22,998 non-drained plots were assessed

  • 97% of them (22,395) were recommended to be served by a vacuum collection system

  • The others were recommended for a gravity collection system or an advanced on-site treatment system

Work to phase out septic tanks has already started in the Biltmore and Beverly Hills neighborhoods. The Christobel neighborhood is the next community planned for the phase-out of septic tanks.

The Florida legislature recently awarded Jacksonville $ 6 million for septic tank phase-out work.

City council members also voted in March to invest $ 14.4 million in new municipal funding as well as $ 12.5 million from the JEA in sewer construction projects.

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

About Dianne Stinson

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