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Proposed laws may require Jacksonville to eliminate septic tanks, regulate JEA

An environmental protection bill proposed by Florida legislators would require septic tanks to be removed by as early as this summer.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A few bills proposed in the Florida legislature are threatening to cost the City of Jacksonville millions, including one that would require the municipality to eliminate septic tanks and provide sewers throughout the city by this summer.

There are still more than 60,000 septic tanks in Jacksonville. An environmental protection bill proposed by legislators would require them to be removed by as early as this summer.

District 14 Council Member Randy Defoor said this is an unreasonable expectation.

“In my district alone, there are 5,000 septic tanks and last time I looked into the cost of removal, it was like $50,000 per household, so that say that within that time frame, we can remove all septic tanks is not going to happen” Defoor said.

Gregory James lives on Christobel. He said every home on his block has a septic tank, and he’d be in favor of the city removing septic tanks and connecting these houses to the sewage system.

“Any homeowners that can’t afford it and the city,” James said, “it’s already here, you probably wouldn’t even have the issues you have now in some of these homes in this neighborhood.”

HB 1331 would essentially regulate the Jacksonville Electric Authority through the public service commission.

Right now, JEA is an independent authority owned by the city and provides millions to the general fund each year.

If the bill passes, JEA’s only contribution would be to public utility purposes.

“If the state comes in and says you know, ‘City of Jacksonville, you’ll be restricted or you won’t be able to receive any revenue from the JEA,’ then what’s the point of owning the JEA? I think it’s setting it up for a sale is what I think it really amounts to,” Defoor said.

First Coast News reached out to the City of Jacksonville for comment from the city council auditor or Public Works department, but we haven’t heard back.

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