Septic Moratorium Briefing


May 17, 2018 BRIEFING FROM The Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition

The most important way to heal the Indian River Lagoon is to reduce Nitrogen – no matter where it comes from. Sources include leaky septic tanks, sewage releases, residential fertilizer, storm water runoff (that contains plant materials and Nitrogen from fertilizer) and muck that regularly releases nitrogen into the Lagoon. All of these problems need to be addressed – this is not an “either – or” proposition.

Right now, Brevard County Commissioners are considering a 5-month moratorium on installation of conventional septic tank systems in much of the county where the discharge is likely to reach the Lagoon.

Under the temporary moratorium proposal, there would be a five-month ban on the permitting and installation of conventional septic systems on the beachside areas of Brevard County and on Merritt Island, as well as in mainland areas within 50 meters (164 feet) of the Indian River Lagoon system and its tributaries.

Even a properly functioning conventional septic system reduces nitrogen pollution by only 30 to 40 percent.

And while this is going on, the Florida Dept. of Health is approving Brevard septic permits at double the rate of removals and upgrades in the 10-year Lagoon cleanup plan.

Septic systems are the biggest single source of new nitrogen loading into the lagoon, contributing almost 1/3 of the total nitrogen input into the lagoon. And, today the County is actively permitting more new septic systems.

Newer advanced treatment septic systems will still be allowed; they reduce nitrogen going into the Lagoon by approximately 65 to 80%.

During the moratorium the County will research ways to create long-term requirements to appropriately reduce septic tank pollution into the Indian River Lagoon.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE BEFORE MAY 22: If you support the moratorium, Please call all the County Commissioners to advocate FOR adoption of the draft Moratorium. For phone numbers, visit:

Commissioners against the moratorium: Isnardi, Tobia

Commissioners in favor of the moratorium: Barfield, Pritchett, Smith

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