Oak Hill to break ground on septic-to-sewer project
The City of Oak Hill breaks ground on Wednesday, Jan. 19, to convert septic systems in Indian Harbor Estates to a more environmentally friendly central sewage collection system. The event will take place at 11 a.m. at the corner of East Ariel Road and U.S. 1, Oak Hill.
The collaborative project – involving the City of Oak Hill, Volusia County, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Indian River Lagoon Council and the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) will improve Mosquito Lagoon’s water quality. This by converting approximately 285 residential septic systems near the lagoon to a central sewage collection system.
According to FDEP, septic systems in urban and coastal areas can significantly impact resources, in residential communities with tidal canals. Septic systems don’t always adequately remove nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. This result in aquatic growth such as algal blooms that shade out marine vegetation and deplete fish life in waterways. Septic system effluent migrates from yards into waterways. It also seeps into the groundwater, which can ultimately migrate to the Floridan Aquifer, resulting in high nutrient levels in springs and drinking water supply.
Due to Indian Harbor Estates’ proximity to the lagoon, this remediation project was listed among the top water quality priorities in the Mosquito Lagoon Reasonable Assurance Plan, which details local stakeholders’ efforts to develop and implement restoration activities and projects to restore water quality in the lagoon within 15 years.
To pay for the project, Volusia County and the Indian River Lagoon Council contributed $350,000 for design. The City of Oak Hill obtained a $250,000 grant from the Florida State Legislature for other preconstruction tasks.
Funding for the city’s construction project has been provided through a $2.5 million grant from the SJRWMD and up to $4.8 million in grants and loan proceeds from the DEP. The utility service provider, Volusia County will lease and operate the sewage collection system to ensure payment of the city’s long-term debt.
“Over the years, several stakeholders have worked together to bring this project to fruition, including Volusia County Council members past and present. and county staff. Said Oak Hill Mayor Douglas A. Gibson. “The start of this project is a reason to celebrate; however, the real success will be a fully restored Mosquito Lagoon – something surely worth celebrating!”