If You Have a Home in Central Florida with a Septic Tank...READ THIS!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Heritage Realty

In an effort to limit potentially hazardous nitrogen seepage from septic systems, the Florida Department of Health could require homeowners who have properties within the Wekiva Study Area (WSA) to install a new septic system when they sell their home...at a cost estimated to be as high as $10,000 per property.

On February 19, 2009, the Department of Health presented "rule language" to the Review Committee, who also heard from consumers, REALTORS®, and Florida Association of REALTORS® lobbyists who all suggested that a ruling of this type could impact more than 50,000 residents and negatively impact the already sensitive real estate market.

As a result, the passing of this new rule has been delayed for the time being. While there is no guarantee that it won't be enacted in the future, those homeowners with septic tanks are protected for the short term.

For more information on the Florida Department of Health's proposed plan, I would encourage you to visit their website and read more about this proposed new ruling here.

To obtain a copy of the map of the Wekiva Study Area (WSA) to see if your home will be impacted, text or call me at (321) 377-0157 or email me at LaShawn@LaShawnNorden.com


LaShawn Norden, PA, REALTOR, RE/MAX Central Realty (321) 377-0157, LaShawn@LaShawnNorden.com

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Direct: (321) 377-0157, LaShawn@YourHomeOurPriority.com Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE), Accredited Luxury Home Specialist (ALHS)  & THREE-YEAR Five Star "Best In Client Satisfaction" Award Winner! Click HERE to visit MY WEBSITE!  

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Comments (8)

Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

LaShawn, excellent info for your clients in FL. They are lucky to have you.

Feb 20, 2009 03:13 PM
Todd Clark - Retired
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

We had properties here that the public sewer got within a 1/4 of a mile of them and they required them to pay for the hook up and the fee to install the 1/4 of a mile worth of pipe. Some people were having to come up with 50,000 or more to be hooked up to the public sewer system.

Got to love that!

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home - www.IFoundYourNewHome.com

Feb 20, 2009 05:00 PM
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate

wow - that is certainly something that is a "need to know"!  like Maria said, your clients and customers are lucky to have you.  what a sticky situation that could turn out to be when enacted!

Feb 20, 2009 10:32 PM
Don Rogers
Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield - O'Fallon, MO
Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes


Sometimes you wonder where these peoples heads are!  This type of $$$$$ impact will prevent many owners from selling and even with the stay could prevent BUYERS from buying out of fear that they will have to install a new system.

Feb 20, 2009 11:39 PM
Melody Botting
Broker Associate PenFed Realty - San Antonio, TX
You Deserve The Best

If this is such a big concern there should be a way for homeowners to get help paying the expense.

Feb 20, 2009 11:44 PM
LaShawn Norden
Keller Williams Heritage Realty - Longwood, FL
REALTOR, (321) 377-0157, Your Real Estate Advocate in Central FL

Maria~Thank you for the compliment!!

Todd~ What gets me is the study does not show that having these new septic systems are any better than the ones currently in place...and yet, they are still considering requiring that they be replaced upon the sale. Now that's something you gotta love!

Leesa~ You are right, sellers who have septic tanks in Central Florida need to know about this potential new rule...unfortunately, I think there are not many who know about it yet....which is why I wanted to get the word out with a blog post!

Don~Yep, another great challenge to helping buyers and sellers with property transfers in Central Florida...yikes!

Mel~Yes, I agree...maybe some of that bailout money :-0


Feb 22, 2009 10:03 AM
Monique Richison

Please find below a copy of a letter that I sent to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Commissioner Brummer, Senator Baker, the Department of Health...among others. It has already been posted on the Orange County News Site (www.ocnis.com) by Commissioner Brummer. PLEASE take time to read it to see what is in store for homeowners in the Wekiva Study Area (WSA). Unsure if you are in this restrictive environmental zone? Just e-mail your address to the Florida Department of Health...they'll let you know if you are subject to this proposed rule...trust me, it's only the beginning. Thank you for this blog and your concern in posting this information.

As I am unable to attend, as are MANY residents of the WSA, the TRAP meeting on the 19th, I would like to once again voice my objection at the new rulemaking you are attempting to pass in regards to Aerobic Septic Systems. I have followed this process since 2004 and have attended a dozen or so meetings of the Wekiva Commission and TRAP. I can highly contradict your estimates that these 'new' systems cost on average $7700.00, as I have a quote from a well-known company that shows $9900.00 PLUS the cost to remove my current tank, PLUS the cost to install the dedicated 20amp circuit and line, PLUS the cost of permits, PLUS the yearly ONGOING operating costs of electricity and maintenance that are NOT being revealed to the residents who were 'drawn' into the WSA. I will be more than happy to ONCE again send copies of these estimates to your department. I feel I was dismissed by a member of your department a couple of years ago when I showed him these estimates. Your own department estimates that I received copies of support my cost claims. By the way, I live in a teeny 1200 sq/ft home with two bathrooms/bedrooms. I no doubt believe the McMansions of today would be faced with MUCH higher costs for one of these aerobic systems. Would you agree with that?

What I find even more interesting is the fact you have removed any reference to folks located in the three different zones or am I just missing that? Could you tell me why, considering those located in zones 2 & 3 are estimated by you to be causing 'less harm' to the aquifer? Even without the current economic climate, you are participating in diminishing the value of ALL homes on septic in the WSA. Thousands of homeowners don't even know they are in this 'protected' area and will be in for a HUGE surprise when trying to put their home on the market. As a potential home buyer, wouldn't you  choose a home that would not have to have this costly upgrade? Hence, making our homes even more undesirable. The DOH should be mandated to send TRUTHFUL letters to ALL homes (septic or not) in the WSA to let the owners know how these proposed rules would affect them. Homes will continue to sit on the market if this rulemaking goes on the books. Folks who are facing insurance problems (State Farm/Citizens), higher local taxes and the devaluing of their most precious asset can ill afford to be placed under additional financial burden in the hopes of 'saving' a river (spring) that developers are currently building on the shores of. If this had EVER been anything but a political special interest movement, the science would have long ago been 100% conclusive and us folks who have worked to stop this insanity would have been tossed by the wayside. 

Take off your government mandate hat and look at this from a citizens point of view. Just how many of you folks in that office have already, in the name of 'saving the environment', installed one of these aerobic systems at your home, without being FORCED to? If this is such a saving grace for the state then you should lead by example, don't you think? You want to 'save' the aquifer, then make EVERY home in the state with a septic system part of this rule and not guinea pigging our homes with these aerobic systems. I fear the uproar STATEWIDE would finally put out the flame that keeps this asinine mandate brewing. Don't 'blacklist' our homes because we just so happen to live 'near' a spring...I'm 20+ miles away and live at one of the highest points in the state. That's a WHOLE lot of filtering going on before my waste even comes close to the aquifer, let alone making it all the way to the spring. Furthermore, you certainly can't dismiss the actual onsite, real home studies of septic tanks that was done over a year ago and supports filtering/diluting of waste within very few feet of the drainfield, although you seem to be doing just that. Could I go on? Yes! It seems, though, that the department line will continue to be toted, as I'm sure that if anyone in your office disputed this rule with common sense and science would no longer be on the public dole (don't forget, you work for ME). Maybe once you're in the private sector you'll be more apt to see the light, just as a couple of your former chums have.

As I've said from the beginning of this whole 'secret' mess...my septic tank has NOTHING to do with building a road. This mandate was snuck into the Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act by special interest environmental groups who knew that this type of mandate would NEVER have flown if introduced by itself. Us, the public, initially saw this as a road building bill...never in a million years would have guessed it would so negatively affect our homes, our lives, our financial future and our property values. Seems like none of that was taken into consideration and millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted trying to get a needless mandate on the books. Shame on you! 

(Please don't go into the fact all this was public knowledge because the meetings were announced, the act could be read, blah blah...I can make no excuses for others of the public who aren't involved. There's so much sludge in government that it's hard to tell which pile of it stinks more, thus directing the public to pay more attention to one issue over another. Whew...it can be tiring...and that's just what government counts on. FYI: I'm not tired yet.)

...rising above the sludge with the truth...
Monique Richison
"WSA Resident"

Feb 23, 2009 07:59 AM
LaShawn Norden
Keller Williams Heritage Realty - Longwood, FL
REALTOR, (321) 377-0157, Your Real Estate Advocate in Central FL

Monique~ Thank you for your response...and what a great one it was! Do you know about the latest meeting this Friday? I rec'd the below information from the Governmental Affairs deparment at the Orlando Board of REALTORS today:

A meeting of the Wekiva River Basin Commission is scheduled for Friday, February 27, at 1:30 p.m. at the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council's office, located at 631 N Wymore Road, phone is 407.326.1075.

Last Thursday, the advisory committee established by the state to review rules and regulations regarding septic systems voted unanimously to postpone consideration of implementation of rules which would require homeowners in the Wekiva River basin to purchase a much more expensive septic system at the point of major repair or replacement. Unfortunately, the Department of Health does not have to follow the recommendations of the advisory committee.

The State Surgeon General of the Florida Department of Health, Dr. Ana M. Viamonte Ros, has directed her staff to issue new rules for septic systems.  These Department of Health rules would require Performance Based Treatment Systems in the Wekiva Study Area upon the sale of a home.  

Such a rule is without legislative direction.  Senate Bill 1214 of the 2004 legislative session clearly requires that any rule implementation by the Department be appropriate.  There is no indication that the proposed rule is appropriate or required.

Such a rule is without scientific support.  The report by Department of Health required by SB 1214 has not withstood peer review for adequacy, appropriateness, nor scientific method.

Such a rule is without economic reason.  Performance Based Treatment Systems have substantial additional capital cost over a standard system.  Performance Based Treatment Systems have substantial annual maintenance costs.  The small or non-existent additional benefit to the environment of these Performance Based Treatment Systems compared to standard onsite wastewater treatment systems makes imposition of such a rule incomprehensible.

Such a rule is without economic justice.  A portion of the Wekiva Study Area has some of the greatest concentrations of foreclosures that exist in Orange County .  Homeowners all throughout the Wekiva Study Area are concerned about job loss and their ability to continue to live in their current residence. 

Link here for a copy of the rule and a map outlining the area affected! PLEASE, PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THIS!



As you will see in the rule, a determination of replacement will have to be made at point of SALE!

Again, the Wekiva River Basin Commission meeting will be held on Friday, February 27th at 1:30 p.m. at the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council's office, located at 631 N Wymore Road, phone is 407.326.1075. The Department of Health will be outlining the advisory committee's recommendation. It is important that Realtors and homeowners show their support for the advisory panel's recommendation.

For more information on these issues, please contact Frankie Callen Elliott at 407.513.7276 or vpga@orlrealtor.com.

This is a very important issue for Central Florida homeowners!

Feb 25, 2009 01:41 PM