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Backlash Brewing Against Florida Septic Tanks Requirement

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A proposed state septic tank rule and the legislation that sparked the rule are becoming the focus of anti-government critics.

SB 550 during the legislative session requires septic tank owners statewide to receive an inspection at least once every five years. A Florida Department of Health advisory board is reviewing a draft rule on Thursday and DOH has scheduled a series of workshops in October.

The bill was promoted as a measure to protect Florida's springs, which have become choked with weeds and algae as nitrogen in groundwater from a variety of sources has increased. DOH and the septic tank industry say septic tanks should be inspected and pumped out every three to five years to keep them functioning properly. Florida has 2.6 million septic tanks, according to a DOH study completed May 1.

But SB 550 is facing a backlash from critics in the Legislature and some rural counties.... (illustration by