Paul Fafeita, Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County

Residents gather to hear Paul Fafeita, President, Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County and the Indian River Neighborhood Association are urging Roseland residents to participate in a septic to sewer conversion project.

The CWC and IRNA are also urging the state legislature and governor to pass legislation increasing funding for septic to sewer conversion.

According to a statement sent to Hometown News on behalf of both the CWC and IRNA, there are 300,000 septic tanks in the Indian River Lagoon watershed, with cities and counties competing for matching funds to reduce this source of nutrient pollution.

“Thanks to an offer by Indian River County commissioners which provides over $1,000,000 in incentives towards the project, plus a $500,000 grant from the state legislature, 75 properties between Roseland Road and the Sebastian River will be eligible for county water and sewer,” read the statement from Jean Catchpole, an advisor to the CWC board and chair of the IRNA Water & Lagoon Committee.

County Commissioners are expected to finalize the offer in November.

“Many of the septic systems in the area were installed before 1983 when less than a 24 inch separation was allowed between the drain field and the water table,” said the joint CWC/IRNA statement. “With heavy use, high density or wet conditions, the effluent may seep into groundwater and find its way to the river. Private drinking water wells may also be impacted by the septic system. The benefits of septic to sewer conversion are many, especially improved drinking water quality, increased property values and less nutrient pollution in the already impaired St. Sebastian River and Indian River Lagoon.”

A pledge of participation form was mailed to residents. The CWC and IRNA are urging Roseland residents to sign and return the participation pledge.

A financing plan will be offered to residents which amortizes the approximate $15,000 cost of water and sewer installation at 2.75% over 20 years. This would add less than $1000/year as a non-ad valorem tax to the owner’s property tax bill.

According to the CWC and IRNA, the only out of pocket costs for conversion would be removal of the septic tank, roughly $1,500 to $2,000, and the water impact fee, cost of meter and its connection, roughly $2,000.

The statement quoted Arjuna Weragoda, county capital projects manager, saying that the cost to property owners was the lowest connection cost in the county’s history, and it would only increase with time.

If you have questions about the project or a specific property, contact IRC Utilities Director Vincent Burke,, or Mr. Weragoda,, or call 772-226-1831.

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