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Septic tank conversion funds needed to improve water quality

Posted: 11:06 AM, Feb 28, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-01 14:09:20Z
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TREASURE ISLAND, Fla.-- Along the northern rim of Lake Okeechobee is Treasure Island.

It's Michael Throop’s piece of paradise. “Yeah man, it really is,” said Throop.

Unfortunately he can’t help what’s burdening his community and potentially others. “Knowing it’s affecting the water,” said Throop.

Bob Stafford is a fishing guide and he showed off that burden. “There’s a lot of houses, I don’t know how many,” said Stafford. “All the septic tanks are leeching into the ground.”

Roughly 2,400 homes in Treasure Island are still on septic, polluting a canal and ultimately Lake Okeechobee.

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Katie Edwards-Walpole is a former state representative of Florida’s 98th district. “County has been asking for years for some help from the state to finally get these homes off of septic tanks,” said Edwards-Walpole.

“1,500 to 2,400 connections at a cost of about $23-24 million,” said John Hayford with the Okeechobee Utility Authority.

He says that’s a high cost especially for his county.

Okeechobee County leaders sent a letter asking the legislature to help with funding. “Pick your project,” said Hayford. “It’s very hard to do that financially.”

State Senator Ben Albritton, who represents Okeechobee County, said funding for Treasure Island’s septic tank issue is a top priority for him this upcoming session.