Information on the state of Florida is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.
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Dale Holcomb, Environmental
Manager, or Gerald Briggs, Chief
Florida Department of Health
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A08
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1713
(850) 488-4080 or (850) 245-4070 (respectively)
(850) 922-6969 (fax)
Statutes & State Codes:
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Florida State Regulations
Constitutions, Statutes and Codes
Standards for On-Site Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems
September 5, 2000
Rule revision is an ongoing process in Florida. Onsite regulations were last updated September 5, 2000; however, revisions are in progress, including sections: 64E-6001(5) Voluntary assessment of existing systems, and 64E-6008(4) Criteria for requiring separate laundry waste systems.
Additional revisions to existing Codes/regulations are planned to occur between August 1, 2000, and July 31, 2001, for minimum soil cover over septic tanks, unobstructed area criteria, and effluent lines crossing potable water lines. Within the past year, improved septic tank inlet and outlet seals and sealants have been added to the Florida regulations.
In Florida, the Department of Environmental Protection has jurisdiction for sewage flows greater than 10,000 gpd domestic and greater than 5,000 gpd commercial. They do not permit onsite sewag3e treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS) for sewage flows.
Surface discharge is not an option for onsite septic disposal systems.
Drainfield area/size reductions are allowed by Florida Code, based on alternative drainfield products, improved effluent quality (ATU, AWT, Advanced Secondary), and/or alternative drainfield geometry.
No funding program or mechanism exists to assist homeowners replacing failing systems or installing new systems.
For information about ongoing onsite wastewater demonstration, research, or testing projects, contact Mark Hooks, Environmental Specialist, DOH Onsite Sewage Program, at the address above, phone (850) 245-4070, fax (850) 922-6969, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Code recognizes
or requires management programs/contracts or management districts to monitor
and maintain onsite systems that are aerobic treatment units (ATUs), and/or
performance-based systems. Brad Croft, Environmental Specialist, DOH Onsite
Sewage Programs, may be contacted for information at the address above, or phone
(850) 245-4070, fax (850) 922-6969, or email email@example.com
Florida has not formed, nor are there plans to form, a public utility type company or entity for operation, management, and maintenance.
numbers of onsite systems in use in Florida are:
Single family - 1,530,000
Small community - None
Business/commercial - 270,000
Subdivision - less than 10
The permit numbers
are tracked and are as follows for the past year:
New construction - 35,551
Repair of system - 17,716
Replacement of system - 4,388
In Florida, a failed system is defined as "repair, replacement of, or modifications or additions to a failing system which are necessary to allow the system to function in accordance with its design or must be made to eliminate a public health or pollution hazard. Servicing or replacing with like kind mechanical or electrical parts of an approved onsite sewage treatment and disposal system; or making minor structural corrections to a tank, or distribution box, does not constitute a repair. The use of any treatment method that is intended to improve the functioning of any part of the system, or to prolong or sustain the length of time the system functions, shall be considered a repair. The use of any non-prohibited additive by the system owner, through the building plumbing, shall not be considered a repair. Removal of the contents of any tank or the installation of an approved outlet filter device, where the drainfield is not disturbed, shall not be considered a repair. Replacement of a broken lid to any tank shall not be considered a repair."
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of onsite systems: 1.6-2 million, estimated.
Number of new systems installed each year: About 40,000.
Failure definition: Conditions which prohibit the system from functioning in a sanitary manner,
and which result in plumbing failure, or in the discharge of insufficiently treated water onto the
ground, or into surface or ground waters.
Number or proportion of systems presently failing: NA, see below for annual estimates.
Number or proportion repaired annually: 20,000-30,000 indefinitely repaired or replaced
annually; data are tracked well because all repairs require permits.
Number or proportion replaced annually: See above.
Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing): Many types of alternative or advanced technology are employed,
but no percentages were provided. As to leaching areas, over half the systems are either
conventional trench or bed systems. However, fill systems account for 20%, mound systems for
almost 25%, and gravelless systems for about 1.5% of current installations.
Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal): No breakout was provided; see above.
Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $2500; range $2000-$25,000. About half the
installations require mounds or fill; were this not the case, the typical cost would be more like
Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): $3000 to
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No information is available on Onsite Demonstration Programs in Florida.