Septic Systems and Our Waterways
While excessive discharges from Lake Okeechobee, along with local stormwater runoff, are both threats to the health of our waterways, septic systems are also part of the problem. Leaching of septic tank effluent into the groundwater from septic systems, especially in high density residential neighborhoods and those close to the water, are another contributing factor.
Through Martin County’s Septic to Sewer (S2S) Conversion Program, our goal is to connect homes and businesses currently on septic systems to the county’s wastewater collection and treatment system. The reduction and elimination of septic systems is one way we can proactively improve the health of our local waterways, inclusive of the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon.
Elimination of Wastewater Treatment Plants (Package Plants)
Since the 1990s, Martin County's Utilities Department has eliminated 70 package plants throughout Martin County. Package plants are community-sized facilities that provide basic wastewater treatment, typically with groundwater discharge of partially treated effluent. Of the 70 package plants eliminated, 53 of these systems were considered a threat to the Indian River Lagoon.
As a result of the elimination of these package plant facilities in Martin County, we have prevented a potential of nearly six million gallons per day of wastewater from entering the ground water and eventually our waterways. In addition, we have completed eight projects to provide sewer service to 2,762 properties, formerly served by septic tanks, within the Martin County Utilities service area.