Brevard County commissioners considering environmental rules for installing septic tanks

MERRIT ISLAND, Fla. — Tough new restrictions could make it harder for people to install a septic system in Brevard County.

  • Environmental experts believe old septic tanks are causing issues for Indian River
  • Old tanks are sending harmful nutrients into the river
  • Environmental leaders want new tanks to have higher standards
    • Satellite Beach wants state to adopt groundwater standards
    • Indian River Lagoon cleared for activities after sewage leak
    • Satellite Beach: Ground water may contain carcinogenic chemicals

On Tuesday, county commissioners are considering new rules in an effort to help the Indian River Lagoon.

Environmental experts believe septic tanks are one of the big factors behind the ailments plaguing the Indian River.

In addition, that is because many septic systems are old and too close to the lagoon and are sending harmful nutrients from homes right into the water.

A lot has changed over the years for septic systems, according to Keith Wessner and his crew from Harbor Septic LLC.

“You’re basically dealing with a mini-septic treatment plant,” said Wessner, the owner and operating manager of the company.

Up and down the Space Coast, more attention is being paid to septic tanks. Now the county commission is considering an ordinance that would require new septic systems to reduce the amount of nitrogen released by at least 65 percent.

“It’s definitely beneficial to the environment,” added Wessner.

With less nitrogen leaking into the ground water and making its way to the lagoon, the hope is the new rule will reduce the number of fish kills seen in the Indian River.

“What they’re trying to do is stop new septic tanks from being built near the lagoon unless they are efficient at removing nitrogen,” explained John Windsor of the Save Our Indian River Lagoon Citizen Oversight Committee.

Windsor, a retired Florida Tech professor, sits on the committee that oversees where money from a half-cent sales tax is spent on lagoon restoration projects.

The county is using $68 million to remove or upgrade more than 3,700 of the most polluting septic systems on the Space Coast.

The problem is the health department is permitting new septic systems at twice the rate that existing systems can be removed or upgraded.

“We’re building new homes with new septic systems, but to the old standards, the 1960s, 1970s standards, and we’re adding more septic tanks to Brevard County than we’re taking out of the county with this program,” said Windsor.

That is where environmental leaders hope this new ordinance will help, forcing new septic tanks to be built to higher standards.

It means more work for Wessner and his company.

“They come at an increased cost and increased maintenance to them but that’s part of everyone sort of doing their part to revive the lagoon,” he said.

The county Commission will consider the ordinance at 5:30 p.m. in Viera.


Source: Spectrum News 13

Powerful Message on Home Fires, MUST READ

VERY powerful message. We also want you to know that, as of January, 2015, Florida law dictates that your smoke detector MUST  be powered by a non-removable, non-replaceable battery. It must also have at least a “10-year rated life”. Click through below for more.


If you live in Brevard County, you can you may be able to receive assistance through the smoke detector program at Brevard County Fire Rescue Fire Prevention. You can reach them at  at 321.633.2056.

Welcome back, Snowbirds; here is what you’ve missed since Easter

Have #PropertyManagement questions or concerns Give #SolutionsPropertyManagement a call today to see how we can assist you in listing, renting and managing your #BrevardProperty

Hey Snowbirds.

Welcome back to the Space Coast. You’re probably just returning from places like Greece, New York or Upper Arlington, Ohio, all ready to bask in the mild temperatures and send beach-and-flip-flop photos to your neighbors back home shoveling snow.

You may have noticed that restaurants — some of which weren’t here when you left — are revving up for more customers now that you’re here.

Golf courses may be a little more crowded now as you hit the links. Doctors soon will be seeing more patients because, obviously, this is where your favorite physicians are.

Specific data is hard to come by. We really can’t say how many of you visit Brevard County each year, or Florida, for that matter. We do know you pour millions into the local economy, and for that we’re grateful.

FLORIDA TODAY figured you might have missed a few things while you were gone. So as a service to our seasonal residents, we’ve put together a list of what’s happened here since last Easter.

An irascible Irma

When Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel visits your state, it ain’t a good thing.

Cantore was in Florida in September, and he wasn’t on vacation. That was because of Hurricane Irma.

You probably were at your summer residence saying, “Whew, those poor suckers,” as Irma made one weekend a bit hellish on the Space Coast in September.

The local toll, at last count, totaled more than $37 million from damage to at least 7,131 residences and businesses during the storm. That figure is more than four times the 1,651 homes and businesses affected by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

The storm also exposed problems with the infrastructure of the Cocoa Water System and Brevard County’s sewage system.

Adios Wuesthoff

Let’s start with the health concern formerly known as Wuesthoff Health System. In February, Steward Health Care LLC acquired Wuesthoff, and last month, Steward renamed the two local hospitals.

Gone were Wuesthoff Medical Center-Rockledge, and in its place is Rockledge Medical Center. Same with Wuesthoff Medical Center-Melbourne. It’s not Melbourne Medical Center.

Palm Bay perplexities

It’s a little hard to keep it straight but it seems to come down to this: Palm Bay Mayor William Capote got angry with the city manager Gregg Lynk and asked for his resignation. A majority of the City Council decided the mayor overstepped his authority and censured him. A censure, by the way, is something less than a wrist slap and more or less having nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah placed in your mayoral file.

And tendering their resignations were the city’s growth management director, Stuart Buchanan and then-deputy city manager, Dave Isnardi.

On an unrelated and costlier note, the same people who censured the mayor also pushed through a new storm water assessment in Palm Bay that clocks in at $123.99 for small houses and $247.98 for large houses.

Strap on the feed bag

Restaurants come and go and some places are ubiquitous, meaning your favorite Pizza Hut probably is still here. As far as you’re favorite mom-and-pop business, check. Running a restaurant is a tough, tough business.

Here are few new places to chew on while you’re back.

On the chain side, a place specializing in breakfast and brunch called First Watch opened in Viera, and a barbecue eatery called Charlie Graingers opened in Suntree.

Speaking of barbecue. there’s a new place in Cocoa Village called Cryderman’s Barbecue that’s only open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. “Or Until Sold Out.” That should tell you something.

And if you’re looking for a view, Rising Tide Tap & Table is now open at Port Canaveral, The “gastro-pub” has 60 craft beers on tap, craft cocktails, scratch cooking and a panoramic view of the port.

Surf no more

The old Bernard’s Surf restaurant has been closed for years. Now, its landmark building in Downtown Cocoa Beach is no more.

The Fischer family sold the iconic restaurant in 2006, but the new owners had a hard time making a go of it and closed its doors in 2010. In 2012, British entrepreneur Luke Johnson, who originally had planned on a new restaurant for the site.

Eventually, though, he decided the land was worth more vacant and demolished the nearly 70-year-old building. The property is now for sale.

Speaking of Cocoa Beach, the supermarket scene has changed since you headed back north. The totally made over Winn-Dixie reopened in July. In September, the Publix at Banana River Square (the one south of State Road 520) was demolished. A completely new and larger Publix is now being built on the site and is expected to open late next summer or early next fall.

Get good and tanked

You ever get in the mood where you feel like you want — no, you need — to crush something? Well, how about a car?

Tank America, a state-of-the-art, 6,000-square-foot tactical laser tag arena opened last week and visitors can try their hand at driving an Abbot FV433 tank or FV432 armored personnel carrier.

As a bonus, vehicles are on the site as so much chum for the monstrous vehicles to crush.

Tank America is headquartered at a former National Guard armory on Ellis Road. The wooded property stretches across 33 wooded acres near John Rodes Boulevard.

Here’s a thought, or two, or three

In August, Isadora Rangel became FLORIDA TODAY’s public affairs and engagement editor.  Matt Reedleft for a job at the Brevard Public Schools.

You’ll agree or disagree with her at various times. Full-time residents already have.

Rangel writes opinion pieces, provides video commentary and has been on a tear meeting with different civic leaders and organizations.

Readers may reach her at, by phone at 321-242-3631 or via Facebook at