At the June 27 Board of County Commissioners meeting, Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk proposed a budget amendment to convert approximately twenty homes on Oakley Island to the county sewer system. Oakley Island is located at: 28.541421, -82.626777, which is across the Mud River from Mary’s Fish Camp. The current septic systems are not functioning well due to a high water table.
HCUD applied for Springs funding for this project two years ago. The budget amendment will be the cost-share of $87,600 with the State of Florida. The construction portion is estimated around $490,000, and the total project budget is $578,000. This is a pilot project for the utilities department.
The project was well received by the residents of Oakley Island, and they are are very motivated to move forward.
Commissioner Wayne Dukes stated, “This is a huge step forward for us as a county and ... it's it's going to be a big plus for the environment.”
Commissioner John Mitten described the project as “the perfect pilot opportunity. It'll give us opportunity to learn from this transition.” The county faces septic to sewer conversions throughout the Weeki Wachee springshed area, a requirement of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection (SAP) Act of 2016. Encompassing just north of Weeki Wachee all the way to Brooksville and San Antonio, the study carried out for the BMAP would prioritize the springs in Weeki Wachee and the springshed located in the Spring Hill area. It is projected that 32,000 homes or lots have septic systems needing conversion.
The existing septic tanks on Oakley Island will be drained, filled with sand, and left in place.
Design and contractual agreements are currently underway. The project is expected to start next year.