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Friday, March 20, 2009

Open Reply to City Staff’s Email: Septic to Cistern Savings

The state of Florida has recognized and proven the value of converting septic tanks to cisterns. To that end, the state agency responsible for this process has submitted rule changes removing the need to get a variance for such a use.  The new regulations with the appropriate documentation have been forwarded to Councilors Kiester and Recker. Additionally, albeit irrelevant at this point, the state would have granted us the variance if we had requested such a variance – despite the city staff asking that no such variance be issued.

Hence, the staff's objection that no variance would be forthcoming has been rendered irrelevant.
In the staff's March 19, 2009 email to the council, item 2 estimates that there would be a savings of $8.31 per thousand gallons of water collected and used.  However, this "savings" does not recognize that the recharging of the cistern and subsequent use of it's water will occur repeatedly, especially during the conservative estimate of a six month rainy season.  If one assumes a highly conservative average of recharging 10 times per month for just these six months, each one of us would save 60,000 gallons per year for a savings of $498. Add the 14% surcharge for a total savings of $568 per year per homeowner.  Based on the cost to convert, net of the grant, this savings will pay back the homeowner within the first two years.

But the staff's email fails to account for the most costly consideration: by using our existing septic tanks as cisterns, we don't destroy the septic tank and hence we don't have to pay the approximate $1,000 to destroy it!

Hence, the total monetary savings to the homeowner in the first year is approximately $1,568! Clearly, these savings will more than recover the conversion costs that are not covered by the grant.
If 1,000 homes would take advantage of this program, this would result in an annual savings for our homeowners of $1,568,000 – and more, as water rates will invariably increase in the years to come.
More importantly, the same 1,000 homes will save 60,000,000 million of gallons of potable water – the most precious resource to Marco Island and Florida.

Please help conserve water and our money in these difficult times by petitioning your councilors to effect this program now, as we are running out of time.


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