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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Inexpensive Cistern Model Validated

With the support from Councilors Kiester and Recker, Mr. Joel and his staff met with this author, two interested citizens and two licensed contractors on Thursday October 8, 2009 to evaluate a novel idea for using septic tanks as cisterns.

Mr. Joel and his staff were professional, interested, positive and afforded many excellent suggestions and improvements to the model. After meeting for over an hour, they found the model to be a good idea with the details needing to be worked out. Subsequent to the meeting they provided many particular mechanical details that have proven immensely useful to go from model to working system.

This is the conceptual model presented, updated with suggestions from the City engineering staff: (click to enlarge) (note: this is NOT a mechanical model)

Two particulars as to valves (thanks to the City engineers) are:

Valve1 and Valve2

The two contractors are working to effectuate the model with the assistance of the City engineers and inspectors.

This approach and the wonderful cooperation and enthusiasm by all advances a genuine desire by the City and its citizens to actually put into practice the "green" movement, as opposed to simply talking about being "green".

Estimate
An estimate by this author to convert from septic to cistern using the above noted model is $1,000 PLUS governmental fees (see below in To Do).

Opinion
The salient issue for many of us is simply one of conservation in conjunction with maintaining our private property rights. Not having to buy approximately 900 gallons of water every two or three days, and preventing approximately 900 gallons of water every two or three days as runoff into the waterways or into the swales or into the sewer system – PER HOUSE – more than suffices the former. Not having to destroy private property (the septic tank) by governmental fiat sans compensation satisfies the latter. A palatable compromise it seems.

To Do
The City was not awarded the grant for cistern conversion due to the low number of residents that signed up for the grant. This is understandable given the $5,500 price tag proposed by the City and subsequently unquestioned by its devotees. An error by both the City and the citizens that accept everything at face value, and hopefully a lesson that is now past us.

But perhaps the City Council can make amends.

A special plea to the Marco Island City Council:

  • Please revisit the idea of charging $150 for a cistern permit: eliminate it!
  • Please request/insist that Collier County abate their $250 tax (cloaked as inspection fees)!

How can we be conservationists, be "green", protect our environment, if we are taxed to do so?

Does the City Council want the only factor in the island's economy to recover? If so, then help it recover by having the City purposefully act as an active and genuine promoter of environmental conservation that can be marketed.

Summary
The cistern model proposed herein is viable and inexpensive. The City likes it. Contractors need to flesh out the details and present the final mechanical plans to the City for approval. The City technical staff is professional, highly competent and very willing to help. The City Council needs to step up to the plate and lead by eliminating taxes that stifle conservation, environmentalism, their citizens and their economy.

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