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Monday, February 01, 2010

Address to City Council February 1, 2010

The first septic-to-cistern conversion on Marco Island is now complete.

On January 29, 2010 I received final inspection approval from the City. Two weeks earlier I received approval from Collier County's office of the Florida Department of Health.

My cistern design is hydrostatic. The cost specific to the cistern is approximately $600 dollars, inclusive of a pointless $100 overflow valve.

But best of all, the cistern supplies 1½ gallons of water per minute to the sprinklers!

Since January 1, 2010, my 1,400 gallon cistern – yes, 1,400 gallons – has been filled twice. And keep in mind we are in the dry season. For more information and specific details please visit the Marco Island blog.

From concept to design to implementation, the cistern is an unbridled success.

I would like to once again thank this Council for abating the cistern fee – now if I can only get the refund. I would also like to thank the Florida Department of Health for their rule change and for abating most of the County inspection fee; Roney Joel and his team for their invaluable input and suggestions. And lastly, Councilors Kiester, Recker and Councilor-elect Batte for stopping by and witnessing the cistern in action.

I urge this Council to encourage those residents that are being forced onto the STRP to convert their septic tanks to a cistern. A cistern from a perfectly sound septic tank saves money, and more importantly, protects the environment by conserving water. And as I have proven, the conversion is inexpensive.

So, how can we leverage this accomplishment to further our obligation at conserving and protecting the environment and thereby benefit the Marco Island community?

Given the unnecessarily arduous and protracted process to prove the obvious with this cistern, I ask that this Council institute an independent agency to pursue environmental initiatives and environmentally-based opportunities. This agency must report directly to this Council and be comprised of non-aligned volunteers that are scientists, environmentalists, economists and other environmentally-conscious citizens. But unlike the politicized local and state so-called environmental agencies, or the radically marginalized environmental organizations, this agency will act, will work to bring positive constructive initiatives and grants to this Council, will develop novel approaches to conservation, will implement approved initiatives, as well as providing a consistent eco-friendly message to the community.

Such an agency will buttress the fact known and practiced by many of us, and a lesson yet to be understood by some, that the individual citizens are the stewards of our environment, not government. Governments, as evidenced by the actions of Marco Island just a few short years ago, and by the perennial abdication of the statutory and legal obligations of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, governments act in their self interests, the consequence of which is deleterious to the environment and to the public. Notice that it was not the City of Marco Island, certainly not the FDEP, nor the South Florida Water Management District or Collier County, nor any other government bureaucracy that brought the cistern to realization – but one sole citizen in effect tilling at the windmills of these very government bodies.

This agency that I am urging will assist residents undertaking environmental projects such as conversions to cisterns, as well as bring to this Council and the public myriad environmental programs, grants, cooperatives, allegiances and initiatives that protect the environment, conserve our natural resources and in many cases save money. In but one example, there is a grant coming available this month that looks to cover the entire cost of converting to a cistern. What a shame it would be for this grant to be also politicized and lost.

It seems that the majority of time and energy expended by this council focuses on financial matters. Fair enough – but given our one-dimensional seasonal-tourist-related economy, has everyone in authority come to grips as to why seasonal visitors come here? It's certainly not for the food. Plagiarizing the sanguine campaign adage of "It's the economy, stupid", for us, "It's the environment, stupid".

Please seriously consider establishing such an independent public service agency for the benefit of our community. Once again I thank the entirety of this Council for supporting the cistern.

3 Comments:

  • Thanks again Mario. One would think that in light of the millions of dollars in grants the SWFWMD has given this city because they were so enamored with the STRP, that they could and should step up and pay people for converting to save the water they claim we are so desperately short of. Or, maybe they really don't care how much water is wasted here!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, February 02, 2010 2:47:00 PM  

  • thank you.

    agreed - and as i note governments are the biggest problem when it comes to protecting the environment. the last thing government agencies want, especially corrupt ones like the fdep, to protect the environment.

    with this simple cistern we can save tens of millions of gallons of water a year - net result from the epa, the mafia at the fdep, the "conservancy" (albeit not a government agency but might as well just be), and marco with all of these faux conservationists (dont we even have some person costing $100k a year that is supposed to do this)-- saving tens of millions of gallons earned A BIG YAWN.

    sadly there is a grant that most likely will cover 100% of any conversion.

    oh, well.

    By Blogger Dr. Mario, at Tuesday, February 02, 2010 3:04:00 PM  

  • You express a very valid point. Look at the plight of the couple who cannot get a final Certificate of Occupancy because they installed a shell driveway. The City claims it is not "dustless" and "maintained in a smooth and graded condition".

    It is simply beyond comprehension that shells would be prohibited on a barrier island in which shells are constantly being washed ashore.

    I will not go into the enviromental benefits of pervious surfaces in minimizing runoff since they are documented in many enviromental and scientific journals.

    All I can say, the amount of effort required to get the City (as epitomized by the Community Development Director) to be environmentally aware is a long struggle. Now the City is claiming a safety concern. The pushback is amazing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, February 03, 2010 5:19:00 AM  

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