Thursday, January 20, 2022

LTE: Letter to City Council

Dear City Council, 

During the period 2005 though 2008 there was negative publicity and criticism about the City’s plans to eliminate some 5,000 aging septic systems and put these homes on a central sewer system – which was the original intent of the Marco Island waste water design. 

Prior members of City Council took a terrible public beating for their support for the elimination of septic systems on the Island. For some it resulted in a loss of personal business, for some it resulted in damages to their personal property, for some it resulted in serious health issues and for some it all but ended their political careers. They were all, however, driven by a desire and commitment to ensure that these failing septic systems would not eventually further pollute the waters of our Island. 

If you read the article in this Sunday’s Naples Daily News entitled “Septic system problem merits state attention” it was noted that: 

  • the Florida Senate plans on closely regulating and monitoring septic systems as a way of monitoring their impact on the health of our water quality- this will include periodic inspections, implementing minimum standards for a functional septic system and demanding that homeowners repair or replace failing septic systems. 
  • that “it’s a bitter, potentially expensive pill for millions of homeowners who are not connected to central sewer systems but, a necessary step to improve water quality” 
  • although the recent water crisis was due to fertilizer use and agricultural run-off  it would be “unreasonable to assume that septic tanks aren’t part of the problem as well”. 

As several local environmental groups have recently stated, “Marco Island’s program to eliminate septic systems was a critical action to reduce the impact on water quality issues”. One has to only imagine the additional impact that 5,000 failing septic systems and their dumping of untreated nutrients into our waterways for the past seven years would have had on the recent algae and water quality issues we have experienced. 

I would personally like to recognize the following former members of City Council that showed the foresight, the courage, the commitment and the fortitude to implement the septic tank replacement program (the STRP) in the face of mounting and brutal criticism, personal attacks and even recall movements. They are, Dr. William Trotter, Vickie Kelber, Glenn Tucker, Michael Minozzi, Frank Recker, Wayne Waldack, Rob Popoff and Gerry Gibson as well as former City Manager William Moss. They all knew that to simply allow our waters to become polluted would require, if at all possible, massive resources to mitigate the pollution impact on our property values and quality of life. 

My only regret is that several of these people are no longer with us to see the fruits of their suffering. 

John Arceri

Marco Island

3 responses to “LTE: Letter to City Council”

  1. Jan says:

    The elimination of the septic system allowed for two story mega homes which was the intent.
    Thus the decline of our special little Island
    The canal water quality was better before the mega homes

  2. Joe Batte says:

    While John is correct in the end, regarding the elimination of failing septics, some comment is needed.
    I too salute the brave, dedicated former Councilors who did their best to support a correct decision. It was an honor to have known them!
    While I was an active opponent of the STRP, it was not because of the need to eliminate septics, it was because of the way Council went about the program, namely a total lack of community involvement, with little attempt to get community buy in & community input, like staggering the program to prevent many taxpayers from leaving the Island due to the assessments they just couldn’t afford. Those of us blessed to have the funds to pay must never forget the hardship & hurt very many had who were not so blessed.
    A learning point for future Councils!

  3. Bryan Hauser says:

    Large projects are sometimes needed in our community. The problem is very poor oversight and project management. Although a few roads have been redone, the majority of the other will soon need to be fixed.

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