The community meeting on the Wekiva Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) was last night. For those that attended, if you were like me, you left with more questions than answers. I spoke with a staff member at the Orange County Health Department who is working on the BMAP and he provided me with some clear answers that I will pass on here.
First, the purpose of the plan is to reduce the nitrogen levels in the springs in Orange County. Increased nitrogen levels result in increased algae growth, which chokes the springs, effecting plants, fish and wildlife. The Wekiva Spring, which is the head water for the Wekiva River, is right in our back yard at Wekiva State Park. It is a community resource for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding, and due to its proximity to the Palms, an asset to our community.
From my conversation with Orange County Health Dept., here is where we are now:
1 – The Wekiva BMAP goes into effect on July 1, 2018, and is a 20-year plan.
2 – As of July 1, changes in requirements will apply to new construction ONLY. A septic permit for new construction will require one of the new advanced systems or drain fields. This does not apply to anyone in the Palms as we are existing homes.
3 – With regards to existing homes, septic repairs or drain field/septic failures that require replacement, the State and the County will be having ongoing discussions/community meetings over the next 1-2 years on how to handle that. As of July 1, there are no requirements in place to upgrade or make changes if an existing system needs to be repaired or replaced.
The big take-away from my conversation with Orange County is that they are taking this one step at a time. If you have possible solutions or ideas, please contact our County Commissioner, Bryan Nelson, and talk with him about it, or someone working on the BMAP at the Orange County Health Dept.
I would also encourage everyone to continue to attend the community meetings and work with Commissioner Nelson to come up with solutions that will benefit everyone in the BMAP area.
Commissioner Bryan Nelson
201 S. Rosalind Ave., 5th Floor
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: (407) 836-7350
Fax: (407) 836-5879
Commissioner Nelson was recently elected mayor of Apopka, so this issue will continue to be a top priority for him when he leaves office at the County.
Orange County Health Dept, Bart Harris – 407-723-5218