Water and Sewer Expansion Authority Eliminating Failing Septic Systems

River Accord logoThe Water and Sewer Expansion Authority (WSEA), established in 2003 as an independent authority by the City of Jacksonville, was originally created to provide property owners with an opportunity to finance water and/or sewer infrastructure in their existing developed neighborhoods on a voluntary basis.

For voluntary projects, the WSEA offers alternatives for financing by allowing the capital costs to be financed by the homeowner with a 30% subsidy, only requiring a pay back of 70%. Homeowners who participate in these programs are assessed a finance charge on monthly WSEA bill to pay for the capital costs over a 20- to 30-year period. A project must have at least 50 percent homeowner participation to be considered cost-feasible to go to construction. Homeowners within a project area who choose not to participate may defer their connection to the system. However, if their septic tank system fails or they sell their property, the deferment is no longer valid. The homeowner will then be responsible for a lump sum payment at the time of connection.

There are approximately +/- 70,000 septic tanks located throughout Duval County. Many of those systems are failing and polluting the St. Johns River and its tributaries. Failing septic tanks also create unacceptable public health risks and inhibit private investment and economic development in the affected areas. Currently, there are 37 areas in Duval County that have been declared Septic Tank Failure Areas by the Duval County Health Department. Those failing areas include 26,000 septic tanks. As the environmental impacts worsen, shown by 15 new failure areas established in 2008, the City of Jacksonville has named WSEA the official Septic Tank Phase Out lead, along with the responsibility of community outreach and program education.

WSEA Accomplishments:
The WSEA has provided approximately 320 sewer connections to properties on a voluntary basis, and sewer extensions to 515 properties located in the nuisance area of Oakwood Villa Estates Phase 2. Current project consist of funding sewer extensions to 93 properties in the failure area of Lincoln Villa Phase 1.

Lincoln Villa Phase 1 is 75% complete on sewer installation and 65% complete on water installation. Targeted completion date is August 2010.

Grant funding to date:
2007/2008

  • $2.8M in grants for the Lincoln Villa Phase I, Septic Tank Phase Out (STPO) project. A $2M ad valorem grant from St. John's River Water Management District and a $800K Community Block Issue Request (CBIR) grant.
  • $11.2M CIBR grant for the Lower St. Johns River Basin Initiative (Oakwood Villa Estates STPO project).

2008/2009

  • $759K State Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG) for Lincoln Villa Phase I and II STPO projects.
  • $300K CIBR for the Lincoln Villa Phase II STPO project.

2009/2010

  • $500K STAG grant for septic tank remediation.

For more information, call Jenny McCollum at (904) 665-4103.