The GPICA Board has been looking at actions we can take to improve water quality surrounding the Island. In December 2021, we invited Pamela Keys, Director of Lee County Utilities to address the membership at our general meeting. When Ms. Keyes addressed our members, she stated that one of the main priorities for the Countywide Wastewater Management Plan is addressing the issues related to the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP).
Unfortunately, the estuaries surrounding Pine Island are not included in the BMAP and so we are greatly concerned that water quality issues here will not be a high priority. It’s important to note that 95% of the watershed is impaired for at least one parameter category.
In March 2022, GPICA Board members met with Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane and:
- Asked what can we do to help encourage Lee County to move us up the list for action?
- How we can encourage a feasibility study to be undertaken to see what it would take to hook Pine Island properties with septic into the existing treatment plant without causing a need to expand capacity, but while keeping that in mind as an ultimate goal.
- Encouraged Lee County to take action on some kind of septic inspection process that would encourage residents to inspect/pump their systems, while also supporting those who would need financial support to make that happen.
As the featured speaker at our April 2022 meeting, Commissioner Ruane relayed the following information:
- That the state has allocated $150,000 million/year for septic-to-sewer conversion and that he was working at the state legislative level to seek that funding for conversion in Lee County.
- Explained that septic-to-sewer was a costly proposition and that special taxing districts would likely be necessary to support a wider conversion.
- You can listen to further discussion of the issue from the meeting here