By Benita Goldstein
Florida has roughly 2.6 million septic tanks and they are a growing threat to the state’s environment.
People don’t see the hazard, “because it is underground, it is out of sight, out of mind,” said Dr. Brian Lapointe, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University.
Lapointe launched his first septic-tank study in the mid-1980s in the Florida Keys. More and more nutrients were seeping into the water and killing the coral reefs. Sewage was a major contributor.
The growing levels of nitrogen and phosphorus fed algae that suffocated the coral, consuming oxygen and causing a “dead zone.” The state ordered central sewage collection and treatment in the Keys.