County Sets Priority Neighborhoods in Septic-to-Sewer Conversions

The Democrats of Indian River County believe that saving the Indian River Lagoon is critical for the citizens of our county. Championing a clean environment supports our economic growth. We depend on a healthy lagoon for our economy, our tax base and jobs, and for our recreational enjoyment. Unfortunately, the lagoon’s health has been badly compromised over the years in significant ways. One identified cause has been the proliferation of residential septic systems.

That is why it is so significant that the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners has released a comprehensive septic-to-sewer priority ranking plan for the county’s 325 subdivisions (excluding the cities of Vero Beach, Fellsmere, and Indian River Shores). This scientific analysis by the firm Schulke, Bittle & Stoddard, LLC, sets priority areas for the conversion from septic-to-sewer based upon various physical and environmental factors.

Priority areas for the conversion from septic-to-sewer

• Population Density for Loading Concentrations
• Proximity to Surface Waters
• Location of the Community in Relation to the 100-year Flood Plain—FEMA Flood Plain
• Depth of the Ground Water Table
• Soil Conditions of the Drain Field—Soil Type
• Age of the Surface Water Management System
• Age of the Existing Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems

According to the staff report from the Department of Utility Services,

“Each factor was evaluated and assigned an index number that generally ranged from 0 to 12, with 0 being the minimum and 12 being the maximum impact.”

The formula was devised to determine the estimated impact on the Indian River Lagoon by adding together the sum of all the factors. Thus, the higher the resulting sum, the more of an impact on the lagoon.

The top ranked subdivisions were further evaluated based on the following factors:

1. Aquatic health
2. Sewer system evaluation and cost data
3. TN/TP efficiency (total nitrogen/total phosphorus)
4. Public health

With this additional methodology employed by the engineering contractor conducting the study, the top 35 subdivisions were ranked based on their identified largest impact to the Indian River Lagoon within the geographical area in Indian River County. Our county will benefit most from their conversion from septic-to- sewer.

Top 35 subdivisions, in rank order

1. Floravon Shores Subdivision—Rank 1
2. Sebastian Highlands Unit 02 Collier—Rank 2
3. Sebastian Highlands Unit 05—Rank 3
4. Hobart Landing Unit 2—Rank 4
5. Orchid Island Unit 2—Rank 5
6. Sebastian Highlands Unit 04—Rank 5
7. Orchid Island No. 1—Rank 7
8. Sebastian Highlands Unit 01—Rank 8
9. Ambersand Beach Sub No 1 &2—Rank 8
10. Sebastian Highlands Unit 03—Rank 10
11. Sebastian Highlands 02—Rank 11
12. Naranja TR Shellmound Beach Replat of POR—Rank 11
13. Orchid Island Estates Subdivision—Rank 13
14. Sebastian Highlands Unit 02 Replat PG 2—Rank 14
15. Hobart Landing Unit 3—Rank 14
16. River Shores Estates Units 1-4—Rank 16
17. Pine Tree Park Units 1-4—Rank 17
18. Indian River Heights Units 1-9—Rank 17
19. Sebastian Highlands Unit 02 Replat PG3—Rank 17
20. Rain Tree Corner Subdivision—Rank 20
21. Diana Park Subdivision—Rank 21
22. Verona Estates Subdivision—Rank 22
23. Sebastian Highlands Unit 13; Little Portion Subdivision Replat Of—Rank22
24. Hobart Landing Unit 1—Rank 24
25. Hallmark Ocean Subdivision—Rank 24
26. Stevens Park Unit 1 & 2—Rank 24
27. Dales Landing Subdivision—Rank 24
28. Tropic County Subdivision—Rank 24
29. Winter Grove Subdivision—Rank 29
30. Kanawah Acre—Rank 29s
31. Tropic Colony Subdivision—Rank 31
32. Hallelujah Acres—Rank 32
33. Little Portion Subdivision Replat Of—Rank 33
34. Sebastian Highlands Unit 02 Replat PG 4—Rank 34
35. Heritage Trace at Hobart—Rank 35

While there are no current funds for the conversions, this report provides a clear road map for the county on how to move forward in a manner that looks after the health of the Indian River Lagoon, first and foremost. The county should be commended for their forward thinking in contracting out for this analysis that can now be updated over time. According to Vincent Burke’s memorandum, the Utility Department staff plan to work with the Community Development Long Range Planning staff to incorporate the findings into the Indian River County 2030 Comprehensive Plan Chapter 3A, Sanitary Sewer Sub-Element, for the Board of County Commissioners’ approval at a later date. The Commission has also directed staff to begin looking into a public education campaign.

In the meantime, it behooves the citizens of Indian River County who live in these subdivisions to become educated on when they can convert from septic to sewer. Their neighborhood organizations should make this a priority for our entire community. The future of our lagoon depends on it!

Click for a full copy of the report