December 13, 2016
Alarming amount of human waste found in Charlotte County water
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FL -
A new study of the Charlotte Harbor estuary system found an alarming amount of pollution from human waste in the waterways.
It's also contributing to all the red tide seen in recent weeks on Charlotte County beaches.
Hired by Charlotte County, Dr. Brian Lapointe of Florida Atlantic University just completed the study showing that nutrients from human waste may be helping the algae grow
"The red tide blooms are being supported by wastewater nitrogen,” Lapointe explained. “The runoff from land, including septic tanks.”
North Charlotte Harbor showed the highest amount of pollution.
"Eventually there will be so much fecal contamination in the water,” said Lapointe, “you'll have to avoid contact with the water.”
Thankfully, Charlotte Harbor is nowhere near that point, but Lapointe urged that the county continues to get more folks off of septic systems.
The county has taken significant steps in expanding its sewer system, but it's been costly for many folks.
"The hard thing is how do we fund it?” Commissioner Bill Truex asked. “How do we keep it affordable as we continue expansion projects to improve our water quality?"
The student did contain some good news. Waterways can be saved if the county monitors nutrient levels and gets the sewer systems in place in the coming years.