Bad septic tanks hurt our water
Improperly operating septic tanks in Hernando County are dumping poorly treated and even untreated human waste into and onto the ground, and contaminants in this waste are seeping into our springs and rivers and onto our beaches.
I own a small spring near Bayport, and it is fouled much of the year by the growth of filamentous blue-green algae called lyngbya, a noxious, invasive slime that forms dense mats of rotting vegetation that kill fish, cause swimmer's itch and release a chemical that creates respiratory problems in humans. The same condition exists in Weeki Wachee Spring and other local water bodies. Each year the problem is worse; 30 years ago there was no problem. The lyngbya growth is fueled by nitrate pollution from septic tanks and fertilizers.
The public beach at Pine Island is closed periodically due to high levels of fecal coliform, always attributed in the newspaper to bird droppings. I conducted a small study for the county in 2008 that proved the fecal contamination at Pine Island was derived, at least in part, from human waste. No additional testing was conducted to determine the source of the human waste, but I believe it to be septic tank effluent. Other water bodies near homes or businesses with septic systems are probably suffering the same fate.
Septic tanks should be inspected to ensure they are functioning as intended. Septic tank users, and I'm one, don't pay for waste disposal. The cost for a septic tank inspection every five years will be less than others pay for centralized sewer service.
George Foster, Bayport
Slow drivers, get out of the left lane
I drive and take pictures for a living. I am on a schedule. Is there anyway that someone can get the idea across to the drivers that on U.S. 19, Cortez Boulevard, Suncoast Parkway, Interstate 75, etc., that the law is that the left lane is the passing lane.
Stop sitting in the left lane doing 45 mph — move over and let the rest of us pass. What are you thinking? This is causing accidents.
I've had people pull into the left lane in front of me and then slam on their brakes because they either think they see something in the road or have to make a turn. What are you thinking?
I used to see signs that said "slower traffic keep right." Did we forget this? I drive approximately 100 to 150 miles per day. I am so fed up with this nonsense. Wake up, move over, and stop acting like you own the road.
Stacey Horan, Spring Hill
Know, follow your water restrictions
I see the weekly posting of water restrictions and thought it could use some further details. For instance, water restrictions have nothing to do with the water source. I've had several customers reply, "But I have a well, so I can water every day." The posting doesn't point out that the restrictions are for wells as well as for city or county water.
Also, there is no mention of commercial property versus residential watering. On any given Saturday and Sunday, sprinklers are running on every major thoroughfare. The shopping centers, doctor's offices and banks are among the culprits. Or are they? Who is to know when there aren't any details posted?
The listed water days, by address, should be made clear that this is for all addresses and that the restrictions are for all water sources.
Residents and commercial property owners are aware that Code Enforcement doesn't work on weekends. After hours and on weekends, the responsibility for water restrictions falls on the Sheriff's Office. I'm sure they have more pressing issues than to enforce the water laws, but then again, it would seem to be a good way to generate revenue.
It would pay to have Code Enforcement out on the weekends, and during restricted times.
Larry Franklin, Spring Hill