septic tanks and feces

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by FoX, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. FoX

    FoX Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    off the beach
    Folks - most of the beaches are fine, and if sewage gets in the water it is only during storms, and is quickly dissipated (after all the gulf is one big fish cesspool). BUT - I can't believe that the county and DEP has not required every waterfront property, including bays and bayous to be on sewer.

    I would not stay at Gulf Trace or any other area where septics have been uncovered or destroyed. Especially with kids.

    Look at this gulf trace pic - there are many septic tanks exposed AGAIN and the drain fields (ie nets full of stryrofoam) are strewn all over the place.

    - Talk about people crapping on the beach. :roll:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. cpete

    cpete Beach Lover

    Joined:
    May 3, 2005
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    My family stayed in Gulf Trace in '04' at "Southern Sons East" the first week of Augest (This year we stayed In Rosemary - third week of June in between Hurricanes and shark attacks). We were thinking about going back to Gulf Trace next year and staying closer to the lake. May think twice with the sewage issue.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2005
  3. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,193
    Likes Received:
    701
    Location:
    Pt Washington
    All new construction is required to hook up if Regional Utilities offers service to the area. Homes that already existed before water/sewer was made available are encouraged and generally offered a reduced price to hook up, but cannot be forced to. Unless something has changed in the last two years, that is.
     
  4. lurker1

    lurker1 Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    SoWal
    It's a shame that the county allows these septic systems to be replaced. The owners should be ashamed also.
     
  5. Moondance

    Moondance Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gulf Trace, suburb of Grayton
    (sorry so long-winded)
    I am late to this conversation but hoping to revive it. Would appreciate getting current on the issue (how pervasive?), cause, dangers, parties (public and private), immediate resolution, and long term solution.

    I am a long time visitor to SoWal, have purchased in Gulf Trace, was a former lurker on this site, and recent registrant for issues exactly such as this, which are near and dear to my kids, family, and heart.

    For those concerned about a return to Gulf Trace, as of Monday 8/1/05 it is again/still spectacular, wide, soft, beautiful, white (small gray) and among the top beaches in the entire area, assuming this issue is resolved.

    For now, I hope to shed some light and seek a resolution. I have one or two (possibly misinformed) comments and a couple questions--

    1. My understanding is that there is no sewer anywhere in Gulf Trace, beachfront or otherwise, is this true?

    2. Also, that Col. Ray (whom I've not met) maintains control of the "homeowner's association," perhaps as long as he's alive? Any one know? If that's the case, and they won't seek or allow sewer, that would mitigate some of the blame of the beachfront owners for septic damage, I suppose.

    3. I was not aware that the bags of foam in the above pic (lower right), or apparently the foam littering the neighborhood, are former leach/drain fields! First, what the hell is a styrofoam-bagged drain field? how big could it possibly be? and what is it doing under MY/our beach??

    4. Maybe a review of the HOA documents would help. Has anyone on this board ever reviewed them? Why is this neighborhood different than others where the HOA is typically eventually deeded/conveyed to an independent HOA?

    5. I am curious about whether and to what extent this issue will impact the ability of any of the beachfront homes destroyed (anybody have a count?) to be repaired or rebuilt. I saw a note in another thread that a commissioner was in favor a relaxing front yard set backs in order to facilitate rebuilds. I don't necessarily disagree, as long as it's applied uniformly, and as long as any other issues (septic??) are satisfactorily addressed by beachfront owner and/or common area owner.

    That's enough... Flying right into the storm, as it were, here on my second post.

    Thoughts? Info? Help is appreciated.

    Moondance
     
  6. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    7,220
    Likes Received:
    3,746
    Location:
    SoWal
    There is a meeting with the county next week to try and bring a resolution. I will try to get better info. I was at Little Redfish Lake yesterday and got some photos of the cleanup - a lot of styrofoam in the lake.

    Secondhand I hear that Regional Utilities may offer loans to homeowners at low or zero interest as they do at other subdivisions. The difference is that Gulf Trace lines will have to be brought in from 30-A so it will add to homeowners cost. That has been the hangup I guess.

    Adjacent property owners will start filing property rights lawsuits against certain parties in Gulf Trace if the issue is not resolved.
     
  7. Moondance

    Moondance Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gulf Trace, suburb of Grayton
    Thanks Kurt, look forward to additional info from you and others (would love input from Gulf Trace owners). I understand the issue about getting service from 30A, and that it will be expensive, but that may be a secondary issue.

    What if an individual homeowner, beachfront or otherwise, sought sewer but could not get service without common owner concurrence? I'm not sure but suspect an easement might be a necessary prerequisite? Hmmm... eminent domain issue? :idontno:

    Also, seems like it needs to be "all or nothing" for the neighborhood to have sewer service, similar to sewer taps at Blue Mountain. I assume, for all the other post-Dennis issues at BMB, that sewer/septic is not one?

    For that matter, is sewer/septic an issue in any other community(ies)?

    Thanks again,
    Moondance
     
  8. Richard

    Richard Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    5
    Gulf Trace subdivision is the only subdivision in Walton County on the gulf without a sewer system. Inlet Beach to the east has some homes still on septic systems but they are actively working to install sewer.

    James Earl Ray, who maintains the subdisision, has resisted sewer in Gulf Trace and he has been successful because it is a private subdivision. I don't believe there is a HOA. These septic systems were torn apart in hurricane Ivan, tropical storm Arlene and again after hurricane Dennis. Each time the water, the beach sand and the rare coastal dune lakes to the west were contaminated with high bacteria levels. Homes on the beach were condemned after Arlene and Dennis. Septic tank drain field parts contaminated the county to the west and it cost the county a lot of money to clean up these hazards.

    Ray's rental company was checking people into homes with out functioning septic systems after tropical storm Arlene. Boy were those renters unhappy when they found out and were forced to move out by the Health Department.

    I am told residents of Gulf Trace voted against allowing Regional Utilities to install water and sewer lines. According to the fire department Gulf Trace does not have proper fire hydrants to fight a significant fire. It would have to be done with pumper trucks. That could be a problem. The surrounding communities have been very upset about this situation as they suffer from the contamination. In addition there are many homeowners in Gulf Trace that want water and sewer but they seem to not be in the majority.

    Recently the BCC passed a motion to assess any beach front property owner with a septic system that fails during a storm with a proportionate cost of what it costs to clean up their mess. The ordinance is being developed and fine tuned.

    Health issues related to bacteria in the water are highly unlikely as the bacteria dissipates relatively quickly in the Gulf but the bacteria in the sand can last for months. Digging in the sand could be a problem. According to an article in USA Today on 7/21/05 the beach can act as a Petri dish for bacteria.

    See www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2005-07-21-bacteria-beaches_x.htm

    And this article does not address beaches with septic tanks on them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2005
  9. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    27,017
    Likes Received:
    1,117
    Richard...Thanks for the information. Is the hold up on proper sewage lines the cost or homeowners digging in their heels? I hope the ordinance gets fine tuned quickly. Maybe a hefty fine would be the nudge needed to help the homeowners realize their money would be better spent on hooking up to sewers. If I was looking on this message board to rent a place, Gulf Trace would not make my long list. Your pic is worth a million words. I also would like to hear from Gulf Trace owners for their comments.

    FIRES AND FECES...scary!
     
  10. Richard

    Richard Beach Comber

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    5
    The holdup appears to be the majority of homeowners digging in their heels, but I understand for them it's about money. They get their water from three wells in the subdivision and they have no sewer costs. Because their roads are private the county has no right-of-way there. Regional Utilities has offered sewer in the past.
     
  11. Philip_Atlanta

    Philip_Atlanta Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    1
    Interesting.. I don't know the whole of the story - but from the information here, I'd be embarrassed to be a Gulf Trace owner and begin taking some action.

    Here are some tidbits from an article I found in the Walton Sun..

    James Earl Ray, who owns several properties in Gulf Trace, said the Walton County Health Department regularly inspected the wells in the subdivision and found no problems with the water there.
    ?I?ve never heard of a person to get sick from a septic tank,? Ray said.
    However, Walton County Health Director Jim Jones said at the meeting a failed septic system could cause a problem.
    ?Yes, there is a threat to the water,? Jones said.


    ?Gulf Trace is the only subdivision in the Regional Utilities service area without public sewer service,? Regional Utilities Operation Coordinator Ashley Dismukes wrote to Walton County Commissioner Cindy Meadows after Tropical Storm Arlene. ?This subdivision is also the only subdivision with septic tanks remaining on the beach.?
    Dismukes noted 18 months earlier, Regional offered to provide water and sewer service to Gulf Trace residents, but of the 75 property owners, only 19 desired the services so the company did not move forward with the project.
     
  12. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    27,017
    Likes Received:
    1,117
    Shame, Shame, Shame!!!!!
     
  13. Moondance

    Moondance Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Messages:
    385
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gulf Trace, suburb of Grayton
    Shame indeed. As a recent owner in Gulf Trace, I am stunned that septics are even allowed on or near the beach, and that my neighbors voted against adequate sewer and fire protection. Perhaps a relic of our (collective) ignorant past, who knows? Even so, there are certainly a number (more than 19...) of enlightened, motivated, committed and financed owners in Gulf Trace, with any number of vested interests in addressing and resolving this issue forever.

    I am seeking information and legal review of the applicable homeowner "association" docs and will provide a fuller report on this thread. For now, it is my understanding that the developer maintains control of the private/common areas and owns a substantial number of the beachfront rentals in question.

    I applaud the ordinance (update, please, from anyone with good info) and suspect that it may accelerate the acquisition of a collective concience in Gulf Trace. Please keep in mind that it has historically been an absentee owner/rental community. However, for myself and others, it has/will become at least as much a residential retreat as a rental one.

    I will do my part as an owner, particularly if I can get moral and other support, in addition to outrage and indignation, which I share with my friends on this board. Let's get it fixed. I don't want my (or your) kids playing in a septic drain field.
     
  14. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,744
    Likes Received:
    220
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    Thanks. If there's anything people who don't live in SoWal can do to support you, just let us know. Is there any way to publicly identify the association owners who do support adequate sewer and fire protection and those who don't? Sometimes having one's views made public encourages people to make their views more socially appropriate. For example, do association meeting results (e.g., votes for or against adequate sewer and fire protection) have to be made public in any way?
     
  15. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    27,017
    Likes Received:
    1,117
    You Go Moondance!!!! You'll probably be called the "little whippersnapper", etc., but I think you have to be correct that more than 19 homeowners are in favor of saving their neighborhood's reputation. Please be advised...I am speaking from the heart and not from being educated on the history or ordinances in effect...other than from what I have learned from others here.
     
  16. Beach Runner

    Beach Runner beats on hood

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Messages:
    15,214
    Likes Received:
    788
    Location:
    Near the ATL and in SoWal as often as possible
    Speaking of septic tanks and feces, why does it always smell so badly on 395 just south of the Hammocks?
     
  17. Philip_Atlanta

    Philip_Atlanta Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    1
    Moondance, I applaud your action. It seems you have an uphill battle, especially with Mr. Ray. Here is a quote that I found, to give you an idea of who you are fighting against...
    ______
    Ray said Wednesday that he opposes the ordinance because the county has no business making Gulf Trace property owners connect to sewer. He added that he thinks Meadows just wants to cause trouble for Gulf Trace with the ordinance.

    "This is a private subdivision," he said. "The biggest mistake that the county made was electing a female county commissioner. She's all talk and no action."

    Meadows laughed when told of Ray's comments.

    "To make this a personal and a sexist issue is almost as bad as letting your sewer run down into other people's lakes," she said.
     
  18. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    :floor: :floor: :floor:
     
  19. EZ4144

    EZ4144 Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    16
    A lot of people feel that way aboutt her she is a joke that is not funny and nobody listens to her anyway except people that are unhappy. She always votes against the people and all the other comissioners.
     
  20. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    31,648
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    You are full of horse fecies.
     

Share This Page