Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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$16 Million Grant for Wekiwa Springs Septic-to-Sewer Program

The Orange County Utilities Wekiwa Springs Septic-to-Sewer Program was recently awarded $16 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Wastewater Grant program. At the outset of this program in 2021, the overarching goal was to convert 2,000 homes from septic to sewer by 2030.

This grant will provide funding assistance for the conversion of the last 500 parcels in the final three neighborhoods: Lake Cortez Woods, Lake Mendelin Estates, and Wekiwa Manor. After completion of this phase, a total of 20 neighborhoods in the Wekiwa Springs basin will have been converted to a central sewer system.

“We are thrilled to receive the full $16 million grant that we requested from the FDEP,” said Orange County Utilities Director Ed Torres. “This grant showcases the commitment of our staff to protect our natural resources and provide sustainable services to our residents.”

Septic tanks are responsible for 29% of nitrates found in Wekiwa Springs. To help improve the health of these springs, one solution is to upgrade current neighborhood septic systems to connect to a sewer system that can take wastewater to an advanced treatment facility.

“Protecting the environment and building sustainably is a top priority for Orange County,” said Mayor Jerry Demings. “Through this partnership with the FDEP, we will reduce the financial burden on homeowners while being responsible stewards of our local ecosystems. With this grant we will continue to make Orange County a safe and healthy place for generations to come.”

The Wekiwa Springs Septic-to-Sewer Program is part of Orange County’s ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and public health by improving water quality in the Wekiwa Springs basin. With the help of the FDEP grant, Orange County Utilities will continue to make significant progress towards this multiyear initiative.

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  1. I live in a property affected by this overall project. We are something like phase 5 or 6 if I remember correctly, the votes have been cast and the project is in motion for our neighborhood. Recently we received final notice of the special tax assessment that would be applied to our property and we have until July to pay the $7500 in full or pay $10000 over the next 10 years of property taxes. The issue that I and many neighbors have with this, is that we have been given no official timeline for when construction will start or finish, and when we will actually get to use the services we are being mandated to pay for. The current construction progress is still in Phase 3 neighborhoods.

    It would be nice to understand why we are being required to pay so much money so far in advance, especially given that the timeline for payment is July 2023.

    I have made attempts to reach out to the contact information provided with the payment notice to get answers to this concern, and so far the responses have been underwhelming. Nobody seems to be able to explain why we are being required to pay potentially years in advance.

    It would be nice to see some additional coverage on this, as it currently feels more like a money grab than an actual payment for service. Almost akin to a ponzi scheme, as we seem to be paying for Phase 3 projects and I guess hoping that a government project doesn’t have any budget overruns or funding issues by the time its our turn.


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