Estero switching from septic tanks to sewer system comes at a cost

The City of Estero is taking the first step to getting rid of the bacteria polluting the water. It wants to get rid of the septic tanks and connect homes to the sewer system. However, for hundreds of homeowners, it will not be cheap.

On a hot day like Wednesday, people should be cooling off at the Estero River. But it is polluted with alarming rates of fecal matter.

Dorothy Everard, an Estero homeowner, said the river is not what it used to be. Her kids swam all summer long in Estero without any problems. But now it is different.

“I’m not sure I’d let anybody go in to go swimming,” Everard said.

After talking about changes for years, leaders in the Village of Estero said now is the time to take action. Their first step is switching hundreds of homes from septic tanks to the sewer system.

Bill Ribble, the mayor of Estero, said they need to decide where to start the project. Also, how to develop the installation of sewer piping, which includes necessary support processes, such as who will pay for the project and how much will it cost.

That is what Everard wants to know. Her 50-year-old home is hooked up to a septic tank.

“I’m just on social security, so things are a little bit tight anyways,” Everard said. “But, if the expense is going to be too much, then for somebody like me, that’s bad.”

Everard would love to hook up to a sewer system to help clean up the river. However, if the trade-off is having life become more complicated, then her support may waver.

“I wouldn’t have to have it pumped out,” Everard said. “I wouldn’t have to keep putting stuff into the septic unit. Wouldn’t have to tell my great-grandkids not use so much toilet paper, you know. You don’t want to block it up so much.”

The village will study various alternatives and costs over the next six months. However, in nearby Cape Coral, people who are going from septic to sewer are paying $20,000. In some cases, more in the disposal of the tank, taxes, plus water and irrigation.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Michael Mora
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