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Bill To Help With NW Jacksonville Failing Septic Tanks Progressing Through Council

Peter Haden
JEA workers connect a home to a sewer line in 2014.

A Jacksonville City Council Committee approved a plan to free up a million dollars to help with failing septic tanks in the Northwest area of Jacksonville.

Grants would be offered to businesses with septic tank issues to hook up to city sewer lines.

If there isn’t a sewer line nearby, the city would pay to repair or replace businesses’ septic tanks.

Some committee members asked, why not just build more sewer lines? One of the bill’s sponsor’s, Reggie Brown, said that would be too expensive.
“It has created a huge challenge,” Brown said. “My hope is that we resolve this immediate concern so they can stay in business, but the bigger picture is to start to work on city services, sewer and water in particular so when it fails then we can do exactly what you’re talking about -- require everyone to hook up to city services, that’s the desire of the community.”

A third of the city’s businesses that have septic tanks are in what’s called “Northwest-area economic-development boundary,”  which has a designated city trust fund the grants would be pulled from.

The boundary covers portions of 10 Northwest ZIP codes. Business owners or prospective business owners can apply for part the trust fund to help their businesses grow. The legislation would waive criteria businesses normally must satisfy to receive the grant funding, like creating a certain number of new jobs.

The bill was introduced by Reggie Brown, Katrina Brown, Garrett Dennis, Reggie Gaffney and Sam Newby. Co-sponsors include Tommy Hazouri and Joyce Morgan.

The Finance Committee is set to consider the bill Tuesday before a full Council vote later this month.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.