Plan pitched to get rid of septic systems near lake


Rural communities near Lake Okeechobee would get $50 million to help remove old and failing septic tanks and connect properties to sewer systems, under a budget request filed Thursday by Senate Agriculture Chairman Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula.

The request would involve establishing a grant program to provide money to “fiscally constrained” communities in Okeechobee, Glades and Hendry counties that border tributaries feeding into Lake Okeechobee.

The request said reducing pollutants and such things as nitrogen and phosphorus from entering tributaries, Lake Okeechobee and other water bodies “protects the environment, fish, wildlife & state water resources.”

The request is filed for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, which starts Jan. 14. It is among more than 770 separate proposals, totaling $1.14 billion, that have been filed in the Senate.