Septic tanks on the barrier island continue to pollute the lagoon
I’ve encountered many residents on the barrier island who think that by regularly pumping out their septic tank they are being good stewards of the environment. These residents are not environmentally unaware. Many are tree-huggers, plant Florida Friendly yards, observe the fertilizer ban, boat, kayak and fish the lagoon or live directly on it. Yet they are reluctant to convert their septic systems, a major source of lagoon pollution, to the city sewer system.
Please know that pumping out your tank regularly only removes the solid waste and does nothing to prevent further nutrient pollution of the lagoon. It is the liquid effluent that flows daily from the tank into the drainfield that is the source of septic pollution. This effluent contains the nitrogen and phosphorus that feeds algae blooms that smother the seagrass. Bacteria, viruses and pharmaceuticals are also in that effluent flowing to the lagoon.
The barrier island was never suitable for septic systems because of its high water table and sandy soils. The pollutants in the drainfield effluent receive little treatment as they quickly leach through the sand into the ground water and ultimately flow to the lagoon. This is especially true if the system was installed pre-1983 when only six inches of separation between the drainfield and high water table was required and is the case almost everywhere on the island after a heavy rain.
It has been almost six years since the rollout of the STEP system on the barrier island. The poor health of lagoon dolphins, turtles and manatees is reported in the media daily. They are the canaries in the coal mine! How much longer can we afford to wait for those remaining residents on the island with septic systems to truly support lagoon restoration?
Jean Catchpole, Vero Beach, is the chairman of the Water & Lagoon Committee of the Indian River Neighborhood Association.
Voters shouldn’t be asked to grant taxing authority to a favored charity
A local town council committed an act of principled governance recently, but you probably didn’t hear about it. The Indian River Shores town council voted 5 to 0 against putting a referendum on next year’s ballot that would grant taxing authority to an unaccountable, unelected board. Their reasons were well-researched and sound.
Taxes should pay for essentials like safety, police, roads and not charities; it’s a slippery slope setting up permanent government funding streams for independent organizations. The county already gives over $2 million to children’s charities through the general fund, which can be altered based on need.
Problems with the children’s tax scheme, noted by council members, include the 12-year initial term and automatic built in-increases. A new tax shouldn’t go unchecked for 12 years and proven results should be required before increases are voted on.
The organizers argue the tax won’t be much. But like most taxes, the ones needing money the most will be hit the hardest. The family of four struggling to save for their kid’s education or the senior couple on a fixed income should not be taxed for a favored charity.
The tax organizers chant – “Let the voters decide!” Well, the Indian River Shores town council couldn’t just punt it to the voters like Vero Beach, Sebastian and Fellsmere did. They understand the ramification of this slippery slope — expanding government and increasing taxes. In good conscience they didn’t just “put it on the ballot”; they said it’s not in the best interest of their constituents and should end here and now.
If you agree, you should contact your county commissioner and tell them this new Children’s Trust tax should not be on the ballot. Are they afraid to stand on principle as the Indian River Shores town council members did?
Susan Mehiel, Vero Beach
Biden’s self-inflicted wounding of America and its economy
Gas prices are rising daily while heating oil prices are expected to rise 30% to 50% and the Biden administration blames OPEC as they continue to investigate how to close more pipelines. It appears this administration would rather see Americans suffer financially so they can implement their "green new deal.”
We are not the fools they think we are. Technologically we are not capable of running our economy on windmills and solar. How will we maintain our military? It takes electricity for the charging stations needed to charge the expensive electric cars. What form of fuel will they use for the electricity? What's wrong with nuclear? Their measures are too drastic.
They keep saying no new taxes on those earning under $400,000. Not true. Inflation is a form of taxation on all incomes. Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" will increase inflation and appears not only as social welfare entitlement but another attempt to buy votes for Democrats and make people dependent on government to take care of them. Another socialist ploy.
Illegal immigrants impose costs on our economy, eventually at the expense of we the taxpayers. Our country is open to all kinds of national security threats, drugs and diseases. Some illegal immigrants pay cartels a minimum of $3,000 to $4,000 and if they don't have cash they become workers for the cartels to pay them back. How many drug dealers do we have now?
When will Americans say we've had enough of this administration and its progressive agenda ?
Christina Knight, Stuart
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Letters to the Editor: Dec. 5, 2021