Local Septic Tanks Threatened by Rising Groundwater

By Toni-Ann Ferguson, Karina Gandylyan and Garfield Williams


MIAMI GARDENS – Drenched in sweat, Garth Bowas walked back to his truck, leaving a trail of muddy boot prints behind him. He wiped the beaded sweat from his forehead and took a breath of relief.

“I wouldn’t change my job for the world,” he said.

A septic technician for Mr. C’s Plumbing and Septic in Miami Gardens for five years, Bowas finds himself most days dealing with mud and muck, cleaning, repairing, and installing drain fields and septic tanks – tanks that soon might be flooded-out due to sea level rise throughout South Florida.

“Septic tanks are just another business but it is solving people’s problems,” said Kemble Ettrick, the vice president and operations director at Mr. C’s.

How tanks work

But in Miami-Dade County, anything that has to do with water – and wastewater – isn’t just “another business.” Theirs is one that deals with immediacy and can have a real impact on the health of neighborhoods, as septic tanks are used to dispose of wastewater from toilets and “graywater,” water that comes from people’s showers and dishwashers. […]


New Report on Sea Level Rise in Miami-Dade

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.14.54 AMTake a look at the Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force Report and Recommendations, which was released earlier this month. (Image of storm surge model from report)

Among its recommendations:

– accelerat(e) the adaptation planning process by seeking and formally selecting the engineering and other relevant expertise needed to develop the robust capital plan, vetting the elements (i.e., flood protection, salinity structures, pump stations, road and bridge designs, etc., just to name a few possibilities) as well as what measurable indicators will trigger timely sequencing. […]