Water Quality Now is the time for action

Reg Buxton Life in Naples Publisher

In the last 45 days I have invested hours speaking with individuals on our water crisis. This was done by attending meetings, talking with experts, and doing my own research. The last meeting that I participated in was an informational debate between the top lobbyist of Big Sugar and leadership from the Everglades Foundation.

Two very well-spoken individuals with different points of view. Both agreed Lake O was in a precarious situation and needed a remedy. Big Sugar said the problem was all the pollutants that were entering the lake from the north. The Everglades Foundation stated that it was all the pollutants leaving the lake on its southern end. Both felt that the problem in their area needed to be resolved first.

Both of these areas are important unfortunately neither solution is funded. There are at least 68 projects that have been approved as part of a solution of Lake O, none are completed or funded. I attended the Florida League of Cities meetings in August and spoke with attendees from around the state. Those living in areas that are directly impacted by the Lake O discharge are very concerned, those indirectly affected feel they have more pressing priorities.

The majority of the state and the constituents of Florida Legislatures are also not directly impacted. That translates into little or no help on the horizon. Some steps that we can immediately take are to return to the stronger Fertilizer Ordinance the City once had. Ramp up improving the Storm Water system. The City of Naples has a 22-million-dollar project approved by City Council and is now in the final stages of Federal approval.

There were close to 1,500 septic tanks south of Pine Ridge, north of Naples High School and between US 41 and Goodlette Road. Of that number there is a plan to replace 400 of them. We need to work diligently on a plan to replace the other 1,100, timing is everything in resolving this matter, and the time for action is now.

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