– Septic tanks have always been a potential candidate for water quality degradation in adjacent waterways. To study impacts on the St. Lucie River Estuary
and Indian River Lagoon in Martin and St. Lucie counties, Dr. Thomas Belanger was awarded an $80,000 grant from the South Florida Water Management
The Florida Tech professor of environmental sciences will apply the one-year funding to add
three sites to three sites already under investigation for potential septic tank pollution in a $67,000 study already funded by the district. “We are
examining representative sites to see whether septic tank effluent is contributing significant nutrients and bacteria to the river and lagoon,” said
“Our study, coupled with data collected by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Department of Environmental Protection and county health departments,
should provide some answers on the importance of septic tank loading to the river and lagoon,” he said. Last year, poor water quality in the St. Lucie
River was evidenced by high fecal coliform bacterial levels, fish kills and toxic algal blooms.