Nitrogen Reducing Aerobic Treatment Systems (ATU’s) & Performance Based Treatment Systems (PBTS) and Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act resulting in Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs)
The Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act passed during the 2016 legislative session directed the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to assess the Outstanding Florida Springs for nutrient impairment and develop restoration plans or Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). These plans include an Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal System (OSTDS- AKA septic systems) remediation plan to reduce nitrogen input from septic systems.
The Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act prohibits new, conventional septic systems in priority focus areas (PFAs) of Outstanding Florida Springs on lots less than one acre. DEP is mandated by statute to develop the OSTDS remediation plans. Under these plans, any new construction proposed on lots less than one acre must:
- connect to sewer if available or,
- install a conventional septic system IF the property is listed on the septic-to-sewer project or,
- install a passive nitrogen reducing septic system (to be discussed below) or,
- install a nitrogen reducing ATU or PBTS
Installing a nitrogen reducing ATU is by far the easiest system to install. The ATU is set in the ground by the septic installer just like a septic tank followed by a conventional drainfield or dripfield. There are several nitrogen reducing ATU’s approved by the Florida Department of Health for installation. The current proposed passive nitrogen reducing septic system has not been tested and the system life is not necessarily known.