Septic-to-Sewer (S2S) and Low-Pressure Sewer Systems (LPSS)
Hillsborough County is launching a program to protect groundwater and improve the quality of the region’s natural systems by eliminating septic tanks and low-pressure sewer systems in areas around the bay. Homes and businesses in these areas that currently use septic or low-pressure systems will be converted to the County’s central collection system, a program frequently referred to as septic-to-sewer or S2S.
The County’s central system is reliable, sustainable, and environmentally responsible. The septic-to-sewer program is a long-term plan that aims to replace all septic and low-pressure systems within the County’s urban service area, starting with conversions in areas of highest vulnerability and environmental impact.
Why Are Some Communities on Alternative Wastewater Service?
Many neighborhoods in Hillsborough County were built before the County had wastewater service available. As a result, these areas use septic tanks or low-pressure sewer systems for collection of wastewater at homes and businesses. Several of these communities are in areas with low ground elevation and are vulnerable to storm surge and flooding.
- Septic tanks, no matter how efficient, are a source of nutrient loading to the groundwater system. Research shows that these nutrients contribute to algae blooms and other detrimental impacts to water quality.
- Additionally, septic tank systems rely on relatively dry soil to allow for proper drainage. If the ground is saturated, the system will not operate properly. In these instances, waste can back up into the home or business or contaminate local waterways. This negative impact to public health and safety must be mitigated.
Low-Pressure Sewer Systems
- In the 1980s, low-pressure sewer systems were initially constructed as an alternative collection system to septic tanks. At the time, these systems were considered the best option for central collection and transfer of wastewater, but over time the systems have proven to be unreliable and inefficient to operate.
- Low-pressure systems are susceptible to failures and overflows, potentially endangering public health and safety, and low-pressure systems that are near water or sensitive estuaries may pose an immediate threat to water quality and the environment.
- Conversion to a conventional collection system with modern technology will significantly improve the operation of these systems and ensure customers have reliable service, along with safeguarding public health and protecting the environment.
Converting Connections from Septic and Low-Pressure Sewer Systems to Central Collection System
Many communities are vulnerable to rising water and the impacts of non-functioning septic and low-pressure sewer systems. A central collection system ensures sustainable wastewater service.
Septic-to-sewer and low-pressure sewer system conversion initiatives are important to protect and preserve the county’s groundwater resources. Hillsborough County has established capital project funding for several projects:
Gibsonton and Palm River S2S
In addition to the installation of new wastewater pipelines throughout the community, the project will also include the construction of a new vacuum pump station at Gibsonton Elementary School and upgrades to area drinking water pipelines.
Ruskin and Wimauma S2S and LPSS
Four areas in Ruskin and two areas in Wimuama have been proposed. Area A in Ruskin and Area 1 in Wimauma will be the first for conversion.
University Area S2S
Hillsborough County has a new program to improve water quality for University Area residents who have septic tanks and/or private water wells. The program is completely free, and Hillsborough County will handle everything to convert your property from septic to sewer and to the City of Tampa water service.
- Qualifying areas
- Residential properties in the University Area community between Fowler Avenue and Bearss Avenue, from Interstate 275 to Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, may be eligible. While the City of Tampa has significant infrastructure in the area, many homes were built without connections to water and sewer, or never connected when services became available. These homes are served by septic tanks for wastewater collection and treatment and may have private water wells. There are approximately 1,300 residential dwellings in the area that could be connected.
- Criteria for connection
- It is preferred that the water line or sewer line is adjacent to the property.
- Water line extension to serve property must not be more than 200 feet.
- Sewer line extension to serve property must not be more than 100 feet.
- If sewer connection requires a pump station to be constructed, the property will not be considered.
- If the line extension (water or sewer) requires crossing a major road or other significant feature, the property may be excluded from consideration.
- For residential properties, all application and connection costs are free to the property owner and will be covered by the program. For multifamily properties, the program will cover construction and related connection costs, but not City of Tampa’s application fees or impact fees.
- After the connection is complete, residents will become a City of Tampa water customer and begin to have a monthly water bill, which will vary depending on water usage.
- Program information and how to apply
- Property owners who have an interest in connecting their properties to either drinking water or public sewer can simply apply for service. The property will be evaluated for connection based on the criteria listed above, and the County will facilitate all the necessary activities to complete the connection.
- Contact Elsie Lewis-Storey, Program Manager, Applied Sciences Consulting Engineers, (813) 228-0900, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information regarding City of Tampa Utilities, please visit Tampa.Gov/Utilities or call (813) 274-7405.