Board General Island Services

LGI Sewer Project

Below is the information we discussed with Jack and Diane Boyer, owners of Environmental Utilities (EU).  The LGPOA is sending a letter to Charlotte County to ask if it’s an option for them to install and maintain the system.  Once we get a response form the county, we will forward it to you. We are also contacting Palm Island to discuss their thoughts on the project. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your district representative.

November 16, 2020

LGPOA Board invited Jack and Diane Boyer to attend a board meeting to answers questions about the LGI Sewer Project.  Following each question is the answer provided by Jack and/or Diane (Environmental Utilities).

Please note the following disclosure:  Until all engineering, permitting, and certifications are complete, no costs can be determined.  While some estimates are provided below, they are subject to change.

What agency is responsible for driving the plan to upgrade our current waste treatment to a sewer system?

The State of Florida DEP currently is responsible for overseeing our septic systems.

What is the timeframe for approval of the certification by PSC?  

Approval is anticipated to occur in March or April of 2021.  Environmental Utilities must prove the need, show their experience and prove financial readiness.

Will there be a waste treatment plant on the island?

The plan is to run the main transmission line from Don Pedro to Cape Haze to hook to hook into the treatment plant in Rotunda West.

When will installation begin on LGI?

Installation on LGI will begin within 4-5 years.  The project will be handled in 3 phases: 1. Cape Haze 2. Palm/Don Pedro/Knight Island 3. LGI. There are 1380 customers affected.

Will there be grants from the county and your sources?

Yes.  Jack Boyer will be hiring a national firm to locate funding for homeowners who need financial assistance with their water hook-up.

Why did they request to bifurcate the proceeding with the county? How can we evaluate what is being proposed if we cannot see the potential rates and fees?  Why is it confidential?  Why are your financials being kept confidential?  How can we evaluate if this information is kept from us?

Personal finances do not need to be disclosed publicly and are blacked out throughout the application.  Annual reports can be found on the county website.  Rates and fees will not be known until certification and permits are complete.

How much will it cost to install the submerged transmission line?  How much will it cost to install infrastructure on the island?

These costs have yet to be determined

Will this be mandatory?  When will it be mandatory?

Yes.  It will be mandatory for homeowners to connect to the sewer system within one year from the time the line is placed in front of their home.

If it is mandatory, will the septic tank be required to be removed?  Is that included in the charge? And if so, are there state grants to help pay for the removal and dirt to fill the holes back in?  Do you hook up to our houses?

It is mandatory that each home connects to the system.   The yet to be determined cost to connect will include crushing of the existing septic tank, the pump needed to move the waste water, connection to the home and all related maintenance and replacement of all parts outside the home.  Connection from the main line to the house is also included. 

Why is a low-pressure system being proposed instead of the vacuum system proposed in the Charlotte County master plan?

Although a vacuum system has lower ongoing maintenance costs, the initial cost cannot be supported by a customer base with as few ERC’s (Equivalent Residential Connections) as ours; a low-pressure system, although more expensive to maintain over time, has a substantially smaller initial cost which can be supported by the smaller number of ERC’s.

An owner purchased their home 18 months ago.  The inspection of the septic system revealed it was in very good condition.  Will they be required to hook up to the county system?

 Yes, within a year of the line being placed in front of their home.

For the water, billing is based on usage.  Will there be a flat fee plus usage (based on water) on our bills?

Yes, 80% of usage. PSC sets the rates keeping Environmental Utilities’ expenses in mind.

Will this bill be quarterly like the water?

Yes, quarterly helps keep the expense to the customer lower.

How much will it cost per home to hook up?

It is anticipated to cost approximately $20,000 and financing options and grants will be available.  However, final costs cannot be determined until all permits, certifications and infrastructure installation costs are known.

Where will the pump stations or lift stations be located?

Locations have yet to be determined.

Will each condo resident be charged the same as each homeowner on the island?                            

No.  The two condo associations have a bulk sewer agreement and are exempt from the mandatory connection.  Each condo association can independently opt in or out.

Are there any other options for homeowners besides hooking up to this system?

Not if Jack gets the certification from PSC.  Before then, LGI could petition the county to run the system for us.  Another option is to become a utility district, similar to Boca Grande, to save money in the long run on taxes and fees.  We would have to buy out Jack’s companies and build and run the system ourselves at the cost of millions of dollars. 

If there is an environmental accident, will your company have the financial backing to clean it up?

Yes. Protocol to avoid such an occurrence will be in place to be proactive and have mechanisms in place such as back flow meters and the ability to  manually pump tanks prior to, for example, a hurricane should the electric go out.

What would happen if the new utility defaults on its loans or not able to financially support provision of reliable service?

The lender would take over the utility by going back to the county.  The utility would have to explain why it was so mismanaged under PFC regulations.

More information on the Master Plan of Charlotte County can be found at:
https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/core/fileparse.php/523/urlt/charlotte-county-sewer-master-plan.pdf

If you’d like to be listed as “interested persons” on the Florida Public Service Commission docket regarding the application for Environmental Utilities to provide wastewater services in Charlotte County send a request to clerk@psc.state.fl.us. Reference Docket NO. 20200226-WS and include your email.  Be sure to request notification of informal meeting notices, FAW notices, all recommendations and final orders issued by the Commission.

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