Lake Pan residents outraged at $40,000 per household septic conversion

Some Lake Panasoffkee residents are pushing back against a project to replace septic tanks with municipal sewers.

Three residents told Sumter County commissioners Tuesday night they are concerned about the cost that many homeowners could not afford.

Replacing septic tanks is viewed as the first step in cleaning up the weed-infested lake and working to restore its once pristine water quality.

County Administrator Bradley Arnold said septic tanks in Lake Panasoffkee have a higher leakage rate than in other communities.

The county kicked off the sewer project two years ago, funding a study with federal money from the America Rescue Plan Act. You can read the complete study at this link: https://www.fgua.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Lake-Pan-Water-Wastewater-Improvement-Analysis-Presentation.pdf

Now, the project is managed by the Florida Government Utility Authority (FGUA) working in conjunction with the Lake Panasoffkee Water Association.

“They’re a government authority so they have the resources and the duty to proceed with this,” Arnold said, adding that the FGUA often works to rescue failing municipal waste water systems.

He said the county won’t provide funding for the project, although a treatment plant could be built on county-owned land.

Residents were outraged when they were told the cost would be $40,000 per household or more than $200 monthly over a 20-year period if they had to foot the entire bill for sewers and waste water treatment.

“It’s going to be suicide for our people,” said Charles Pennington, who organizes monthly resident meetings.

Even if grants are found to cover the cost, he said there are other hidden fees such as septic tank removal and maintenance of grinder pumps.

Tina Bruto said many Lake Panasoffkee residents can’t afford the project without 100 percent funding.

Susie Hackett also said she is wary of the cost, but that she supports the project.

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