Supply chain issues leading to delays in septic tank phaseout project

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Amid the efforts to phase out septic tanks in Jacksonville, the News4JAX I-TEAM on Tuesday learned during a meeting of JEA board members that global supply chain issues are leading to major delays and more expensive materials.

It’s an unexpected obstacle that JEA board members and city leaders are trying their best to manage in an unstable economy: Moving more than 3,400 households in Jacksonville from septic tanks to city sewers.

″JEA began to see major disruptions around the beginning of 2021 and felt the impacts across most of our inventory items,” said Jenny McCollum, JEA’s director of procurement.

PREVIOUS STORY: Signs of progress in septic tank phaseout in Jacksonville neighborhoods

McCollum told board members that the raw materials they need to complete four phaseout projects have become hard to secure, and the list of these items isn’t a short one. It includes copper, resin, aluminum, brass, steel, transformers, valves and fittings.


Essential items like PVC pipes, manholes, wires and cables have also been hard to come by.

All of the area supply chains are being affected, which starts with the manufacturers’ inability to source raw materials. Transportation issues due to port closures, shortages of shipping containers, increased fuel costs and difficulty hiring staff have prevented most manufacturers from meeting demand.

With over $87 million allocated to four different projects, JEA also gave the public an update on its progress.

In the Biltmore neighborhood, JEA says it’s connecting customers in Phase 1 of the septic tank phaseout, which will be followed by septic tanks being phased out in the Beverly Hills neighborhood, where connection to city sewer services is expected in a few months.

The Christobel community is in the outreach phase, and needs 70% approval to start construction

The Riverview Project will follow soon after, potentially starting later this year.


JEA says last year’s tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico and the ice storms in Texas also caused manufacturers to shut down their plants. JEA and city leaders are working on finding new solutions to get the work done.

JEA says it’s now ordering the products they need more frequently. And they also add in flexibility to the price adjustment because inflation is affecting the prices of the supplies they need. They are also developing what are called contractor-to-contractor partnerships, where they are able to share materials with other contractors.

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