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December Newsletter

Septic to Sewer Conversions

The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County (CWC) recognizes that septic system pollution is a primary cause of the decline of the Indian River Lagoon. Now, the State is requiring septic system elimination for areas where water quality is poor. For some residents, the cost to connect will be a challenge. To tackle that problem, the CWC began a pilot program to connect households currently using septic systems to the City of Vero Beach Municipal Sewer System. $225,000 was raised with help from our donors, The Indian River Land Trust, The Community Foundation of Indian River County and the cooperation of the City of Vero Beach.

The Economic Opportunities Council is providing valuable outreach and income qualification for the residents.

It is expected that the current funds will connect more than 25 homes on a first come, first serve basis in the Atlantic Avenue area along the Main Relief Canal. The first 10 are underway.

Who pays for what?

Connection fees. $3,390.  No cost to the homeowner.  The City of Vero Beach will credit these fees.

Plumbing and Electrical fees to install the equipment.  Permit charges. About $7,700.  No cost to the homeowner.  The Clean Water Coalition and its financial partners will pay this bill.

Equipment supplied by the City of Vero Beach.  About $5,000 payable by the homeowner at an initial payment of about $500 followed by 9 annual payments of $500. The City is providing 10 year 0% interest financing.

To apply or get more information contact:

Economic Opportunities Council: Judy Livingston - 772-562-4177

Clean Water Coalition: Keith Drewett - 410-533-4566


Right to Clean Water – proposed Florida Constitution Amendment

The "Right to Clean and Healthy Waters" campaign in Florida for the 2024 ballot has made significant progress, gathering 115,000 petitions out of the required 900,000, mainly thanks to volunteers and in spite of limited funding.

Looking ahead to 2026, increased funding and expertise are needed. This constitutional amendment is an important response to legislative challenges like the “Sprawl Bill” which threatens Florida’s environment.

The 2024 effort is not the end but a beginning, built on the hard work of volunteers. It signifies a growing movement for environmental stewardship in Florida, with the goal of clean and healthy waters. Updates on how to support will be coming in 2024.


Clean Water Coalition's Push for Enhanced Funding to Protect Florida's Waterways

Advocating for Increased State Support in Water Quality Improvement

The Clean Water Coalition (CWC) is at the forefront of a vital campaign urging Governor DeSantis to boost funding for Florida's water quality initiatives, with a specific focus on the Indian River Lagoon (IRL). This effort aligns with Governor DeSantis' environmental priorities and the mandates of HB 1379, which requires upgrading septic systems to better water quality.

The situation is dire: according to the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, the IRL requires an estimated annual investment of $400 million/yr over two decades for restoration, far surpassing the current state funding of $100 million. This funding gap endangers the lagoon's ecosystem, affects property values, and threatens Florida's natural resources. The CWC's proposes to double the millage rates for Florida's Water Management Districts for fiscal years 2024/2025. According to the rates established in 2023, this minor increase in property taxes could generate significant funds needed for water quality improvements.

The CWC is committed to environmental protection in Indian River County and strongly supports the septic system conversion mandate under HB 1379. The existing state funding falls short, placing a significant burden on counties, cities, and individual property owners. The routine rollback of millage rates by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and other water districts further aggravates the funding crisis, threatening the progress of essential water projects.

The CWC encourages others to participate in this important advocacy. Contact Governor DeSantis to support the proposed increase in the Water Management Districts' millage rates. This would be a significant step towards restoring Florida's impaired water bodies and fulfilling the requirements of HB 1379. Your participation is critical in steering Florida toward a sustainable and environmentally conscious future.

Contact Governor DeSantis at 850-717-9337 or email to express support for doubling the Water Management Districts' millage rates.  This small step can significantly contribute to the restoration of  Florida's impaired waters and the fulfillment of HB 1379's requirements.


Ghosts of the lagoon: Skeletal remains of boats haunt waterways from Vero to Sebastian

Recent TCPalm article by Nick Slater featuring CWC Vice President Keith Drewett and our organizations fight to get rid of derelect vessails in the Indian River Lagoon.

"Whenever Keith Drewett takes his boat out from Vero Beach Yacht Club, he witnesses skeletal hulls slowly decomposing, listing and sinking into the sand of the Indian River Lagoon.

He passes vessels with shreds of sails clinging like cobwebs in an attic. He hopes no wildlife ingest chemicals or refuse leaking from the boats.

It's not a sight reserved for Drewett, vice president of the Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County. For boaters up and down the county, this is old news. They know people abandon their boats, leaving the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and local governments to deal with the problem."


As the year draws to a close, we reflect on the progress we've made together in our mission to protect and preserve the waterways of Indian River County. The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County (CWC) has been steadfast in its commitment to ensuring clean and sufficient potable water and healthy waterways for our community, and your support has been instrumental in this journey.

Your Year-End Gift Can Make a Significant Impact

Now is the perfect time to consider making a year-end donation to CWC. Not only will your contribution help us kickstart the new year with renewed energy and resources, but it also comes with potential tax benefits. CWC is a registered nonprofit organization with a Tax ID Number of 83-2498906, and we are proud to be recognized as a GuideStar Platinum-rated charity.

How to Donate

Donating is easy and convenient. You can make your contribution online by visiting our secure donation page here. It only takes a few moments, and you'll have the option to choose a one-time gift or set up a recurring donation to support our ongoing efforts.

If you prefer to donate by check, please make it payable to "Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County" and mail it to:

Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County

P.O. Box 2171

Vero Beach, FL 32961

Your support, makes a significant impact on our ability to protect and advocate for clean water in Indian River County. Every drop counts, and every donation brings us one step closer to achieving our goals.

Thank you for being part of our journey and all the best for your holidays.


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