Attorneys: Septic tanks leaching into lagoon could be killing manatees, should be stopped

Scott Wyland (@ScottWylandTCP)

Septic tanks that are leaching sewage into the Indian River Lagoon could be killing manatees and should be scrapped immediately, say two attorneys who threatened Thursday to sue the state Department of Health under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The attorneys represent a Cocoa Beach eco-tour kayaking business as well as manatees, Atlantic green turtles and marsh snakes, which are listed as endangered.

They’re giving the health department 60 days to halt permitting on new septic systems and issue orders to remove or fix all septic tanks polluting the lagoon. After that, they’ll sue the agency under the Endangered Species Act.

“It’s a clear violation of federal law,” said Christopher T. Byrd, an Orlando attorney who specializes in environmental law.

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