Friday, August 2, 2019

Disturbing. The number of septic tanks west of Lake Worth Beach.


The issue of septic tanks in coastal Palm Beach County is an important topic in The Coastal Star this month, here are two excerpts from a recent editorial by editor Mary Kate Leming headlined, “Sewage disposal issues leave no time to waste”:

A perfect day in paradise can be spoiled by a backed-up toilet. An out-of-order sign on a bathroom door can turn a pleasant outing into an anxious search for functioning facilities. And after a storm, I can’t imagine anything more discombobulating than being told not to flush.

It’s indisputable: We all depend on smooth-functioning wastewater disposal to keep life clean and simple.

Over the next few months, our newspaper plans to explore what happens after we flush the toilet.

We plan to take a close look at how local municipalities are working to stay ahead of population and development increases during a time when that very growth is challenging the environment that defines the popular Florida lifestyle. Adapting to this change will not be cheap. Already we’re seeing municipalities struggling to make necessary improvements.

For August, Rich Pollack spent time talking with the people who manage our waste-processing plants and gives an overview of the improvements they are making, how much it all costs and what potential disasters keep them awake at night.

Next month, Pollack plans to illustrate problems with septic systems on small, urban lots and show how new technology is attempting to address environmental concerns.

and. . .

Sewage may not be a topic most of us like to discuss, but it’s about to hit us all in the wallet. Hard.

To read the entire editorial in The Coastal Star click on this link.

On the topic of septic tanks what follows is a blog post from last month:

Lake Worth Beach has very few parcels left on septic tanks and that is very good news. But the news west of Lake Worth Beach is anything but good news and this should alarm everyone in this City, especially those concerned about the environment, water quality and threats of blue-green algae in local lakes (e.g., Lake Osborne), canals and waterways all of which drain into the Lake Worth Lagoon, also referred to as the Intracoastal Waterway.

Many of you will be shocked by the number of septic tanks just in one unincorporated area called Lake Osborne Estates (see map below).

The issue of septic tanks became an issue last year when Vice Mayor Andy Amoroso requested a map of all septic tanks in the vicinity of the City and you can read all about that by clicking on this link.

Here is the latest: From Budget Work Session #2 held last Thursday, June 20th at the LWB City Commission on the topic of the City’s water and sewer funds we learned that Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management is working on a septic tank “Heat Map” and this map of septic tanks in the County will be completed in the near future.

The topic of septic tanks came up several times at the City Commission last Thursday. For example, from the City’s YouTube video (see below) is a back-and-forth between Vice Mayor Amoroso and Brian Shields, P.E., the director of the Water Utilities Dept.

But it was later in the workshop that the surprising numbers came out. According to Shields there are 1000–1200 property parcels still on septic tanks west of this City and of that number there are four hundred and sixty-six just in Lake Osborne Estates alone. Also from the budget work session last week Vice Mayor Pro Tem Scott Maxwell wants to make it a priority to get these properties off septic tanks working with the state and the possibility of grants to aid the conversion from septic to sewer which can be very expensive.

Not only will septic-to-sewer conversion be a huge benefit for the environment but the additional customers will be a benefit for the City and the utility as well. Here is the exchange between Vice Mayor Amoroso and Dir. Brian Shields:

Very important for readers to understand. The actual City of Lake Worth Beach is approximately six square miles but the utility service areas (electric, sewer and water) cover many areas west in parts of the Village of Palm Springs and suburban (unincorporated) Lake Worth. For example, Lake Osborne Estates is in suburban Lake Worth.

Click on map to enlarge (note Lake Osborne, PBC Park Airport and John Prince Park to the west, all located in unincorporated PBC):

In this map Lake Worth Beach is shaded yellow, the Town of Lantana is shaded red. The unshaded area east of Lake Osborne is the unincorporated area called Lake Osborne Estates where there is a high concentration of septic tanks (note Lantana Rd. to the south).

For reference, to look over all the utility service areas (water, sewer and electric) click on this link for the online GIS maps.

Are all the septic tanks in Lake Osborne Estates being inspected on a regular basis? What affect are all these septic tanks having on the water quality in Lake Osborne?

The public concern about algae and water quality is very real. Many of you will recall what occurred back in 2016. Because of reports of toxic blue-green algae in the C-51 Canal, reports that turned out to be false, the July 4th Raft Race festivities in the Intracoastal were cancelled.

Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime contact your elected leadership in Lake Worth Beach and let them know that septic-to-sewer conversions west of the City are a concern of yours.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

“Living Large in Small Spaces”: Cottages of Lake Worth book honored as finalist of Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are referred to as the ‘Sundance’ in book publishing, these are literary awards honoring authors and publishers of notable and noteworthy independently published books in seventy categories ranging from “Action/Adventure (Fiction)” to “Best Overall Design Non-Fiction”.

Would you like to see the Cottages book? It is available at the following locations:

The Book Cellar bookstore in Lake Worth Beach (more details below), the Lake Worth Beach Public Library located at 15 North M St., the Maria Paz Art Studio at 515 Lake Ave. and at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County at 601 Lake Ave.*

The Cottages of Lake Worth book is cited by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the category of “Coffee Table Book/Photography”:

Here is the front cover of

Worth noting is The Book Cellar bookstore in downtown Lake Worth Beach where one can peruse The Cottages of Lake Worth book on display. The Book Cellar is located at 801 Lake Ave. at the corner of Lake and J Street.

*Other locations outside Lake Worth Beach: Hand’s Art Supplies at 325 E. Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach, the Palm Beach Book Store at 215 Royal Poinciana Way in the Town of Palm Beach, and several venues in West Palm (Excentricities, 1810 S. Dixie Hwy; Mecox Gardens, 3900 S. Dixie; Norcross Patio and Gift, 5023 S. Dixie; and The Painted Ox at 5800 S. Dixie.

Monday, July 29, 2019

News from Andrew Boryga headlined, “Just add humidity: How this air-to-water machine can quench your thirst”.

Learn more about the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporter at the end of this blog post including his contact information. Now is a very good time to become a subscriber to the Sun Sentinel, for unlimited digital access click on this link.

This latest news from Boryga will have you wondering about the inconceivable, what if the humidity here in South Florida can be turned into a necessity for everyone, an everyday and essential need? On that Boryga asks his readers,

But what if that humidity could serve as a commodity for our current and future water needs in South Florida and beyond? What if clean water could be created . . . right out of thick air?

Below are two excerpts from the Sun Sentinel story about a company called Atmospheric Water Solutions (AWS). Later in this blog post are ways to contact AWS and find out where their products are available locally.

The information about AWS changes the narrative model about drinking water in any number of ways including improving the environment and reducing plastic pollution. One can see how this technology can help eliminate plastic water bottles and on a larger scale bank more clean water underground for future drought conditions.

This technology acts like a dehumidifier and an air cleaner and works optimally at 75° and 40% humidity and a home unit can produce up to five gallons of water per day. AWS says, “It’s time to reimagine water”. Here is a list of FAQs produced by AWS including why water produced from the air is more efficient and healthy than distilled water:

There are many volatile organic compounds found in ground-sourced water used to create distilled water — and many of them have boiling points below that of water (like pesticides or herbicides and a whole lot of other volatile chemical compounds that have names far too difficult to pronounce, much less spell). The point is that when water boils into steam and then re-condenses as distilled water it still contains these dangerous volatiles. And distilled water has a large carbon footprint — it takes a tremendous amount of energy to boil water.

Skeptics of atmospheric water generators may recall the history of air conditioning, once thought to be too expensive and too cumbersome to ever be economical on a large scale. Here are two excerpts from the story in the Sun Sentinel:

Atmospheric Water Solutions or AWS, sits in a very unassuming office park, but since 2012 they have been tinkering with a very remarkable product. They dub it the AquaBoy Pro. Now in its second generation (the AquaBoy Pro II), it is one of the only atmospheric water generators available to the everyday buyer on the market in places such as Target or Home Depot.

Atmospheric water generator sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. But Reid Goldstein, the executive vice president of AWS who took over in 2015, says the basic technology traces back to the development of air conditioners and dehumidifiers. “It’s essentially dehumidification technology with modern science thrown in.”

And looking forward in South Florida, why atmospheric water generator technology makes sense from the perspective of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD):

By 2025, 6 million new residents are projected to make Florida their home and more than half will settle in South Florida, according to the SFWD. This will increase demand for fresh water by 22 percent. Smith [Randy Smith, SFWMD spokesman] said that any technology that would aid in the conservation of water is “critical.”

AWS believes products like theirs, which requires zero groundwater to function, are perfect to reduce day-to-day needs, such as drinking water or filling up your coffee machine.

However, their leaders have a vision of expanding business for needs such as growing agriculture, servicing kidney dialysis machines, and providing drinking water to hospitals — some of which they already do. They are currently developing a mobile unit that can create 1,500 gallons of water a day, which they say could serve construction sites, emergency relief and remote areas.

Click on this link to read the entire story in the Sun Sentinel.

AWS is located in the South Florida region, in Cooper City, Broward County. For any questions you have call 954-306-6763, fill out this form on their website, or send an email to:

And to learn more how AWS and their atmospheric water generator technology can help to reduce plastic pollution and also reducing the amount of ingested microplastic particles in the body follow their page on Facebook.

About the reporter,

Andrew Boryga is a general assignment reporter at the Sun Sentinel. Previously he freelanced for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times and other outlets. He has taught writing to college students at the University of Miami and inmates at Everglades Correctional Institution. He is a Bronx, New York native and current Miami resident.

To follow Mr. Boryga on Twitter use this link. If you have a story to share with Boryga send an email to: