KEY LARGO -- The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District reported 121 homes to Monroe County Code Compliance last month for failing to connect to its sewer system.
District Clerk Carol Walker said every property turned over to code compliance has been given at least 18 months to connect after receiving notification.
"If someone just moved in six months ago, I'm not going to turn them in," she said.
Walker said she forward properties to the county on a case-by-case basis. If there is a death in the family or a reasonable excuse, the property owner is given a reprieve, she explained.
The 121 noncompliant homes are located north of the Marvin D. Adams Waterway, commonly known as "the cut."
Of the 769 occupied homes in that area, 587 were connected to the centralized sewer system as of Jan. 10. These numbers also show that 71 percent of all district's ratepayers have tied-in.
Walker, though, emphasized that she is working her way south on the island and about 141 residents are getting ready to be sent to code compliance from an area just south of "the cut."
"These people should know I am going to get to them," she said of the southern part of the island. "I just haven't gotten there yet."
Walker keeps a file on each property that includes a copy of all communication from the district.
After receiving a connection notice, property owners are required to hire a licensed plumber to decommission their septic tanks and run a lateral line from their home to the street-side connection. The cost typically runs from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the length of line required.
Once at the code enforcement office, a special magistrate will review each case independently to determine why no action has been taken.
The magistrate will likely give violators another deadline to connect to the sewer. If they fail to meet that deadline, they can be assessed a penalty for every day they are not connected. Both parties may also come to a stipulated agreement on a later deadline.