Septic Service Says Rate Hike Stinks

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Septic tank companies say a plan to raise dumping fees by 300 percent stinks, and they will continue to boycott until the city of Tallahassee relents.

At a meeting Monday night, those companies decided to continue a work stoppage that is already in day three. Of the 25 licensed septic tank companies in Tallahassee, only four are operating right now.

The rest have shut down service trying to make a statement to the city that they won't settle for a rate increase. Scott Womble is one of them, stepping on the brakes and closing his septic tank service business for the third day in a row.

"We're not boycotting. We're not on strike. We're just doing what we think is right."

Womble's and 21 other licensed septic tank companies in town are up in arms after the city raised its dumping rates 300 percent without giving much notice.

"It's gonna pass on to the consumer. It's gonna cost an average to have a thousand gallon septic tank pumped in Leon County around $300," said Mack Arthur Womble, owner of Buddy's Septic Tank Service.

The city says the increase is fair.

"We've not had an increase in the cost and rate we charge for over 10 years, so as we looked at it the cost of treating that sewage was much higher than we were charging, so the goal was to put it as a reasonable rate."

Septic companies say their customers will feel the pain as they don't plan to pump anytime soon.

"If they have sewer running, you know, grease traps start running over, then the Health Department will have to shut ‘em down. Homeowners, if they have sewer in their yards and they can't use the facilities, maybe they'll bucket it up and carry it up to City Hall," said Mack Arthur Womble.

Of the four septic tank companies that are operating, two of them refused to go on camera. The other two were out of town and out of the office, all of them saying they chose to keep working because of loyalty to their customers.

Originally rates were supposed to go up in April, but the city agreed they didn't give much warning and should give the companies more time to prepare.

The city now giving them until June 1. All of those details were laid out in a letter that should be in the companies’ mailboxes right now, but the city says the rates will be going up and they will not reconsider that.