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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Past Research Projects

Contact the Research Team

  •  850-245-4250



    Mailing Address

    Bureau of Environmental Health 

    Water and Onsite Programs 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A-08 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1710 

  • OSTDS research program started in 1983.
  • The program research focused on investigating public health impacts, environmental impacts, and performance of onsite systems.
  • Results from these research have historically helped shape the onsite industry as it exists today.
  • Florida Onsite Sewage Nitrogen Reduction Strategies Study (2009 – 2015)

Project Summary: This project is to study cost-effective ways to reduce the impact of nitrogen contributed by onsite sewage systems throughout the State of Florida. It is an anticipated 6-year project with a budget of $5,100,000.

Project Objectives:

  • Preselection of technologies and prioritizing technology for field testing
  • Field testing of technologies at actual home sites and cost documentation
  • Evaluation of nitrogen reduction provided by soils and the shallow groundwater below and down gradient of various systems
  • Development of a simple model for predicting nitrogen fate and transport from onsite wastewater systems

Project Reports: Visit the Nitrogen Reduction Strategies Study page for more information.

  • Performance and Management of Advanced Onsite Systems (2007 - 2013)

Project Summary: This project is to assess water quality protection by advanced onsite sewage systems. Some examples of advanced systems are performance based treatment systems, aerobic treatment units, and sand filters. This project is funded by a grant from EPA.

Project Objectives:

  • Detailed study of variability of performance of advanced systems in the Florida Keys
  • Creation of a statewide database of advanced systems based on permit records
  • Conduct a survey of the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the current management of advanced onsite systems
  • Perform a statewide assessment of operating condition and performance of advanced systems (random sample of systems)
  • Perform quarterly influent and effluent sampling for a sample of systems
  • Develop a booklet with case studies outlining both strengths and weaknesses of the current program and best practices in advanced onsite management
  • Final project report

Project Status: