Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

January 20, 2004


Meeting held January 20, 2004 at MSU Turfgrass Research Center.


Members and alternates present: Del Mokma, Ron Lindsay, Larry Stephens, Chuck Cousino, Bob Godbold, Dan Wagner, Wayne Kukuk, Dan Stock, Ben Foster, Ric Falardeau and Ted Loudon.


Guests present:

·        Lauren Sustic – Advance Concrete


Meeting called to order by Chuck Cousino, Chairman.


Minutes of the November 24, 2003 meeting were reviewed.  Motion by Ted, support by Del, to approve minutes.  Motion carried.





Filter Fabric Over Drainfields – Ted’s discussion with Hancor on the use of fabric around pipe indicated that their practice is to design a particular fabric for the soil conditions on the site.  They would recommend different fabric for different soils.  Dan Wagner questioned: if that is needed, how can we come up with one recommended fabric for all situations?  Larry passed around a piece of fabric that was removed from the top of a failed recirculating sand filter with soil cover that was in a failed condition.  We have the specifications from the Wisconsin requirements, and the recommendations from Orenco Systems for fabric used over sand filters, that are reported to provide successful results.  We presently have no other research information to verify or contradict that information.  Members are encouraged to continue to research this topic.


Ron and others will check on sieve size (opening sizes) on the various fabrics in widespread use.  It is hoped that this will be a common denominator for a comparison of the various products available.


Ric Falardeau joined the group late, and brought samples of geotextile fabric he has found that meet the Wisconsin specifications.  There seems to be a wide variety of material that would be approved in Wisconsin, including non-woven material that appears to be as heavy as about 4 oz. per square yard. 




Septic Tank Manufacturers Meeting – Dan Wagner – Dan updated the group on a meeting held at the annual conference with septic tank manufacturers in the state.  Out of that meeting came an interest in creating a mechanism for certifying septic tanks in Michigan as being structurally sound and watertight.  To do that, the manufacturers need to form some type of association.  Dan asked:  If the manufacturers go to the effort of coming up with such a tank certification program, will the regulators enforce such a requirement?  Ted said that he believes there is widespread support for such a standard. 


Ted moved that the TAC get behind and “commission” the development of a standard for concrete septic tank manufacturing and testing in Michigan.  Support by Larry Stephens.  Some discussion of this topic followed.  Motion carried unanimously.


Bob Godbold has put together a list of 128 concrete septic tank manufacturers doing business in Michigan.  This information has come from all local health departments in the state, except two.  Bob will try to complete the inventory in the near future.   


Commercial Flow Study --- Ted --- Progress on this study has been slow to date.


Residential Flow Study – Larry is working on a first draft of the companion document discussing the use of this information.  He will also be posting the study on the MOWRA website in the near future.


Site Compaction – Del discussed the signs warning of site compaction.  How can we get them distributed?  They are made by Smith Sign Company in Webberville.  Cost is less than $0.50 each in quantities of 2000 or more.  They are made of polyethylene, so they can be reusable.  Ted and Del think we can distribute them through the Onsite Training Center.  Those interested in these signs to post on drainfield sites should contact Ted or Del.  Ted and Del will develop a mechanism for handling these warning signs.


Regulatory Structure Document --- Larry will have the new revised document posted on the website.  Ric Falardeau suggested we should pull the Guidance Document to Local Government on Community Systems from the website.  It will need revision in light of the recent court decision in the Lake Isabella case.


Operating Permits --- Chuck reported on some of his recent discussions with Livingston County regarding some of the various types of enforcement mechanisms being discussed.


Information Database Effort --- Larry explained the beginning of an effort by several private sector service providers to establish a common database for system inspections and maintenance.  They will be talking with Scott Carmody of Carmody Systems regarding this effort.  The goal is envisioned to be the beginning of an effort to coordinate the accumulation of system maintenance data such that everyone is collecting and recording the same information in a form that will be most useable in the future.  Others may join this effort if interested.


Annual Appointment of Member Representatives --- Larry sent out letters to the member organizations to re-appoint their representatives to the TAC. 


Election of Officers --- Del moved, with Bob’s support, to maintain the same officers of the TAC for the coming year.  Motion carried.  They are:  Chuck Cousino, Chairman, Ted Loudon, Vice-Chairman, and Larry Stephens, Secretary.




Northwest Michigan Onsite Wastewater Taskforce --- Ted has been invited to the meetings of this new group, but has not been able to attend many. 


Statewide Code --- Ric – There seems to be substantial discussion now in progress toward forming a uniform statewide code.  The Governor is expected to mention it in her State of the State address next week.


Meeting was adjourned at 1:00 PM.




Next Meeting --- March 11, 2004


Location --- Hancock Turfgrass Center, unless notified otherwise.




Future Meeting Dates:            


            April 28, 2004

            June 8, 2004





                                                                                    Larry D. Stephens, P.E., Sec.