Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

June 25, 2003


Meeting held June 25, 2003 at MSU Turfgrass Research Center.


Members and alternates present:   Ted Loudon, Del Mokma, Ric Falardeau, Ron Lindsay, Larry  Stephens, Chuck Cousino, Regina Young, Bryant Wilke, Bob Godbold, Garry Rowe, and Dan Stock.


Guests present: None


Meeting called to order by Chuck Cousino, Chairman.


Minutes of the May 22, 2003 meeting were reviewed.  Motion by Regina, support by Ric, to approve minutes.  Motion carried.




Chuck introduced Bob Godbold and Gary Rowe of the Ingham County Health Department as a new MALEHA representative, and alternate, to the TAC.




Mound Guidelines --- Discussion on the guidelines began with a discussion on the use of geotextile fabric over drainfields.  The concern is how to address the worry that if the wrong fabric is chosen, it may impede the movement air into the stone, which is so important.  Ron passed out copies of the fabric specification that Orenco uses for their fabric used over sand filters.  Larry passed out samples of various weights of geotextile fabric.  Ron, Ric and Ted will do some additional checking with various sources regarding the use of fabric.


The consensus of the TAC seems to be that the TAC should issue an advisory document covering this issue, rather than put a specification in the DEQ Guidance Document.


Linear loading rate --- Dan Stock brought up a concern that linear loading rate, as defined in the guidance document, is applied only from the stone bed dimensions, rather than the toe of slope (downhill).  Ric clarified the application of this concept. 


Ric passed around the final document as a Guidance Document for “Pressure Mound Systems”.  The document will be emailed to TAC Members, and is available on the DEQ website.  Some modifications have been made since the last draft.


Commercial Flow Study --- Del listed some categories of facilities that flow information would be helpful.  Members contributed to the discussion.  A meaningful study will require a source of funding, and the TAC does not have any operating funds for such a study.  Del & Ted will work on coming up with a proposal for getting this done for consideration at the next meeting.


NOWRA Model Code --- Larry & Del updated the TAC on the NOWRA Model Performance Code effort.  They both attended the last Model Code Committee meeting in Reno, NV in early June.  Del and Jerry Tyler have been primarily responsible for developing the soils portion of the code.  Larry has participated in some of the overall committee work.  An outline of much of the proposed code is now available, and the goal is to have a draft of the proposed code language by the November NOWRA Conference in Nashville, TN.


Site Compaction --- Del brought red signs he had obtained for marking drainfield sites to warn of site compaction dangers.  He will get information for us on where they can be obtained.  Should the TAC publish an advisory statement on site compaction?  Bob suggested that we seek to distribute the advisory statement and signs through MEHA.  TAC members are to review the draft of compaction advisory and check with MEHA regarding distribution.  We will seek to act on the advisory at the next meeting.


Regulatory Structure Document --- Larry to email Ric the electronic file on this document, and Ric will modify.


Operating Permits --- DEQ sees that the next important document they could develop would be a guidance document for local health departments on establishment of an operating permit program.  DEQ is willing to work on these guidelines now that the Mound Guidelines are done.  Ric will work on an outline of an operating permit program for discussion at the next meeting.  Ted will contact Carmody Data Systems in Wisconsin for information on the use of electronic data entry.


New Product Review --- Is this something in which the TAC should be involved?  Ric will contact Wisconsin and find out what kind of program they have for product review.  Can the TAC serve as an information pipeline for product performance information for the industry?




Water Softeners --- MALEHA has been contacted by the Michigan Water Quality Association with regard to the sometimes conflicting requirements regarding water softener backwash to septic systems.


Cluster Systems --- Larry reported on the content of Holly Mercer’s Masters Thesis on cluster systems.  Ric furnished Larry with a copy recently.  Holly did a survey of cluster systems in Michigan in 1998, and was able to collect very little information from local health departments on existing systems in the state.  She only had about a 50% response, and the information available was scarce.  The TAC decided it may get the same type of response, so a new survey at this time would not likely be profitable.


Purpose of the TAC --- Considerable discussion ensued on how the TAC can:

·         Better communicate our efforts to our respective groups.

·         Gain credibility to have more impact on “big picture” issues in Michigan.

·         Communicate with decision makers in a more effective manner.


Motion by Ted, support by Bob, to adjourn.  Motion carried. 




Next Meeting --- August 21, 2003


Location --- MSU, unless changed by written notice.




Future Meeting Dates:         


            October 6th, 2003

            November 24th, 2003


Meeting adjourned at 3:25 PM.



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