Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

March 27, 2003


Meeting held March 27, 2003 at Michigan State University, Turfgrass Research Center.


Members and alternates present: Ted Loudon, Larry Stephens, Chuck Cousino, Regina Young, Gary White, Ric Falardeau, Bryant Wilke and Wayne Kukuk.


Guests present:  Diane McCormick, Livingston County 

                          Dave Kraker, Kent County Health Department


Meeting called to order by Chuck Cousino, Chairman.


Motion by Regina, support by Ric, that the minutes of the January 15, 2003 meeting be approved as distributed. 




Operating Permits:  Chuck introduced Dave Kraker of Kent County Health Department to open discussion on the topic of operating permits.  Dave outlined the process that Kent County used to develop a program for onsite system maintenance.


Several factors were the motivating influence in developing the program.  Dave described the effort his staff have put into the proposed program.  In 2002 the County Board of Commissioners, during their study of urban sprawl, recommended the establishment of a management program for onsite wastewater systems.  The motivating concern was groundwater protection.


 The original expected implementation date was the end of this year, however delays have now made that doubtful.  This “aggressive” effort is to involve:

·        Time-of-sale inspections on all onsite systems --- eventually the goal is to have all onsite systems inspected every 3 years (Kent County has approx. 45,000 onsite systems)

·        Annual fees to cover the cost of assuring proper maintenance.  Start-up costs are estimated to be about $0.75 million, with an expected payback in 3 years.  Program must be self-supporting.

·        County contracts with private service providers to provide the required inspections.



Diane – There is a key interest by many local health departments in operating permits, and an expressed need for trained and certified designers, contractors, and other onsite service providers.  Local health departments need help in developing code language and the other details of an effective program.  She is in the process of revisiting their sanitary code, and would like the TAC to help with incorporating an operating permit program.


Ted – Would anticipate that it will take 3 months or so for the research to compile information on what others in the country have done with regard to operating permit programs.  Ted will try to have this work done by the meeting in June.


Sanitarians Ready-Reference – Gary --- All of the material was transmitted to MEHA in February. 


Mound Guidelines --- Ric is having a series of meetings with local health departments that have expressed concerns regarding the mound guidelines.  Following further input, a final draft of the guidelines will be prepared.




Ric --- Some staff members of the DEQ in the groundwater permit program are now revisiting Rule 2216 of Part 22.


Regina --- Could the TAC serve as a product review committee?  Is there any process where the TAC could help this happen?    Time?  Cost?


Discussion --- How can we evaluate proprietary products without a standard to compare to?

What are the liability issues?  This is too big a job for a volunteer committee to do on donated time.  A source of funding is needed so this effort could be done by contract.


Ted --- This is a real need in Michigan.  The TAC is probably the appropriate group to help establish a protocol for the evaluation of technologies.


NOWRA National Model Code – Larry --- Larry briefly updated the group on the status of the NOWRA effort to develop the national model code for onsite wastewater treatment.  The model code committee is a little over half way through its 5-year effort, and the next meeting will be in Reno, NV following the Annual NEHA Conference.  All meetings are open to the public for those interested in participating.


Isabella County Part 41 Permit Court Ruling --- Has now been appealed to the Court of Appeals by the MDEQ.


LaPine, Oregon --- A National Demonstration Project in LaPine is evaluating the capabilities of about a dozen new technologies to remove nitrogen from wastewater.  Larry has a copy of the performance data so far for those that are interested.




Next Meeting – To be rescheduled by email.


Location --- MSU, Turfgrass Research Center




Future Meeting Dates:          June 25, 2003.





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