Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

November 4, 2002


Meeting held November 4, 2002 at Michigan State University, Turfgrass Research Center.


Members and alternates present:  Ted Loudon, Del Mokma, Bob Long, Larry Stephens, Chuck Cousino, Regina Young, Gary White, Ric Falardeau, Bob Deatrick and John Porter.


Guests present:            


Meeting called to order by Chuck Cousino, Chairman.


Motion by Del, support by Gary, that the minutes of the September 25, 2002 meeting be approved with a minor correction.  Motion carried.




MWEA Membership --- The results of the mail ballot on the issue of adding MWEA as a member organization of the TAC was 9 YES, 1 NO.  This represents a 2/3 majority of the membership, so MWEA is welcomed as a member organization.  John Porter, P.E. of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. will be one of the designated representatives of MWEA, with another to be added in the future.




Wastewater Flow Study --- Ted is still working on the summary to be added to this document.  Ted will email his work to members for comment.  Our goal is to have it completed and available for the Annual Conference in January.


Operation & Maintenance of Cluster Systems --- TAC Discussion followed on the nature of the problems described by John Dowson at the last meeting.  Is the basic problem the fact that we have no effective regulations with regard to cluster systems?  No reporting requirements?  No follow-up by regulatory agencies?  No standards for operation and maintenance requirements? 


Should the TAC develop a framework outlining the current problem with the current system of oversight and management of small community wastewater systems?  Motion by Ted, Support by Bob Long, that the TAC establish a committee to develop a framework for operation and maintenance of small community wastewater systems.  Motion carried.  The committee appointed is Ted, Bob Deatrick, Ric, Ron, and Chuck.  A suggestion was made that the committee contact folks like John Dowson and representatives of several townships that have gone through the cluster system process recently.

A goal was set to have a draft of such a framework on paper by our next meeting in January.


Commercial Flow Study --- Chuck: “Do we need to define where we want to go with this?”

Members should feed Ted any existing information they may have on flows from commercial facilities.  Members listed several categories of facilities that we should start with:


Food service


Medical offices



Motion by Bob Long, support by Bob Deatrick, to appoint a sub-committee consisting of Ted, Del, Chuck, Larry & Gary to come up with a direction for this flow-study.


Sanitarian Ready Reference --- Gary did get some comments back from some members, but not all that were appointed to review the material at the last meeting.  Gary has not had a chance to work on this matter.  The sub-committee will have the final document ready for approval of the TAC at their January meeting.


Proposed Oakland County Code Amendments --- Bob Long reported on the results of the public hearing on their new code revisions.  Some changes were made following the public hearing, and the code is ready for adoption.  However, because of the uncertainty of the state and county economy at this point, the final adoption has been put on hold.  The code revisions will require the inspection of every onsite system in Oakland County (estimated to be about 80,000 at this time) at a frequency of once every 5 years. 


Chuck mentioned that he has been asked by Livingston County if the TAC could offer some guidance on the establishment of an “operating permit program”.  Much discussion followed.  Ted observed that this discussion is strongly linked to the development of the framework discussed above for cluster systems.  We will keep this as an agenda item for discussion at future meetings.




DEQ Guidance Document for Mounds --- Ric introduced this initial document for review and comment by TAC members.  It has been developed in response to a requirement for the DEQ to develop guidelines for alternative systems under the latest subdivision law and rule changes.  Council members are encouraged to review this document in detail and comment back to DEQ by December 1, 2002.


Vertical Separation Distance --- Larry presented a case for the TAC to develop a document on the proper separation distances between the bottom of the soil absorption system and the zone of seasonal saturation that is necessary in onsite systems.  Much of the consolidated, readily available information does not address pre-treatment.  It appears that the best papers summarizing the information on separation distance are over 10 years old.  But much research has been published in the last 10 years that does include pretreatment.  It would be helpful to have a summary of the latest information and thinking.


This subject will be kept on the agenda for a future meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:55 pm.




Next Meeting - January 15, 2003


Location --- MSU, Turfgrass Research Center




Future Meeting Dates:   None scheduled.




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