Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

November 4, 2005


Call to Order


Meeting held November 4, 2005 at Michigan State University, Agronomy Farm.


Members and alternates present: Ted Loudon, Ron Lindsay, Ric Falardeau, Dan Wagner, Chuck Cousino, Corky Overmyer, Bill Danly, Del Mokma and Regina Young.


Guests present: Steve Lichota (for Gary White)


Review of agenda. Approved with no additions.


Motion by Corky second by Ric, that the minutes of the August 31, 2005 minutes be approved. Motion carried.




MOWRA web postings-- Regina will forward to Ben F. remaining approved minutes (May, June, & August) and the revised members list.


Filter Fabric --- Ted has sent the final draft to Regina and Chuck. Regina will forward to Ben for posting on Web and to Tony for conversion to pdf format and posting to MALEHA listserv.


Commercial Flow Study— Ted reported that study is progressing. Ted has obtained information from studies done in other states regarding restaurants and schools. The studies inlaid flow data and strength parameters. Ted projected that a draft flow study will be ready after the Wastewater Conference. A short progress report on the flow study will be created for availability at the wastewater conference. Target date for 12-21-05.


The importance of wastewater strength information was discussed. Ric shared growing concerns at MDEQ regarding wastewater strength and Ground Water Discharge permits issued under Rule 2216. The GW Discharge Permit Section of MDEQ is considering creating a policy regarding high strength wastes. Ted & Corky shared information regarding alternative toilets being used in Switzerland. Those toilets separate the urine from the feces. Urine is then used for fertilizer. Regina inquired about the level of education of building codes officials regarding these types of toilets. Ted & Corky report that technology is new and has not gained widespread understanding and support.


Site compaction information-- Ted obtained a price from Bill Gregory for the drainfield caution tape. Tape will be available through MOWTEC. Order form will be modified and sent to Ben F. for posting. Ted will cc: Regina


Wisconsin Website Access – Approved Product Listings --- Ric provided short introductory to the Wisconsin site and the product approvals (and a listing of categories) to Regina. Has been forwarded to Ben for posting in TAC Activities.


Concrete Septic Tank Manufacturer’s Association --- Dan gave update on the Michigan Concrete Septic Tank Association (MCSTA). A best practices manual for concrete tanks (Best Practices Manual: Precast Concrete On-site Wastewater Tanks) has been published by National Pre-cast Concrete Association (NPCA) as a result of the committee’s work over the last year. The manual recommends frequency of testing, updates manufacturing techniques, mixtures, etc. The intended audience is precasters. The (NPCA) has considered a separate certification program but it is not likely that one will be implemented. NPCA full certification is costly ($3500 per year). They administer the program fully. If MCSTA began certification they would have to hire out the administrative duties.  Individual precasters would have to obtain engineer’s certification. Costs of a MCSTA certification may be comparable to NPCA certification. Smaller generators would bear a higher proportional cost. Dan reported that unless a precaster’s central focus is to create a watertight tank, then there is a 50/50 chance that it will leak. Structural integrity is important as well. The market drives itself in this regard, however. If a tank collapses contractors will not purchase them. Discuss of on-site leak testing using vacuum testing and time to perform test, observe and certify.


The concept of a draft TAC policy regarding watertight tanks and testing was originated. Such a draft policy could be shared with MALEHA for input. An outline of the policy would be the first step. Ron to get OSI’s watertight testing information and Ric to get the IAPMO specifications so that TAC can review them at the next meeting.


Training Center Update --- Del reported that the courses are completed for the year. Corky shared information with Ted regarding an on-line testing. Ted shared an evolving concept at NOWRA regarding course certification. The concept involves NOWRA providing certified training materials and certifying training centers. This concept would provide credentialing.  The necessity and buy in was briefly debated. Discussion of enhancing the MOWTEC curriculum was held. Regina will put out a request through MEHA to assess the need for enhanced courses. Regina will draft a survey of the current perceptions and anticipated needs regarding training. Draft questions will be forwarded to Ted and Del. Ted will consider taking the outline of the existing courses and present them in a survey format to identify needs. Regina or Tony to post questions on MALEHA. 


Statewide Code Taskgroup --- Ric updated the group. The activities at Senator Birkholz’s level are on hold until January. A substitute bill was mentioned at the last committee meeting held at the Senator’s office. MDEQ is awaiting direction from the Governor’s office. Regina posed the question of how TAC can carry on from here. Ric recalled a model time-of-sale ordinance that may have been created by MEHA. The group talked about inviting Sen. Birkholz’s staff to attend our next meeting. This may foster understanding of the issues or limitation that has stalled the bill from moving forward. Corky will call Sally Durfee of the Senator’s office to invite her to address the group.


Community Systems --- Ric discussed community systems and the status of a guidance document to local health departments. MDEQ staff are currently working on a document. MDEQ will be looking for standardized O & M reporting requirements for wastewater systems, including but not limited to inspection frequencies. There are now discussions within MDEQ and specifically with members of Field Operations. Ric to check on the status of the 3 bills regarding investor owned systems, public service commission and hold harmless.


Technology and Education Transfer: Ted has ordered 20 CD’s for TAC. Some reported problems with getting the links that were previously forward by Ted.


TAC “Marketing”: Chuck reported that an article regarding TAC was in the last edition of the MEHA journal. Dan W. also put out to the MSTA.




Septic Tank Pumpers Training-- Ric reported that there is funding available for courses approved by MDEQ and inquired with Dan about MSTA’s activities in continuing education.


2005 NOWRA— Ted, Chuck and Del discussed the conference. The next NOWRA conference is in Denver in August. The 2007 conference will be in March in Baltimore.


2006 Michigan Wastewater Conference-- January 10-12, 2006. Flyer will go out soon.


EPA Access Database for tracking Alternative Systems—Ric shared the pending release of a free database to track Alternative Systems.


Meeting adjourned at 12: 45 PM.




Next Meeting – Corky will check on dates for meeting with Sen. Birkholz’s staff in December. Next meeting of TAC January 19, 2005 at the Agronomy Barn.


Minutes approved 1-19-06.


Regina Young, Secretary