Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

January 30, 2007


Call to Order


Meeting held 9:45 a.m. on January 30, 2007 Michigan State University, Agronomy Farm.


Members and alternates present: Chuck Cousino, William Danly, Bob Deatrick, Ben Foster, Larry Johnson, Ron Lindsay, Dan Wagner and Regina Young.


Guests present: Laura Pobantz of Macomb County, Dale Ladouceur of MDEQ, Jim Kovalak of MSTA


Review of agenda. Approved.


Meeting Minutes Reviewed. Moved by William Danly and support by Larry Johnson to approve the minutes as amended. Approved unanimously.




Website Postings— Revisions to the TAC portion of the website ( listings are needed. The members list needs to be updated. The old Regulatory Structure document needs to be removed. The current septic tank inspection document is the one dated November 2006. There are duplicate sign and tape order forms. The other versions need to be removed. Ben will take care of website edits.          


Fabric review document- Regina emailed Ted the ASSHTO document regarding geotextiles and geosynthetics. Regina will keep up with Ted on his thoughts. Discussion followed on the use of the document as a comparison for individuals referencing the TAC Filter Fabric Guidance Document.


Fabric suppliers- Ben to work with Ted to get the list of suppliers for posting on the website.


Commercial Flow Study – Laura reported that the data has been reviewed. At this time no conclusions could be drawn from the information. There appears to be some holes in the data, such as sites that appear to be on a flat rate (versus actual meter readings). Laura’s staff is looking at gathering data locally. Chuck posed the idea of providing a set of questions to other local health departments from which data may be obtained. Discussion of the type of information to seek included the population, use, seating capacity, number of meals, attendance records, etc. The study focus will remain churches, schools, grocery stores and restaurants. Laura will provide a set list of questions (to be distributed to LHDs) to Chuck for consideration.



Concrete Septic Tank Manufacturer’s Association --- Dan discussed his presentation at the wastewater conference regarding the NPCA On-site Wastewater Accreditation Program (OWAP). Dan reported that Milan Vault recently had an on-site accreditation inspection. The inspector reviewed the quality control manual, training certification for production quality control staff and walked the site observing pre-pour and post-pour procedures. The inspector also reviewed methods of release agent application, re-enforcement and construction, and reviewed product testing methods. Record keeping/documentation, vacuum testing of tanks and inspection of stored products was also performed. The inspector also interviewed the staff regarding procedures. During the exit interview, the inspector provided suggestions for improvement. The score of the review is calculated later and forwarded to NPCA for their review. Milan Vault will have an opportunity to comment on the report. The review was a positive outcome. An unannounced inspection is expected within the next twelve months.


Dan reported that the Army Corp. of Engineers, and Veterans Affairs recently adopted OWAP. Dan reported on the status of activities of the Michigan association.


Bob identified that the implementation of standards into any industry will result in some operations not seeking to meet the standards (and stop making tanks). This fact should not stop the improvement or adoption of the standards, however. Bob posed a question of what TAC can do to assist in the implementation of the OWAP standards. Discussion about TAC writing a draft document/endorsement to advise of and support the OWAP program. An advisory would address the importance of properly constructed and watertight tanks, and include an endorsement of the specific method of performance testing.  Dan will create an outline and send to Chuck for consideration before bringing it to the full group. After we all agree on an outline of the advisory each affiliate can provide review and/or endorsement.


Regina reported on steps to educate installers, tank manufacturers & other local health departments regarding watertight septic tanks and the OWAP program. Regina shared a recent case of a leaking septic tank at BEDHD.


Training Center Update --- No report. Item to be held for the next meeting.


MDEQ Community Systems --- Dale reported that MDEQ is meeting with local health departments today to continue working on the guidance document. Work on the regulatory responsibilities is progressing slower than expected. DEQ will work on this item and propose to LHD for review.


Chuck reported on the status of MOWRA’s work with the MDEQ regarding discharge systems using slow rate dispersal versus rapid infiltration technology of 10,000 - 20,000 gallons per day discharges.  They are looking at using models to determine the nitrogen concentrations downgradient of and at various incremental distances from a rapid infiltration system. From this work, parameters could be set to apply to community sites and with the potential of allowing increased nitrogen concentrations up to 20 mg/L of nitrogen at the discharge point. It is expected that the modeling could be completed in four to six weeks with a determination within four to six weeks after submittal.


Grab Samples---The outline for grab sample guidance document was provided to all. Regina suggested that there be a section about sample locations (good locations and bad ones) and where samples should be collected. Bob asked about the purpose of the document. The document would educate about the samples which could lead to better understanding how to (or how not to) apply grab samples. Bob discussed the development of a sampling plan. Ben pointed out that one concern was the comparison of grab sample analysis to standards (such as those used by NSF) based on composite samples (not apples to apples). Regina asked if service providers are performing composite samples and the group responded that they are not used for residential or small systems. Discussion of the need to have a document that provides guidance about how to apply grab samples, if performed, and not lead people to believe that composite samples are the method to choose. The document should point out that the guidance document is focused on soil based, residential systems and that detailed sampling is not necessary to assess performance. Bob suggested that the purpose of sampling or what one wants to learn by sampling needs to be the guide to determine which sampling method to use. In some instances, a series of grab samples over time could represent the dynamics of a system.


Wastewater Conference---No report. All who attended agreed that the conference was very well done.




Next Meeting: Tuesday April 3, 2007 at the Agronomy Farm at 9:45 a.m.


Meeting adjourned at 12:45 p.m.