Technical Advisory Council


Onsite Wastewater Treatment

January 19, 2006


Call to Order


Meeting held January 19, 2006 Michigan State University, Agronomy Farm.


Members and alternates present: Ron Lindsay, Sean Nalepka, Ted Loudon, Tony Drautz, Ben Foster, Chuck Cousino, Del Mokma, Dan Wagner, and Regina Young.


Guests present: Steve Lichota (for Gary White)


Review of agenda. Approved with additions regarding water softener wastes submitted by Bryant Wilke and annual appointment of officers submitted by Chuck Cousino.


Motion by Del, second by Ron, that the minutes of the November 4, 2005 minutes be approved. Motion carried.




MOWRA web postings-- Ben F. has posted approved minutes (May, June, & August) and the revised members list.


Caution Tape—Ted presented caution tape that will be available through MOWTEC.


Filter Fabric ---The guidance document is now available on the TAC activities of the MOWRA website and has been posted to the MALEHA listserv.


Commercial Flow Study— Ted reported no progress. Data collected was schools, restaurant strength data.  Regina to pull together information regarding a church and send to Ted. Discussion on other sources of information. Ron Lindsay will contact some of the certified operators to see if he can get information regarding flows from them. Phases of development of the study were discussed.


Concrete Septic Tank Manufacturer’s Association --- Dan gave presentation at the Wastewater Conference. He outlined the NPCA best practices manual for concrete tanks (Best Practices Manual: Precast Concrete On-site Wastewater Tanks) and asked for support by regulators of those criteria once they are finalized. Publishing of the criteria requires involvement of the Quality Assurance committee of the NPCA. There is some concern by the QA group that a specification for septic tanks only could lessen the focus from the full certification. That QA Manual addresses practices that are effectively applicable to septic tanks, however. There are some at NPCA that are supportive of the septic tank certification and some that are not. Small operators may find difficulties in complying with the requirements. Discussion of the plastic tank manufacturers presenting competition, which will place pressure on the small operations to meet the requirements or risk loosing business. Discussion of installation techniques being an important factor in assuring that tanks stay watertight. Discussion of educational methods to address the issue of watertight tanks. A listing of visual clues, and the potential next steps when a suspect tank is identified, was discussed. Dan offered to make a list of inspection points. A letter from MDEQ to the local health departments adopting a standard of practices for new septic tanks and how to assess existing tanks was discussed. Sean will work with Ric on developing a document along with Dan Wagner. Discussion of the need for good pictures of problems tanks, leaking tanks, leaking outlets/inlets, etc. Del suggested drawing out the problem and including that drawing with the picture of the problem. Dan will look into getting copies of the Best Practices Manual mailed to the tank manufacturers and local health departments.


Ron obtained OSI’s watertight testing information and provided copies to TAC. Ric reviewed IAMPO standards from a recent submittal and they are available upon email request.


Training Center Update --- Del reported soils May 23 & 24 in Bath, June 6 & 7 in Traverse City, June 20 & 21 in Lansing. Registrations will be mailed soon. Ted shared a schedule of the MOWTEC schedule for 2006. Ted reported that Larry Stephens is working on a more extensive design class of four days. Sean indicated a need for more training of local health department staff on detailed review of plans. Sean inquired about a MOWTEC program involving the more technical review. Discussion of level of training necessary to review the periodic complex system and the qualifications of the reviewer in comparison to the person that prepared the plans.


MOWTEC curricula assessment was discussed. An inquiry to MALEHA is needed to open discussion about MOWTEC. The types of questions to ask could include whether or not the local health department has sent staff to MOWTEC, what the training needs are, limitations to sending staff, timing concerns, feedback on the curriculum, etc.


Statewide Code Taskgroup --- Corky has called Senator Birkholz’s office and has been unsuccessful at getting back to them.


Community Systems --- Sean discussed changes at MDEQ in community system review and the guidance document for community systems. A committee is drafting a Regulatory & Technical Guidance for Community On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems Utilizing Subsurface Dispersal. A peer review by TAC is anticipated. Maintenance schedules for specific types of installations and inspection frequencies are requested from the TAC. Sean will discuss with Ric the timing of submitting a draft to TAC for review early in the process.


Sean discussed that Part 2216(b) permits do not currently have a nitrogen standard. A standard of 20 ppm nitrogen (total) has been discussed for systems using soil dispersal. Chuck discussed a study done relative to constructed wetlands and the concentrations in comparison to an Advantex System. Discussion of the ranges of concentrations dependent upon weather and the system.  Ted discussed that a standard should be based on the site and conditions rather than a fixed limit. Comments and suggestions can be provided to Jim Janiczak at MDEQ, 517-241-2151.


All 3 bills are passed regarding investor owned systems, public service commission and hold harmless. There is an article that summarizes those bills. Sean will forward summary to TAC.


EPA Alternative Systems Database---Rod Frederick 202-566-1197 of EPA has indicated that database will be available on compact disc February 1, 2006. Call him for a copy.


Technology and Education Transfer: Ted has ordered 20 compact discs for TAC but hasn’t received them yet.


Appointment of Officers: Chuck nominated by Del for President, support by Ron. Vote unanimous. Ted nominated as Vice Chair by Del, support by Ben. Vote unanimous. Nomination of Regina for Secretary by Ben, support by Ted. Vote unanimous.


No replacements appointed by member associations.


TAC “Marketing”: Chuck received a request from Lee Mason of Chippewa County to speak at the Septic Contractors conference in Sault Ste. Marie to discuss TAC on March 8, 2006




2006 Michigan Wastewater Conference---Attendance 538. Full 3 day attendance consistent. Feedback from evaluations good. Discussion on the survey school and concept of other types of training of tools.


Water Softener Wastes---Discussion of the variety of opinions or observations regarding the effect on the septic tank and/or final disposal system. Scientific study of the issue is inconclusive. Most alternative technology manufacturers prohibit softener wastes from their systems. Tony will call Jim Rutherford of MALEHA to report that more technical studies are needed in the issue.


Meeting adjourned at 12:40 PM.


Motion for approval: One oppose, Tony Drautz, Remaining Ayes


NEXT MEETING- March 2, 2006 at the Agronomy Barn




Regina Young, Secretary