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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 323-331 in On-Site Wastewater Treatment, Proc. Ninth Natl. Symp. on Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems (11-14 March 2001, Fort Worth, Texas, USA), ed. K. Mancl., St. Joseph, Mich. ASAE  701P0009.(doi:10.13031/2013.6041)
Authors:   Barry Johnson, Richard Fleece, Steve Tackitt, R. S.
Keywords:   Management systems, Septic systems, Onsite sewage disposal, Watershed

Management of onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDS) is necessary to assure proper performance of these systems, protect public health and protect surface water and groundwater quality. In the Rouge River Watershed, studies identified failure rates of OSDS ranging from 20% to 52%. As part of the storm water discharge permits issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), failing OSDS were required to be addressed. This brought together communities, the private sector, agencies and health departments to determine what was the best approach to preventing failing OSDS. Counties were not in a position to add new staff to conduct inspections of existing OSDS. Current regulations did not require regular evaluation of OSDS. With the support of communities and many stakeholders, two county regulations were developed and put in effect in 2000. New partnerships emerged from this process with realtors, home inspectors, septage servicers, drain offices, Michigan State University (MSU) and NSF International. The new programs in Wayne County and Washtenaw County resulted in the evaluation of 870 OSDS in the first 9 months of 2000. All but 9 were performed by private certified evaluators. 161 systems were found to be failing and at least 155 were corrected. MSU established regular training programs for evaluators, and local health department personnel. More than 40 private business persons were certified to evaluate OSDS and some have participated in the national certification program administered by NFS International.

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