Michigan Bill Aims To Allow Pumpers To Continue Using Their Storage Facilities Beyond 2025

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The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill simplifying several provisions of laws dealing with septage. The bill now awaits action in the Senate.

The bill (HB 4874) eliminates a sunset provision that applies to pumpers with storage capacity of 50,000 gallons or more. As of 2025, those pumpers would be required to off-load at a receiving facility within 25 miles of where the septage was pumped. The requirement still exists for smaller operators. The bill also overrides local ordinances that impose requirements stricter than the state law.

According to a summary by the Natural Resources Committee, the bill was opposed by officials in Grand Traverse County because it would affect the amount of septage disposed of at a wastewater treatment facility that was built with excess capacity. Local officials worry that loosening the disposal rules will require municipalities to foot a bigger bill to support the facility.

New York

A proposal by the Suffolk County executive to provide sewer service or upgraded septic systems for 209,000 homes could cost around $7 billion. The county estimates it would cost $30,000 to $35,000 per house to install new onsite wastewater systems and about $50,000 to connect each home to a sewer. More than 70 percent of Suffolk homes currently use onsite systems.

The county will look into state and federal grants to help pay for the improvements.

Ohio

Proposed rules regarding septic systems in Ohio are expected to take effect next January. The regulations are designed to modernize requirements to account for soil types and the amount of water generated by homes.

The Ohio Department of Health says 31 percent of system failures are due to soil conditions, which wasn’t addressed in the current rules written 35 years ago. The new rules would only apply to new homes or systems needing replacement. Officials are hoping the rules will help make consumers more informed about their onsite wastewater options.

Minnesota

Minnesota has become the first state to ban the sale of antibacterial soaps, bodywashes and other products containing triclosan. The ban takes effect January 2017. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 75 percent of antibacterial soaps and bodywashes contain the chemical. While not dangerous to humans, it is suspected to contribute to drug-resistant bacteria and disrupt reproductive hormones in some animals.

According to the University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program, normal use of antibacterial products is acceptable, though it destroys some good and bad bacteria in a septic system. Excessive amounts of these products, however, “can cause significant and even total destruction of the [bacteria] population.”

In a fact sheet, the university says, “Several professionals have reported problems with low or no bacterial activity in systems and upon the removal of antibacterial products from the home, beneficial bacterial activity returns and desired treatment functions resume. These products affect all treatment systems but because of special attention being paid to new ‘alternative’ treatment technologies in the onsite industry, it is possible that some systems may be more affected by fluctuating bacterial numbers than others. More research needs to be done on this as well.”



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