Michigan lawmakers introduce bills to create septic codes throughout the state

(UI) – According to Michigan Advance, Michigan lawmakers introduced bills in April to establish a septic code throughout the state. House Bills 4479 and 4480 aim to ensure regular septic tank inspections every five years. In addition, the new laws will also enable the creation of an inspection database and inspector certification system. Under the new laws, a technical advisory committee will also be formed to assist the Department of Environment, Great Lake and Energy (“EGLE”) on standards for septic system management.

While 30% of Michigan residents use septic systems, only a small fraction of counties have septic codes. Specifically, 11 out of 83 counties lack standards for septic system management, according to the Michigan Environmental Council. EGLE also reported that 330,000 systems are leaking waste into groundwater due to various failures.

While EGLE previously stated that 9,000 miles of Michigan streams were contaminated with bacteria such as E. Coli, regular monitoring from the department revealed that the number is expected to grow to 37,000 miles.

Septic codes have a proven track record of reducing harmful organisms from the water supply. Such is the case of Ottawa County in West Michigan, which saw septic failures decrease from a 30% rate to a 10% rate in the 1980s.

The bills have support across various industries, including relators and public health officials. Requiring septic system inspections every five years as opposed to “point of sale” inspections keeps failing infrastructure from falling through the cracks, as it has done for decades.

In 2022, a $35 million fund was created to provide loans to fix faulty septic systems. While officials think the money required to completely overhaul the state’s failing infrastructure, lawmakers are still hoping to create a framework to begin solving the problem.

This story was originally reported by Michigan Advance. 

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