New legislation would create much-needed statewide septic code, ensure clean water

Earlier today, State Representative Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) and State Representative Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline) introduced bills 5732 and 5733, which would create a statewide septic code and provide needed protections for Michigan’s waterways.

“Michigan is the only state in the country without protections in place around household septic systems, which are believed to release 31 million gallons of sewage every day into our state’s waterways,” said Lisa Wozniak, Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “Legislation to get a handle on failing septic systems couldn’t come soon enough to prevent this chronic threat to our rivers, lakes, and streams. We applaud Rep. Plawecki and Rep. Driskell for putting forward these commonsense safeguards to protect the health of our communities and the safety of our water resources.”

In a 2015 study, Michigan State University researchers found bacteria from human waste in 100% of the sixty-four Michigan river systems they sampled. Furthermore, they found a direct connection between these fecal bacteria concentrations and the number of nearby septic systems. In its water strategy, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality estimates that approximately ten percent of Michigan’s 1.3 million systems are currently failing.