Septic Systems Across Michigan Are Failing; Releasing Raw Sewage Into Water

DETROIT, October 15, 2021 ~ Michigan is the only state in the nation that does not have statewide regulations for septic systems. Of 43 total county and regional health departments in the state, only 10 have requirements that septic systems be inspected for a property sale or transfer.

According to an estimate by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, nearly 10 percent of septic systems in Michigan are failing, leading to 31 million gallons of raw sewage, bacterial pathogens, and chemicals being released into surface and groundwaters every day.

A lot of it goes to lifestyle and culture,” said “The Inside Outside Guys Co-Host Chuck Breidenstein to 760 WJR’s Kevin Dietz. “We’re using a lot more water today. Water tends to flood those systems and minimize the aerobic action that makes them work. People are abusing them, I mean the COVID thing, with antibacterial soaps and wipes being flushed into toilets. That kills the activity that makes those systems work. Use of heavy bleach does that.”


October 15, 2021 ~ The Inside Guy Chuck Breidenstein speaks with Kevin Dietz about the failing septic system problem in Michigan.

We shouldn’t be flushing anything but organic waste into any sewage system, and culturally we just abuse the heck out of that.”

Scientific studies have even connected the septic issues to increased local norovirus outbreaks, and increased cases of diarrhea in children.

Attempts have been made by the Legislature to impose rules, though they have been combated by real estate moguls concerned about the housing market, property owners concerned about pricey repairs, and environmental advocates concerned that uniform regulations would lessen tougher protections already in use in certain jurisdictions.

Your first indicator is going to be slow drains, consistent slow drains. Second one is to walk outside around the leach field, and see if you step in any water, and of course there would be heavy odor associated with that — and we can all identify the smell of raw sewage,” said Breidenstein.  “Third one might be, if you are seeing water, standing water — in your ditches with all the water we have had — that is growing heavy algae, that indicates that you have got a lot of nutrients overflowing the system and going into the ditches.”

So those would be the top three ways to determine if you are having an issue.”

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