Return to Education Resources Page
Water To Waste Section Fifteen: Who We Are and What We Do
Who, and What, is Wastewater Education?
Onsite Wastewater of NW MI?
In 2002, a diverse group of agencies, individuals and wastewater industry professionals gathered to discuss their frustration with the lack of good public and local government education on rapidly advancing wastewater system technology.
“We all shared the pain from constantly beating our heads up against the regulatory brick wall,” said one of that original group Harry Luzius P.E.
Northwest Michigan Onsite Wastewater Task Force was founded in 2003 as a 501(c)3 through the generous support of the Joyce Foundation. Our charge from Joyce?
To engage in activities which create a climate of informed consent where wise choices can be proposed for appropriately sized wastewater systems which are cost effective to construct, operate and maintain while minimizing environmental footprint and sprawl.
Quite simply we are in the wastewater education business.
In the past 6 years the Board has changed, grown and evolved but always stayed true to that original purpose.
The incoming 2008 Board retains our regional emphasis with a mix of environmental policy specialists, planning and zoning (at both the Township and County level), wastewater service providers, realtors, regulators. We all share one commitment - to protect and preserve the water resources of northwest Michigan through proactive, comprehensive education programs.
We are now simply known as WasteWater Education501(c)3 - while retaining our official IRS Tax Exempt designation.
We are also discontinuing the web URL
michigan-onsitewastewater.org as of September 30.
Our Blog will be moving to www.onsitewastewater.info
What Do We Do?
In the six years this organization has been in existence, the answer to that question has changed many times to meet new challenges and to adapt as quickly as technology and attitudes have - at the local. state and national levels!
We run a pretty lean and efficient organization.
Because we are a collaborative of existing agencies we are able to piggy back on existing services rather than expended scarce funding dollars on rent, gas and office space.
“Our emphasis is on information and services. All we really need is good phone service, a desk and broadband internet,” says Board Treasurer John Sych. "Allowing our Executive Director to telecommute makes us extremely cost efficient and directs our funds to activities not overheads!”
This innovative approach caught the eye of
Dr. Richard Otis, a nationally and internationally recognized wastewater academic and engineering authority who consults with USEPA. Otis joined the organization asTechnical Consultant in 2005.
Wastewater Education has consistently published Annual Reports, available on this web site.
These list the many activities we have engaged in to create that climate of informed consent where citizens are empowered to advocate for wise wastewater choices within their communities.
In 2006 the organization hired a professional administrator as Executive Director. Dendra Best brings an impressive list of diverse talents and a record of professional continuing education in the wastewater field. She is a member of Michigan Water Environmental Association, Michigan League For Human Services, and League of Women Voters. “It is quite an achievement to see how far we have come in 6 years,” says 2008 Board Chair and Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department Director, William Crawford, “this regional collaboration is unique, successful and focused!”
K-12 education programs; providing access to nationally recognized speakers and wastewater leaders from neighboring states; creating partnerships to document regional best management practices and advocate for regulatory change; providing reference resources for individuals and local governments; Onsite Wastewater constantly strives to fulfill the vision of the Joyce Foundation and be that agent for informed consent and change in how we plan for regional and community wastewater systems.
Why We Are Asking For Your Support
Providing reference resources, education programs, speakers, training workshops, system financing counseling, community planning and moderation services is expensive.
Though our overhead costs are extremely low, we rely on successful grant proposals and community support to be able to provide services such as this education publication.
Our financial independence ensures we remain objective and impartial.
Because we are an independent, impartial ‘third party’ much our work is confidential and sensitive - and consequently we are happy to stay out of the limelight!
We are pragmatists & environmentalists.
Make An Unrestricted Donation which we can use to cover printing, postage,speaker fees.
As a 501(c)3 organization, your gift to us will be tax deductible to the maximum extent allowed under current IRS regulations.
Become an Annual Donor to support General Operating.
Help us pay for the basic nuts and bolts and every day supplies. Our bare-bones organization runs on a lean $50,000 per annum budget for staff and administration - everything else goes to education. A $200, $500, or $1000 Annual Gift will help us meet basic expenses.
Pledge an amount which we can call upon in the future as a source for Matching Funds for future grant applications.
Let us double the value of your donation!
Consider the gift of an essential piece of equipment or service -
View Our Amazon Online Universal Wish List
Water To Waste Section Two: Water / Energy Efficiency information and EPA WaterSense Program
Water To Waste Section Three: The inter-relationship between water use, wastewater, the water cycle and wastewater systems.
Water To Waste Section Four: Common sense information about how your wastewater system works
Water To Waste Section Five: Installation, siting, operation and maintenance.
Water To Waste Section Six And Seven: The many amazing things that end up in the waste stream and why we should be careful and concerned.
Water To Waste Section Eight and Nine: The state of our region - an attempt to survey wastewater systems.
Water To Waste Section Ten: The Case For Community Management
Water To Waste Section Eleven: Small community options, choices and solutions
Water To Waste Section Twelve: Understanding northwest Michigan geography and geology and how this relates to wastewater.
Water To Waste Section Thirteen: Information about different types of wastewater systems and case studies.
Water To Waste Section Fourteen: A terrible waste to waste - when there's money to be made and saved by innovation.
Water To Waste Section Sixteen: Gratitude to our sponsors and links to more information.
Return To Main Index
Photo Credits: ©Photos.com/JupiterImages
P.O.Box 792, Traverse City, MI 49685-0792
TEL: (231) 233-1806
For more information contact Executive Director
© 2003/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 Wastewater Education 501(c)3