Wastewater Education logoWasteWater Education (Onsite Wastewater of Northwest Michigan) 2006 logo2006: "Water To Waste." education publication.


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Page Six
Community management options and Responsible Entity Models

< Click on the Page Thumbnail to see a full size low resolution page image. To request mailed copies, please send a USPS flat rate prepaid Priority Mail envelope or box to NWMOWTF. PO Box 792, Traverse City, MI 49685-0792

NWMOWTF wishes to extend its appreciation to Scott D. Wallace of North American Wetland Engineering, Larry Stephens of Stephens Consulting Services, Bob Keillor of Sierra Consulting and Sara Christopherson of University of MN for permission to reprint and quote from their arictles.

Today's economy mandates that communties seek the most cost effective option available both to convince skeptical and wary property owners but also to make best use of dwindling public financing dollars. The expense of wastewater infrastructure repair and replacement, usually at the 20 year of life threshhold, can become a serious burden for local governments still paying on the original construction loan.

In 2003, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments conducted a benchmarking and quality of life survey which produced disturbing results:
(excerpted): “Water Quality
Increases in developed land present challenges for protecting water quality. Construction activity causes soil erosion, and loss of woodlands and wetlands reduces filtering of storm water runoff. The effects of runoff from new rooftops, parking areas, and lawns is a concern that over 170 communities in the region must now address through new storm water permits. A key indicator of water quality impacts of land development is the amount of impervious surface on developed land. SEMCOG showed that an increase in impervious land from 14 percent in 2000 to 24 percent in the future would occur if all community master plans are fully realized. This may undo recent improvements in water quality in the region. Maintaining and improving sewers has a dollar shortfall similar to transportation; $14 to $26 billion is needed over the next 30 years, far in excess of present levels of spending. An alternative to the expense of building and operating sewer systems is properly located and maintained septic systems, but septic systems require lower-density development.” [SEMCOG:2003]

Since 2005, NWMOWTF has been in partnership with Northwest Michigan Council of Governments to conduct a wastewater infrastructure survey for this region to assess the impact of growth and the success or impact of fialure of wastewater systems - both municipal and onsite.

This publication was produced as a response to a preceived lack of information available to both local governments, developers and individual property owners on the many options available for cost effective wastewater systems. It was also designed to provide tools for local communities to plan first, buy last.

The best educators are people who have gone first! There are numerous examples of community options from throughout the US and overseas.

The primary objective is to achieve a satisfactory level of treatment and recycling of water back to the watershed. The secondary objective is to do so at a comfortable level of cost sufficient to satisfy and placate community 'sticker shock.' The third objective is to empower local governments to utilize no/low cost planning tools to determine the needs and wishes of their community before writing the RFP for professional services.

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 NWMOWTF