Public Comment Sought for EH Technical Manual

The Superior Environmental Health Code authorizes Western UP Health Department to develop and adopt a technical guidance manual to provide guidelines, specifications and standard practices to be used to implement the Superior EH Code. The technical manual was last revised in 2007, and the 2015 draft provides minor clarity improvements as well as a significant improvement for septic tank specifications. The public is invited to review the DRAFT 2015 Technical Manual and provide comments to the health department by January 15, 2015. A copy of the DRAFT 2015 Technical Manual is also available at each WUPHD branch office for review.

The DRAFT 2015 Technical Manual includes new requirements for septic tank access ports and risers to the ground surface, and a new requirement for effluent filters to be installed in septic tanks. If adopted by the Western Upper Peninsula Board of Health, sewage systems permitted after February 1, 2015 will be affected by the new requirements.

The health department is proposing these changes because our evaluations of existing sewage systems have found many sewage systems in failed condition due to lack of maintenance by property owners. Lack of maintenance is directly related to buried, inaccessible septic tanks which are out-of-sight and out-of-mind. Septic tank riser lids at the ground surface will promote routine tank pumping and maintenance which is needed to ensure long-term performance of onsite sewage systems. Additionally, many system failures have been caused by damaging traffic on buried sewage systems, and the construction of decks, out buildings, and new home additions over buried septic tanks and drainfields. This type of damage will be less likely to occur when riser lids are visible to homeowners.

Septic tank effluent filters are a low cost, highly effective component which protects a drainfield from being clogged by suspended solids in septic tank effluent. They have been routinely required by WUPHD for many years when pressure distribution sewage systems are permitted. The devices promote drainfield longevity and should be a component for gravity as well as pressure distribution sewage systems.

By adopting the proposed changes, to include septic tank risers and effluent filters for onsite sewage systems, WUPHD’s technical code will be similar to Marquette County Health Department’s Technical Manual, Dickinson-Iron District Health Department’s Technical Manual, and Wisconsin Plumbing Code, all of which require septic tank risers and effluent filters. Many sewage system installers work in these jurisdictions as well as the WUPHD area and have requested similar specifications. The documents open for comment include:

Superior Code Technical Manual 2015 Draft

Superior EH Code DRAFT Technical Manual Appendix

Comments regarding the DRAFT 2015 Technical Manual can be provided to Western Upper Peninsula Health Department by:

e-mail: Lynne Madison, Environmental Health Director,

Fax: 1-906-482-9410

Mail: 540 Depot Street, Hancock, MI 49930.