Approximately 10% of the sites WUPHD evaluates for sewage systems do not meet the minimum requirements of the U.P. Environmental Health Code. A variance to the Code may be granted to permit the best possible sewage system on lots with existing homes. Vacant lots with site conditions that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied for a conventional sewage system.
Technology is available that is capable of treating sewage effluent to a higher degree than a conventional septic tank and drain field. The Western U.P. Health Department has adopted an Alternative Technology Policy that allows some of these newer “engineered” systems to be installed on parcels of property that would otherwise be unsuitable for an on-site sewage system under the U.P. Environmental Health Code. Our Alternative Policy requires that an approved engineer or system designer evaluate the site and design a system that will be reviewed by the health department. Maintenance for these systems is crucial and the applicant must sign a maintenance agreement requiring annual checks by the department before permits will be granted.