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Greywater - Michigan State Regulations (1999)

State Regulations (US), Compiled in 1999:
Composting Toilets, Graywater Systems, and Constructed Wetlands

Michigan: Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Health Section, Drinking Water and Radiological Protection Division, PO Box 30630, Lansing, MI 48909-8130; Toll-free Ph. (800) 662-9278; Ph. (517) 335-8284.


REGULATION(S): Michigan has one of the oldest existing guidelines for composting toilets and graywater systems. However, as there is no statewide sanitary code, the 46 local health departments define the criteria for onsite sewage disposal and "each county runs its own show."79 The Michigan Department of Health publishes Guidelines for Acceptable Innovative or Alternative Waste Treatment Systems and Acceptable Alternative Graywater Systems under authority of Act 421, P.A. 1981 (1986). Under Act 421, an owner of a structure using an acceptable an innovative or alternative waste treatment system (heretoafter referred to as "alternative systems") in combination with an acceptable alternative graywater system (heretoafter referred to as "graywater systems") shall not be required to connect to an available public sanitary sewer system.80 Alternative system means a decentralized or individual waste system which has been approved for use by a local health department and which is properly operated and maintained so as to not cause a health hazard or nuisance. An acceptable alternative system may include, but is not limited to, an organic waste treatment system or composting toilet which operates on the principle of decomposition of heterogenous organic materials by aerobic and facultative anaerobic organisms and utilizes an effectively aerobic composting process which produces a stabilized humus. Alternative systems do not include septic tank-drainfield systems or any other systems which are determined by the department to pose a similar threat to the public health, safety and welfare, and the quality of surface and subsurface waters of this state.81 A person may install and use in a structure an alternative system or an alternative system in combination with an graywater system. The installation and use of an alternative system or an alternative system in combination with a graywater system in a structure shall be subject to regulations by the local health department in accordance with the ordinances and regulations of the local units of government in which the structure lies. A local health department may inspect each alternative system within its jurisdiction at least once each year to determine if it being properly operated and maintained. 1) A local health department may charge the owner of an alternative system a reasonable fee for such an inspection and for the plan review and installation inspection. 2) The department shall maintain a record of approved alternative systems and their maintenance and adoption. The department, after consultation with the state plumbing board, shall adopt guidelines to assist local health departments in determining what are graywater systems and what are alternative systems. The department shall advise local health departments regarding the appropriate installation and use of alternative systems and alternative systems in combination with graywater systems. 3) A person who installs and uses an alternative system or an alternative system in combination with a graywater system shall not be exempt from any special assessments levied by a local unit of government for the purpose of financing the construction of an available public sanitary sewer system. 4) An owner of a structure using an alternative in combination with a graywater system shall not be required to connect to an available public sanitary sewer system.82


GRAYWATER: system means a system for the treatment and disposal of wastewater which does not receive human body wastes or industrial waste which has been approved for use by a local health department and which is properly operated and maintained so as not to cause a health hazard or nuisance.83 Structures which utilize alternative systems and graywater systems which are self-contained systems that do not have an on-site discharge should not be required to connect to an available public sanitary sewer system.84 Alternative systems must meet the requirements of Sections 5 (6) and 21 of the Michigan Construction Code, act 230, Public Acts of 1972 as amended. Structures using alternative systems must also meet the requirements of the Michigan Plumbing Code.85 Alternative systems and graywater systems should be tested by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) under Standard 41 testing protocol or by an equivalent independent testing agency and procedure. Lacking this testing procedure, the local health department should require performance data prior to approval. When requested, the Michigan Department of Public Health will assist local health departments in evaluating performance data from the NSF and other sources. Each local health department should require appropriate methods for disposal of stored liquid or solid end products from alternative systems.86 To the extent that funds are available, the department will provide training and technical field assistance to local health departments regarding the appropriate installation and use of alternative systems and graywater systems.87 A person may petition, in writing, the commission to approve the use of a particular material, product, method of manufacture or method or manner of construction or installation. On receipt of the petition, the commission shall cause to be conducted testing and evaluation it deem desirable. After testing and evaluation, and an open public hearing, the commission may reject the petition in whole or in part, may amend the code in such matter as the commission deems appropriate, or may grant a certificate of acceptability.88


CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS: The Department of Environmental Quality provides a document entitled Review of Subsurface Flow Constructed Wetlands Literature and Suggested Design and Construction Practices. Constructed wetlands are run through a primary septic tank and then through a subsurface disposal system.89 In fact, this guide recommends that at least two septic tanks should be provided with a total volume of at least two times the design daily flow.90

Source: http://weblife.org/humanure/appendix3.html

 
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