Michigan Septic Summit – Protecting Fresh Water from Septic System Pollution



This fall, Nature Change is joining with FLOW – For Love of WaterLeague of Women Voters of Leelanau County, Michigan Environmental Council, Traverse Area Association of Realtors and League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area to sponsor the Michigan Septic Summit – a leadership summit on the challenges presented by old and failing septic systems and what can be done. These challenges are daunting!

There are over 1.4 million private septic systems in use across Michigan and many are failing to properly treat wastewater before releasing it into the state’s groundwater aquifers. In fact, inspection programs suggest that 10% to 18% of these systems are in some state of failure. Yet Michigan is well known to have the weakest controls over these private septic systems of any state.

What can we do? What are the options for better managing these groundwater pollution hazards? What are local governments doing to protect the groundwater, streams and lakes from fecal contamination and other forms of pollution?

DON’T MISS THIS INFORMATIVE DISCUSSION! The Michigan Septic Summit will be held on Wednesday, November 6th at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City. Registrations are required with a low fee of $25 to cover lunch costs. Just click this link to begin registration:


Featuring short presentations by science researchers and public health experts, the Summit will also offer a series of panel discussions concerning current local efforts to understand and control risks from private septic systems. The participants will include watershed experts, realtors, public health department official, and local government officials.

The list of speakers and panelist includes:

  • Dr. Mark Borchardt, Microbiologist/Researcher, USDA Agriculture Research Service, Marshfield, WI
  • Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director, FLOW
  • Scott Kendzierski, Dir. Env. Health Services, Health Dept. of Northwest MI
  • Jon Beard, Senior Consultant, Public Sector Consultants
  •  Eric Johnston, Env. Health Dir., Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department
  • Seth Phillips, Manistee Lake Association
  • Dr. Grenetta Thomassey, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (invited)
  • Matt Allen, Onsite Service Supervisor, Ottawa County Dept. of Public Health
  • Toni Morrison, Real Estate One, Elk Rapids
  • Rob Karner, Watershed Biologist, Glen Lakes Association
  • Joel Kwiatkowski, Env. Health Mng., Bay County
  • Sean McBreaty, Clean Water Action
  • George Bailey, Chair, Gratiot County Commission
  • Rick Stein, Re/Max Bayshore Real Estate
  • Tom Zimnicki, Michigan Environmental Council
  • Christine Crissman, Exec. Dir., Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
  • Dave Dempsey, Senior Advisor, FLOW
  • Leslie Sickterman, Planning Dir., Long Lake Township
  • Dr. Joe VanderMeulen, Editor/Publisher, Nature Change

The Septic Summit is sponsored by Nature Change, FLOW, League of Women Voters of Leelanau County, Michigan Environmental Council, League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area, and Traverse Area Association of Realtors. Additional promotional support is being provided by the AuSable Institute, Leelanau Clean Water, Michigan Resource Stewards, Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, Clean Water Action, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay.

Please join us for this important, informative discussion.

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