Septic System Ordinances

Septic System Ordinances

For a number of years the Glen Lake Association has used the catchphrase, “It’s All About the Water” as the tagline reflecting the organization’s reason for being.

GLA’s mission has consistently been the protection and preservation of both surface and groundwater. This is not just a Glen Lake issue, but as an active steward of all water within the Glen Lake/ Crystal River Watershed.

Did you know …

  • Michigan is the only state in the nation that lacks uniform, statewide septic system standards.
  • Once installed, wells and septic systems are sight-unseen, often without regulation and no means of knowing they are operating correctly.
  • MSU research shows modern septic systems installed after 1990 have a functional life expectancy of 25 to 30 years, after which they begin to fail.
  • MSU also found that in communities conducting septic inspections, 17% to 25% of systems needed repairs.

It’s a fact that well and septic problems are likely to worsen over time due to aging, high water conditions and as more homes are converted from seasonal to year-round use.

Many local municipalities now have well and septic ordinances in place, including:

  • Benzie County (1990) 10 years post implementation survey showed 85% residents still in favor of the ordinance.
  • Long Lake Township, Grand Traverse County (2008)
  • Milton Township, Antrim County (2012)

Of particular importance are approved well and septic system ordinances surrounding our watershed that were adopted within the past 10 years:  Glen Arbor Township (2014), the Village of Empire (2013), Cleveland Township (2018), Empire Township (2019) and Centerville Township (2020) in Leelanau County.

Your GLA continues to be a strong advocate for the adoption of local and county ordinances supporting the need for well and septic system inspections—at the time of sale and transfer.

For more information on these important water protection guidelines, click here to read more on “The Septic Question” from Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.