2017-10-19 / Front Page

Chair expects study group for septics

At next County Board meeting
By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

Advocates for a countywide septic inspection ordinance have something to cheer about.

County Board of Commissioners Chairman Will Bunek, speaking at the Bingham Township Board meeting this week, said he believes commissioners will appoint a committee next month to draft a countywide “septic ordinance.”

For the past two months, members of the public including environmentalists and representatives of local lake associations have been urging the County Board to adopt an ordinance requiring inspections of septic systems when properties are sold.

Neighboring Benzie County has long had such an ordinance they point out.

The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department last month voted to recommend that the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners consider adopting an ordinance, and the Leelanau County Board has agreed to put the issue on its agenda in November.

At a public comment opportunity at the regular monthly meeting of the Bingham Township Board on Monday evening, Bunek said he had spoken with a number of community groups in recent weeks to gather input. Bunek noted that townships are empowered to adopt their own septic inspection ordinances.

Supervisor Midge Werner, however, told Bunek that Bingham Township has never considered a septic inspection ordinance. Werner said she thought it would be up to the county to adopt such an ordinance, but did not specifically say whether she or the Bingham Township Board would support its adoption.

Bunek said the County Board may consider a range of options including requiring that every property undergo a septic inspection, that inspections be required only upon the sale of a property, or that inspections be required only in certain “overlay zones” near inland lakes and other water bodies.

Other options may also be considered, he added.

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