Septic Systems, Asian Carp, Delta Sustainability

For Friday, Oct. 5, 2018

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1 – Failing septic systems may be a significant cause of water quality issues in Saginaw Bay, especially in coastal counties and rivers.

This is according to an analysis released by the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network and completed by Public Sector Consultants of Lansing.

The network says properly designed and maintained septic systems provide cost-effective and environmentally safe disposal of wastewater.

But like a furnace or roof, septic systems require periodic maintenance and are designed to operate for about 30 years.

The analysis indicates that up to 15,000 systems in a study area of Bay, Arenac, Huron, Iosco and Tuscola counties are likely failing, releasing as much as 1.26 billion gallons of sewage into the environment annually.

The network suggests time-of-sale inspection programs for septic systems in Saginaw Bay area counties, like 10 counties in Michigan have already adopted.

septic system failure rates saginaw bay chart graph
Estimated septic system failure rates. From “An Assessment of Failing Septic Systems in the Saginaw Bay Region” 2018

2 – There’s overwhelming support for stronger protections to block Asian carp from Great Lakes.

According to poll results released by the state Department of Natural Resources, a majority of people who live near the Great Lakes support immediate action to install additional structural protections to keep invasive carp from moving out of Illinois rivers and into the Great Lakes.

The poll surveyed residents in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

People were asked about their support for potential solutions including a “fair share” funding proposal by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The proposal would help fund ongoing operations and maintenance of additional security improvements based on each state’s respective share of the lakes. Under this scenario, Michigan would pay the most of any state by covering nearly half of the installation costs, while a state such as Illinois would pay 2 percent or less.

Juvenile Grass Carp

3 – A 2018 Sustainable Campus Index published by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has recognized Delta College as a top performer in sustainability.

Delta was ranked fifth in nation in the community college category.

The association evaluated sustainability efforts in 17 areas.

Delta was ranked in the Top Five in the category of two-year colleges along with:

  • Nova Scotia Community College
  • Portland Community College in Oregon 
  • Mohawk College and Fleming College in Ontario.

Specific areas where Delta College earned points include:

  • A living wall at its Health Professions Building, which acts as a bio filter to improve air quality
  • The percent of total courses that are sustainability-related
  • Rethink your Drink water refill stations  
  • Sustainable dining options
  • Rainwater management.
delta college campus green
The Delta campus. Credit: Delta College

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

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