Healthy Lakes – Septic System Project

Lake Management Program – Septic Systems (2003)

As part of our Lake Management Plan for water quality, we have completed a three year Septic Inspection Program.  The mean length of the current lakeshore ownership on the chain is approximately 18 years (2003 survey).  With the ages of cabins somewhat older, the septic system function and compliance is a real concern of the Child, Girl and Woman Lake Property Owners Association.

Current law does not require systematic inspections even when a property changes hands within a family.  When a property is sold or improved however, the septic system must be inspected for compliance.  Our inspections were performed by a state licensed inspector during the summers of 2005, 2006, and 2007.  The cost of the inspections was $60 per system paid for by the CGWLPOA, with grants from the Initiative Foundation and Cass County.  All of the lakeshore owners were asked to be a part of these inspections unless their system had been inspected and found to be in compliance within the last three years of the year they were scheduled to be inspected.  They also were not inspected if their system had been installed within the last five years.

Approximately 500 systems were inspected and of those inspected about 14% were found to not be in compliance.  The county has asked the owners of those properties to bring their systems into compliance.  Also approximately another 11% choose to opt out of the inspections despite our encouragement to participate.  Although we would have preferred to inspect all systems that were not new or recently inspected, we believe that by finding systems that were not compliant and having them brought into compliance, we certainly improved the water quality of our lake system.

Report by Keith Lorensen – septic project manager

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