Do your part and be SepticSmart!

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

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Sept. 5, 2023

EGLE Media Office, [email protected], 517-284-9278

Marisa Faraldo, Environmental Quality Analyst, [email protected], 517-243-9631

Do your part and be SepticSmart!

Governor Whitmer declares September 18-22 as SepticSmart Week

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed September 18-22, 2023, as SepticSmart Week. On Monday, Sept. 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – in conjunction with federal, state, and local governments, and private sector partners – will kick off its eleventh annual SepticSmart Week to encourage homeowners and communities to properly care for and maintain their septic systems.

More than 1.3 million homes and businesses in Michigan depend on septic systems to treat wastewater. If not maintained, failing septic systems can contaminate groundwater and harm the environment by releasing bacteria, viruses, and household chemicals and other pollutants to local waterways. Proper septic system maintenance protects public health, the environment, and saves the homeowner money through avoided costly repairs.

Simple tips for homeowners:

  • Protect It and Inspect It: Homeowners should generally have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional or according to their state or local health department’s recommendations. Regular septic system maintenance can save homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs and protect public health.
  • Think at the Sink: What goes down the drain has a big impact on your septic system. Fats, grease, and solids can clog a system’s pipes and drainfield.
  • Don’t Overload the Commode: A toilet is not a trash can. Disposable diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, coffee grounds, cigarette butts, and cat litter can damage a septic system.
  • Don’t Strain Your Drain: Use water efficiently and stagger use of water-based appliances. Too much water use at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently. Fix plumbing leaks and install faucet aerators and water-efficient products.
  • Shield Your Field: Tree and shrub roots, cars, and livestock can damage your septic drainfield.
  • Pump Your Tank: Ensure your septic tank is pumped at regular intervals as recommended by a professional and/or local permitting authority.
  • Keep It Clean!: Contamination can occur when a septic system leaks due to improper maintenance. Be sure your drinking water is safe to drink by testing it regularly.

The EPA’s SepticSmart Program educates homeowners about proper septic system care and maintenance all year long. In addition, it serves as an online resource for industry practitioners, local governments, and community organizations, providing access to tools to educate clients and residents.

Please join the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in spreading the SepticSmart Week 2023 message that encourages homeowners and wastewater professionals to maintain septic systems to promote public health, water conservation, and economic wellbeing. Be part of the solution by visiting the EGLE SepticSmart Web site or the EPA SepticSmart Web site for an abundance of resources, videos, and information.

Webinar: Knowing Your Septic System – SepticSmart 2023

EGLE’s Onsite Wastewater Program is kicking off SepticSmart Week with a one-hour webinar, “Knowing Your Septic System – SepticSmart 2023,” on Sept. 18, which will be recorded. While this event is targeted to homeowners served by a septic system, all interested persons are welcome to attend.

Webinar attendees will learn about:

  • the basics of septic systems;
  • tools on how to locate a septic system, and
  • use, operation, and maintenance tips.

This webinar will provide participants with access to educational materials and a boost in their ability to manage their septic system. Mark your calendar and register today!

To stay up to date on other EGLE news and events follow us at

Two more invasives to look for in Michigan

Two more invasives to look for in Michigan

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News Release

Aug. 22, 2023
Contact: Contact: Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814; Susie Iott 517-420-0473; or Bill Keiper, 517-342-4087

Two more invasives to look for in Michigan

State’s watch list recently updated

Michigan’s invasive species watch list was recently updated to include two new species and remove another. Mountain pine beetle, a deadly threat to pine trees, and water-primrose, a fast-spreading aquatic plant, have been added to the watch list due to threats they pose to native ecosystems and industry. European frog-bit, originally listed in 2011, has been moved off the list of species of immediate concern and is now considered established in the state.

Mountain pine beetle

A black beetle on a a light pink blob of pine pitch on a pine tree trunk.Mountain pine beetle has been characterized as the most aggressive, persistent and destructive bark beetle in the western U.S. and Canada. Hot, dry summers and mild winters in these areas have led to the beetle’s unprecedented population growth and range expansion, moving it ever closer to Michigan.

Because it attacks most species of pine, the invasive beetle could have widespread effects in the state.

“White and red pines are primary species in our forest ecosystems, and jack pine serves as critical habitat for the Kirtand’s warbler,” said Susie Iott, invasive species program specialist with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “If mountain pine beetle were to become widely established in Michigan, it would cause severe losses across multiple industries, including timber products, plant nurseries and tourism.”

Because the beetle can be transported on infested pine logs, firewood and other similar commodities, MDARD issued an exterior mountain pine beetle quarantine in 2020 to regulate the movement of all firewood and any pine products with bark attached from areas of the western U.S. and Canada.


A hand holding a stalk with a five-petaled yellow flower and long, pointed leaves. A stem with rounded leaves is on the right.Water-primrose (Ludwigia species) is a group of very similar non-native plants, L. grandifolia, L. peploides and L. hexapetala, that are invasive in wetland ecosystems. Water-primrose is quick to establish and spread in dense mats within wetlands and shoreline areas, outcompeting native species and making boating and water access difficult.

Three known populations, two in the greater Detroit area and one in Ottawa County, indicate the species can survive and thrive in Michigan’s climate. Once established, water-primrose can be very difficult to remove, making early detection critical.

“Water-primrose is not a regulated species in Michigan. Though not common in trade, it was likely introduced through the landscape or water garden pathway,” said Bill Keiper, aquatic biologist with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “Several Ludwigia species are common in trade but are not invasive and look much different than water-primrose.”

European frog-bit

A map of Michigan with counties infested with European frog-bit shaded in greens and yellows.A recent review of European frog-bit, an invasive aquatic plant, determined that the plant no longer met watch list criteria due to its establishment in many areas of the state. European frog-bit still retains its prohibited status, making it unlawful to possess, introduce, import or sell in Michigan. State and local management efforts for European frog-bit will continue despite the status change.

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program continues to participate in the European Frog-bit Collaborative, which aims to improve coordination among stakeholders, establish communication networks and build consensus on next steps for management and research. Significant investments continue to support efforts, largely led by local conservation groups, to reduce the invasive plant’s spread.

What is the watch list?

Michigan’s watch list identifies species that pose an immediate or potential threat to the economy, environment or human health. Watch list species have limited known distribution or have never been confirmed in the wild in the state. Michigan’s Invasive Species Program prioritizes watch list species and encourages the public to report potential sightings and take precautions to prevent establishment or limit their spread.

Several factors are considered in evaluating species for watch list status, including risk assessments, proximity of populations to Michigan, harmful characteristics and availability of control methods.

How you can help

The trunk of a pine tree dotted with over a dozen small, orange blobs of pine pitch.The public is encouraged to look for and report potential infestations of mountain pine beetle and water-primrose.

Since mountain pine beetles are tiny and live under bark, they often are detected by the presence of many popcorn-like lumps of pine pitch, called “pitch tubes” on pine tree trunks. Pitch tubes can be brown, pink or white and are created as the tree attempts to push out an entering beetle. Red frass, a fine sawdust generated by the beetle’s chewing, can be visible in bark crevices and around the base of an infested tree.

Invasive water-primrose can be found along the water’s edge or floating on the water. Plants grow upright to 2 feet in height and also spread horizontally. Look for reddish stems, willow-like or spatula-shaped, dark green leaves and a showy, yellow flower with five or six petals.

Michigan is home to several native plants related to invasive water-primrose, including seedbox, water-purslane, false loosestrife and globe-fruited loosestrife. These natives can be distinguished by their flowers, which have four or no true petals.


When reporting watch list species, include one or more photos of the suspected species or its symptoms and provide the location of the infestation.

To report mountain pine beetle, invasive water-primrose and other watch list species:

More information on identifying, reporting and preventing the introduction or spread of watch list species is available at

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

/Note to editors: The accompanying photos are available for download. Caption information follows.

MPB: The tiny, invasive mountain pine beetle, seen here on a pitch tube, could be a threat to Michigan’s forests if it arrives. Photo courtesy of William M. Ciesla Forest Health Management International

Water-primrose: A five-petaled yellow flower and pointed leaves are characteristics of the invasive aquatic water-primrose species. Photo courtesy of Graves Lovell, Alabama Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources,

EFB map: Occurrences of invasive European frog-bit are now more widespread in lakeshore and inland counties in Michigan. Map courtesy of the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network.

Pitch tubes: A pine tree extrudes pitch in an attempt to block mountain pine beetles from entering its bark. Photo courtesy of Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

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Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

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Aug. 9, 2023
Jeff Johnston, EGLE Public Information Officer, [email protected], 517-231-9304

Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is pleased to announce the availability of grants that promote and support the cleanup and reuse of scrap tires in Michigan.

Scrap tires pose a fire risk and a human health risk as mosquito breeding grounds.  Through grants, scrap tires can be processed and used in paving products for roads, manufactured products, and energy production.

The Scrap Tire Cleanup Grant is available for property owners to clean up old or abandoned scrap tire piles. EGLE will give priority to collection sites where tires were accumulated prior to Jan. 1, 1991, as well as collection sites that pose an imminent threat to public health, safety, welfare, or the environment. Local units of government and nonprofit organizations are also eligible for funding for cleanup days and roadside cleanup grants.

Scrap Tire Market Development Grants are available to fund up to 50% of total eligible costs for projects that demonstrate new or increased uses of scrap tires in manufactured products or paving projects. EGLE will prioritize proposals based on the amount of scrap tire material being used in developing the project or product, demonstration of a new use of scrap tire material, and demonstration of a viable market for a proposed product.

To apply for a grant, visit the Scrap Tire Website and select the appropriate link under “Grant Information,” or contact us at [email protected].

EGLE will accept Scrap Tire Cleanup and Market Development Grant Applications with all supporting documentation received on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.

Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

EGLE to develop plan to reduce food system waste

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July 17, 2023
Jeff Johnston, EGLE Public Information Officer, [email protected], 517-231-9304

EGLE partners to develop plan to reduce food system waste

Project seeks stakeholders from across Michigan’s food system to solve challenges of waste and carbon emissions

A $100,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) will help reduce Michigan food waste and carbon emissions in line with goals in the MI Healthy Climate Plan.

EGLE’s support will boost work by the nonprofit Michigan Sustainable Business ForumMake Food Not WasteCenter for EcoTechnology, and an advisory council of industry stakeholders and national experts to develop a Michigan Food System Waste Reduction Road Map to inform state and local decision makers of policies and programs that encourage decarbonization by reducing waste in production and distribution in various food sectors.

Michigan disposes of more than one million tons of food waste through its municipal waste stream each year. Food waste is the largest source of material disposed of in the state’s landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates, 30%-40% of the state’s food supply is lost to waste. The nonprofit Project Drawdown estimates that wasted food is responsible for roughly 8% of global emissions and ranks food waste reduction as the most impactful solution to address climate change.

The MI Healthy Climate Plan – Michigan’s roadmap to a healthy, prosperous, carbon-neutral economy for all Michiganders by 2050 – recommends that Michigan adopt and pursue a joint USDA/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency goal to reduce food loss and waste by half no later than 2030.

The food waste roadmap project will engage stakeholders throughout Michigan’s food system in identifying strategies to guide policymakers on potential incentives, funding mechanisms, technical assistance, outreach, policy changes, and other programs that could be developed to reduce food waste among Michigan businesses and institutions.

The project team is seeking collaborators to join a series of virtual discussions to develop recommendations for cross-sector solutions. Sessions will present current research and the potential applicability of best practices and policies and will draft recommendations for each interest area. Individuals with experience in food loss or food waste within agriculture, food processing and production, grocery and retail, food service, and transportation and logistics sectors are invited to participate by signing up on the Michigan Sustainable Business Forum website,, or at

Working sessions will focus on the following topics:

  • Production standards: Current date labeling verbiage and utilization and potential universal verbiage and standardization of low-waste and efficient packaging and production protocols.
  • Food donation: Current liability and incentive policies for food donation, technical support needed for constructive donations, and the Michigan food recovery landscape.
  • Waste reduction technologies, practice improvements, employee training: Best practices for waste reduction, including supply chain demand planning, methods for measuring food waste, and barriers to effective employee training and engagement.
  • Secondary markets: Channels for food surplus (such as animal feed and FlashFood); best practices for food measurement and transport; price impact concerns; business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and upcycling programs; and education and communication tools for industry sectors and the public.
  • Infrastructure improvements: Food industry stakeholders’ needs for food collection, processing, storage, and distribution. Resources needed to overcome infrastructure barriers.
  • Community awareness and education: Practices to reach household markets with recommendations, involve industry sectors to lead and educate the community, and innovative ideas and progress in food waste reduction.
  • Agency collaboration and leadership: Mutually beneficial food system partnerships, how to invite changing perspectives, and how to distribute resources and materials through trusted agencies.
Scrap Tire Grants available for 2024

EGLE celebrate new wastewater facility

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July 13, 2023
Jeff Johnston, EGLE Public Information Officer, [email protected], 517-231-9304 Jason Karmol, Cheboygan Department of Public Works Director, [email protected] Additional photos available on request.

Cheboygan wastewater facilityCheboygan Director of Public Works Jason Karmol explains to local and state officials the workings of the wastewater treatment facility’s new oxidation ditch. EGLE photo.

Cheboygan wastewater plant moves city forward as part of statewide water system upgrades

Thursday event spotlights state-of-the-art facility near Lake Huron shore

Cheboygan’s new wastewater treatment facility was lauded Thursday by local and state officials during an event marking completion of the upgraded plant – part of a statewide emphasis on providing financial and technical support to improve aging community water systems.

The Cheboygan plant upgrades replace 1970s-era technology and improve treatment processes that better protect Lake Huron, enhance public health safeguards, and reduce costs through state-assisted funding.

Funding for the $17.4 million facility was assisted through a low-interest loan with $5-million principal forgiveness through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). Half of EGLE’s budget is typically returned to communities like Cheboygan in the form of grants and loans to address environmental and public health issues.

Chris Bauer, community and economic development manager with Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, noted that the plant upgrades join numerous infrastructure investments in the community.

“This is one of the biggest economic development projects we’ve seen in a while,” Bauer said.

The plant is among numerous water projects that Michigan communities can more easily fund and complete due to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s focus on water infrastructure and an influx of federal funding for system upgrades. The state and federal support aids communities in addressing deferred maintenance that threatens the integrity of many outdated drinking water and wastewater systems.

Since January 2019, Michigan has invested more than $4 billion to upgrade drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state, supporting thousands of jobs.

“Michigan is addressing systemic challenges in providing quality drinking water and curbing wastewater pollution statewide,” EGLE Deputy Director James Clift said. “The work going on across the state is a great start – a down payment on the critical investments necessary to ensure high-quality drinking water and wastewater management for future generations.”

Water system needs are substantial, not just in Michigan, but nationally. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates $625 billion will be needed for water infrastructure improvements nationally over the next 20 years. That is a 32% increase from their last assessment four years ago.

For more information on Michigan water infrastructure funding opportunities, visit the MI Clean Water Plan webpage. The MI Clean Water Plan expanded this week to include new funding opportunities that became available since the plan was launched by Governor Whitmer three years ago.

Tackling invasive species issues in upcoming webinars

Tackling invasive species issues in upcoming webinars

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News Release

July 11, 2023
Contact: Joanne Foreman, 517-243-6450

It’s not Barbie Land: Learn from real people tackling invasive species issues in upcoming NotMISpecies webinars

It’s perfectly OK if you’re eagerly awaiting the release of the live action “Barbie” movie this summer, where we anticipate she and Ken will get a taste of the less-than-perfect real world the rest of us call home. In the meantime, the NotMISpecies webinar series offers a chance to meet real researchers working to improve Michigan’s environment by better understanding invasive species, climate change and human behavior.

The hourlong programs are free – just register online to watch live and participate in the question-and-answer session, or watch the recorded version at your leisure – with popcorn optional.


A monarch butterfly resting on a swallow-wort plant amidst tall grass.Classical biological control returns with a showdown between invasive swallow-wort vines and Hypena opulenta, a defoliating moth that only develops on invasive swallow-worts. We’re bringing back Marianna Szucs from the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University for “Can this moth help save monarchs? Swallow-wort biological control efforts in Michigan” (9 a.m. Thursday, July 13). She will explain how invasive swallow-wort vines, kin to native milkweed plants, are disrupting the life cycle of monarch butterflies and discuss the complexity of research efforts to establish Hypena opulenta as a swallow-wort biocontrol agent in Michigan.


Boaters and anglers, primarily those who travel between waterways without cleaning their equipment, continue to spread aquatic invasive species. Why aren’t people cleaning when we know the risks of spread? Join Daniel Hayes from the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife for “Why, Oh Why Won’t They Clean, Drain and Dry? Understanding Impediments to Boater and Angler Behavior Change” (9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 10). Hayes and his students interviewed a thousand boaters and anglers to find the answers. He will share what they’ve learned about motivations and barriers to equipment cleaning, perceptions of invasive species spread and other interesting results.


Ash, elm and chestnut trees once were as common in cities as the streets that bear their names. Our tree canopy today is much less diverse due to insects, disease, invasive species and poor species selection. Lawrence Sobson, Department of Natural Resources urban forester and partnership coordinator, explores the issue in “Where the Sidewalk Ends: Choosing Resilient Trees for Tomorrow’s Urban Environments” (9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3). Sobson will offer examples of ideal tree species, explain how to assess urban sites and provide information to ensure the trees you choose can live for the next hundred years.


A green and yellow box tree moth caterpillar stretches across box tree leaves.Box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) was first detected in Michigan in fall 2022. This invasive pest, native to East Asia, poses a major threat to the boxwood plant, an ornamental shrub that is a valuable part of the U.S. (and Michigan) nursery and horticultural industry. Join Susie Iott, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development invasive species program specialist, for “Must You Find Another Shrubbery? Understanding the Impacts of Invasive Box Tree Moth in Michigan” (9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7). She’ll share information on box tree moth identification, its impacts and the state’s response to limit the spread of this invasive pest.

The series will take breaks in September and December, leaving ample time to catch up on episodes you might have missed. Find recordings of all the past NotMISpecies webinars or register for new ones at

Michigan’s Invasive Species Program, a collaborative effort of the departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development, coordinates and supports invasive species initiatives across the state and provides support through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

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