The draft Higgins Lake sewer feasibility study, also called a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) was submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) last month. We expect the final report will be sent to the USDA this month, which will complete this phase of the project. The feasibility study was funded by a $30,000 grant from the USDA.
Representatives from Gerrish and Lyon Townships met with engineers on February 14 to discuss the project. As was presented at the October 2019 informational meeting, based on science and studies going back more than 50 years, there have been demonstrated negative impacts to the environment and the lake quality. The team feels it is important to continue investigating opportunities to protect Higgins Lake by installing public sewers.
The Townships are currently looking at the qualifications and experience of municipal financial advisors and bond counsel who can provide valuable information into project costs and financing options. We plan to have a team identified and engaged soon.
Additional work will take place as the team continues to gather information and inform the public about the project. Cost is a big question/concern for Townships and residents, and we will meet with agencies to discuss potential funding opportunities over the next couple of months.
The importance of public information and participation was also discussed at last week’s progress meeting. We anticipate having an informational spring meeting at a larger venue to accommodate more people who have questions or want to provide input. Web updates, like this one, surveys and mailings will continue providing the latest information for residents until the next public informational meeting.
Septic Tanks Aren’t Keeping the Poo Out of Our Rivers and Lakes (MSU) – MSU publication from 2015 about septic tank density and bacteria. This is a quick and easy read; this article highlights that even properly constructed & functioning onsite systems don’t necessarily treat wastewater.
Nitrate in Drinking Water Fact Sheet (EGLE) – Drinking water wells can be impacted by septic systems when installed shallow or in high density areas
Septic Systems and Surface Waters (EPA) – Interactive web page with short descriptions of septic system operation in relation to nearby surface water
EPA’s Septic Smart for Homeowners (EPA) – Detailed information from the EPA about how septic systems work and how they are maintained
MSU Extension – Septic System Education (MSU) – Michigan State University Extensions version of the EPA’s Septic Smart. Many good links and resources available.
Managing Household Wastewater in Sensitive Shoreline Areas (MSU) – Published in 2012, this article is a short and easy read and highlights the risk of septic systems along shoreline.
Managing Household Wastewater in Sensitive Shoreline Areas (MSU) – Published in 2008, the first pages of the article below provides additional information about the risks and maintenance of septic systems along shoreline.
Groundwater and the Rural Homeowner (USGS) – In-depth web publication about the Hydrologic cycle, groundwater-surface water and how groundwater issues occur
Health Department Sanitary Code (Central Michigan District Health Department) – The Sanitary Code for Roscommon County per the Central Michigan District Health Department.
2020-Higgins-Lake-Study – A study of Higgins Lake Improvement and Management Plan prepared by Restorative Lake Sciences & Dr. Jennifer L. Jermalowicz-Jones, PhD
US EPA National Eutrophication Survey on Higgins Lake (EPA, 1975) – A baseline report created by the EPA on Higgins Lake in a nation-wide study of eutrophication
U of M Biological Station Water Quality Study of Higgins Lake, Michigan (UofM, 1985) A report from 1985 from the University of Michigan and Central Michigan University as an intended baseline for future studies.
Effects of Residential Development on the Water Quality of Higgins Lake, Michigan (USGS, 2001) This report summarizes a five-year sampling effort by the USGS intended as a tool for regional planning for the protection of Higgins Lake.
Changes in nearshore water quality from 1995 to 2014 and associated linkages to septic systems in Higgins Lake, MI (MSU, 2014) This study concentrated on the ecological changes in the water quality of Higgins Lake and compares analytical results to the USGS report in 2001 to make conclusions of the water quality changes. There will be a 2019 update to this report completed by MSU.a