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This chart shows the rise and fall of Manistee Lake starting on 5/9/2018 through 8/27/2019. (Winter months are not measured of course). Thank you to Gerry Gancer for collecting this data.  Manistee Lake is currently 2.5 inches above where it was this same time last year.



The Manistee County Board of Commissioners is expected to vote on October 22, 2019 on Kalkaska County's request to end the point of sale septic system inspection program.  This is our last chance to save this program. If the Manistee Board votes no, Kalkaska County will not be removed from this requirement in the District 10 Health Department Sanitary Code.  Hopefully, then we can get our board to agree to form a citizen work group to address the many issues that exist within the program. 

While the Manistee Board welcomes hearing from citizens on this important matter, they would like to avoid a prolonged public input period at their meeting.  A few of us are planning to speak and hopefully we can properly reflect the views of the larger community.  Citizens are still encouraged to attend the meeting if possible to show their support for a no vote. Sending letters to the Manistee County Board of Commissioners expressing your views can also be helpful.  The meeting will be at 9:00 AM on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at the Manistee County building.

Manistee County's Board Chair is Jeff Dontz. You can send mail to him at the courthouse at 415 Third Street
Manistee, MI 49660
e-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


It appears that the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners is prepared to vote to end the point of sale septic inspection program at their regular monthly meeting next week, Wednesday August 21, 2019 at 5:00 PM at the county courthouse. This will be our last shot at trying to talk them out of enacting this wrong headed policy that will do nothing but increase the threat to our ground and surface waters from inadequate septic systems. None of our letter writing, emails or testimony has been effective at convincing the commissioners that the voices of the hundreds of citizens in this county should be listened to instead of the voices of a handful of realtors who go out of their way to make the program ineffective.


So we have one more shot and I want to encourage all of you who have committed so much time and energy to this cause to come out one more time and let your county commissioners s know how you feel. Our forceful presence at their meetings all summer have stopped this decision from moving ahead so far. They are hoping that we all are tired of showing up and being heard so they can do what they always wanted to do without any witnesses. DO NOT LET THEM. One more time, show up and be heard.


The Manistee County Board of Commissioners still has not approved Kalkaska’s request to end this program. Last month a motion was made at the Manistee County Board of Commissioners meeting to approve Kalkaska’s request and no second was offered. So no action was taken. The next meeting of the Manistee County Board of Commissioners is on Tuesday , August 27, 2019 at 9:00 AM in Manistee. Since no one would second the motion last time, it may be possible to convince the Manistee board to turn this proposal down. If any of the ten county boards in our health district turn the proposal down it can not be implemented. So anyone wishing to travel to Manistee on the 27th to let them know you care would be more than welcome.


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Thank you to Gerry Gancer for collecting this data. As you will note, the water levels are high this year (in case you didn't know that already!)



AS OF June 24, 2019, THIS MEETING HAS NOT YET BEEN SCHEDULED. AT THEIR LAST REGULAR MEETING, THE BOC SAID THEY HAD ONLY HEARD FROM FOUR TOWNSHIPS SO THEY WERE GOING TO MAKE ADDITIONAL CONTACTS AND THEN SCHEDULE THIS MEETING. SO FAR NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.The saga of the future of the Kalkaska County point of sale septic inspection program drones on. At their special meeting on May 29, 2019, after lengthy discussion, the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners once again tabled any action on their proposal to remove Kalkaska County from the inspection program. The Board also tabled action on the proposal authored by citizens supporting the program to form a study group to look at the program and make recommendations to the Board regarding the program’s future. The Board will discuss these matters further at another special meeting yet to be scheduled. Given the Board’s desire to see this program ended at the county level and taken up by those townships interested in doing so, Commission Chairman Fisher intends to invite representatives of each township in the county to attend the next meeting to discuss their views regarding the program and the possibility of townships assuming responsibility for it. The availability of township officials to attend the meeting must be determined before the date can be set.


Once again substantial citizen attendance at the Commissioner’s meeting was critical in keeping this program alive for now. However, given the difficulty the Board is having making decisions on this matter, it is critical that local citizens who believe this program should be retained or improved continue to make their presence known at all future commission meetings. It is the diligence of the community that is keeping the Board from eliminating this program. The moment we let up the pressure, will be the moment the Board will feel free to end the program. We know continued attendance at these overly long and tedious meetings is an inconvenience but it is vital if we are to have any chance to prevail. I know all of us involved in this struggle appreciate so much the commitment so many have made. We all hope everyone can see their way clear to continue this effort so long as there is still a chance to secure a better outcome for all of Kalkaska County. The more people who show up the better. So please talk to your neighbors and friends about attending the next meeting.


There was a large turnout of citizens at the Kalakska County Board of Commissioners special meeting on Friday, May 17. Almost all in attendance expressed their support for keeping the point of sale septic inspection program.  After public comment was finished, the Board entertained a motion by Commissioner Ngirasaol to form a citizen working group to evaluate the program and make recommendations to the Board on its future, changes needed or whether to repeal the program.  Considerable discussion ensued on the makeup of such a work group, whether it was appropriate to appoint such a group and what it's functions should be. The Board of Commissioners decided to table the motion to form the work group to allow Commissioners to talk with local township officials in their respective districts about how they feel about creating such a work group, what the membership should be and also how the townships would react if the Board of Commissioners decided to end the county level program and look to the townships to create their own programs. The Commission also indicated a desire to get legal advice from the County Attorney regarding such a work group.

The Board voted to add this issue to their agenda  at a special meeting they have already scheduled for 5:30 PM on May 29, 2019 at which time it is expected they will decide on creation of this work group or how to proceed with their original proposal to repeal the program.
So, we are not finished. The large citizen turnout was significant in convincing the Board to take some time to consider what they are doing. A huge thank you to all those who attended. Another similar turnout at the May 29 meeting will help move the Board to create the work group and allow us all to have some constructive input into the future of the septic inspection program. We are making progress.
The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners will be holding a special meeting to consider the Point of Sale (POS) septic inspection program and their proposal to eliminate the program in Kalkaska County on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 5:30 PM. If we have any chance to save this program, we need as many citizens as possible to show up at this meeting and make their feelings known to the Board. If you can not attend, please write letters to our county commissioners.

In addition to the letter from the MLA to the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners, other parties have also expressed their opposition to having this ordinance repealed. Letters have been submitted from the Blue Lake Association, Camp Tanuga, Dr. John Korstad, professor at the Au Sable Institute, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and FLOW (For Love of Water), a statewide environmental group, as well as several residents on Manistee Lake. More letters are expected soon.  If you want to see this ordinance retained, it is important that the Board of Commissioners hear from you directly. Do not rely solely on other people's comments. This is a squeaky wheel process. The more noise the better.

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