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Health Department holds community information session regarding sanitary code revisions

HANCOCK — The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is holding an informational meeting on proposed changes to its long-standing sanitary (septic) health code. This virtual meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. ET. The revised code will be known as the U. P. Environmental Health Code (UPEHC) and will apply to Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon Counties.

The code revisions are part of a three-year project between all six local health departments in the Upper Peninsula to update the Superior Environmental Health Code that was approved by WUPHD in December of 1997. Primary changes to the code affect on-site sewage system construction standards and the operation of public swimming pools. The intent of the revision is to allow for consistency across the region for ease of use by contractors and engineering consultants that work in multiple jurisdictions. Several of the proposed sewage system construction standards are less restrictive and more cost-effective for property owners. Additional changes include the ability to permit small commercial systems locally and allowances for real estate property transfers even if the existing system does not meet all of the current standards.

The Environmental Health Division of the WUPHD currently operates under more than 20 existing state codes. The updated language in the UPEHC includes references to these existing state documents to provide public transparency and does not provide any new authority. In addition, the appeals section of the new code provides clarification of the appeals process. This code revision does not affect the following facilities regulated by the health department:

— Food service establishments

— Body art establishments

— Commercial on-site sewage systems >1,000 gallons per day flow

— Water well construction

— Hydraulic fracturing of water wells

— Geothermal well construction

— Well abandonment and plugging

— Parcels of property less than 1 acre, subdivisions or site condominiums

— Campgrounds

— Septic tank pumping and land applications of septage

— Clandestine drug related contamination such as methamphetamine

— Public health nuisances

The proposed document and a link to the virtual meeting can be found on the health department’s

website at www.wuphd.org.

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