Michigan Septic Tank Association

There is a well-known proverb: wine and friends improve with age. The Michigan Septic Tank Association is an organization that can also lay claim to that adage.
Established in 1951, the group is one of the oldest onsite septic associations in the nation, claiming more than 200 members. The non-profit Michigan Septic Tank Association has members from all areas of the septic industry: installers, sewer and drain cleaners, manufacturers, excavators and portable restroom manufacturers, distributors and maintenance companies. As the association has grown, so have its benefits and offerings.
Education is high on the organization’s list of priorities, according to association president Mark Scott. Last year, the group spent almost $18,000 on television public service announcements to educate Michigan residents about the importance of properly maintaining their septic systems. As those in the industry know, a huge majority of property owners tend to ignore their septic systems until something goes wrong. When that happens, the results can be disastrous or expensive or both. The PSAs are working to eliminate problems by educating septic owners.
The advertising spots were originally obtained from The National Environmental Services Center (NESC). With their permission, the spots were modified to add the association’s logo and website address at the end. The ads were titled Lifestyles, Squishy Feet and Das Bloop.
This year, because of the economy, the Michigan Septic Tank Association’s public service budget is lower but no less ambitious. During the first week of May, the same PSAs will air across Michigan. The association website is referred to in the announcements; and, the website has a contractor director on the home page in the upper right corner of the member’s service counties.
Membership brings a slew of advantages, according to Scott. The association lobbies on behalf of those in the septic industry, keeping members posted about state and federal environmental protection agency groups, local laws, the availability of disposal sites and legal issues.
As is true with other business groups, the Michigan Septic Tank Association provides certification and important education credits for members. For example, last month, along with the Michigan Water Environmental Association, the group co-sponsored the diversified Septage Educational Seminar in Mount Pleasant, MI. Participants were able to earn five continuing Septic Education (CSE) hours during the one-day event. Topics covered included:

  • What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA-2010) and how does it affect members of the MSTA?
  • Compliance with Department of Transportation safety rules.
  • How is belonging to a trade association beneficial to those in the septic industry?
  • Tips on how to approach a local, rural wastewater treatment plant to possibly accept septage waste.
  • Questions about gathering and testing soil and/or septage waste (including food-establishment septage) properly before disposal.
  • Defining “drag-hose” septage injection and explaining how it can benefit septic maintenance companies.
  • Tips on how to install and safely service complex onsite wastewater systems.
  • Scott said the association also offers the following member benefits:
    1. Member support – help and assistance with MDNRE permits and licensing.
    2. Quarterly MSTA newsletter.
    3. Advanced MSTA website access. (www.msta.biz).
    4. Publication in the MSTA membership directory.
    5. Continuing septage education tracking of ongoing educational events.
    6. Two discounted tickets to the annual MSTA banquet held during the onsite wastewater conference.
    7. A legislative consultant in Lansing working for your rights and legal protection.
    8. Limited free legal assistance from MSTA- retained legal consul.
    9. Discounted insurance program tailored for our industry by an MSTA member agency.
    10. Discounted state and federal Department of Transportation compliance review program by an MSTA affiliate member for carrier companies.
    11. Spring and Fall Board meetings with MDNRE-accredited continuing septage education available.
    12. Affiliate membership with the National Association of Waste Transporters (NAWT).

            MSTA Committees include a Technical Advisory Council, Portable Restroom Regulatory, Storage & Land Application, Weight Restriction Immunity, Northwest Onsite Task Force, Newsletter Committee, Continuing Education, Wastewater Conference, Part 117 Advisory Committee, Insurance Advisory Committee, Membership Drive Committee, Onsite Inspections/Point of Sale, MSTA PAC Committee, Washtenaw[??] County Rules & Regulations for the Management, Treatment & Disposal of Wastewater Committee, Ad Campaign Committee and a Legislative Committee.
            In January, the association was involved in one of the country’s oldest onsite wastewater conferences, held in the Kellogg Center in East Lansing. The conference drew thirty-six exhibitors, with 439 people registered to attend at least some portion of the event.
            The conference was a joint venture by the Michigan Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) with the Michigan Environmental Health Association and MSTA, along with support from the Michigan Water Environmental Association and Michigan State University.     
The Michigan Septic Tank Association can be found online at www.msta.biz or by calling 989-275-4947.

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