In September, Isabella County Commissionersapproved a resolution in favor of ensuring that a home’s septic system is inspected before it is sold.

Why are people pushing for these new inspections?

Because Michigan’s rivers, lakes and streams ‒ including the Chippewa River in Isabella County ‒ are facing alarming levels of contamination from human fecal bacteria and viruses, some that are dangerous.

In fact, the State of Michigan estimates that roughly half of its rivers and streams exceed the safety standard for concentrations of E. coli bacteria.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a type of bacteria that serves as a key water quality indicator.  Because E. coli grows naturally in the gastrointestinal tract of warm-blooded animals and humans, its presence in a water sample tells us that fecal pollution has reached that water source by some means.

Furthermore, it suggests that additional dangerous pathogens may be present in the water as well, where they can infect humans through ingestion or skin contact. Diseases such as gastroenteritis, giardia, hepatitis, and cholera can all be spread this way.