Dear friend of FLOW,

During these first days of fall, I am reflecting on the beauty and bounty of our natural world—and its fragile nature.

Sometimes, in fact, the smallest things create some of the biggest environmental problems. FLiz Kirkwoodew residents decades ago would have thought that backyard septic systems could lead to unhealthy levels of microorganisms in hundreds of lakes and streams across Michigan. But that’s the reality today. It’s a widespread problem that affects the environment and everyone who enjoys Michigan’s bountiful fresh water.

That’s why FLOW has been taking action with you by publishing reports and fact sheets, holding a statewide Septic Summit, hosting groundwater-protection webinars, and pushing for policy change in the chambers of the legislature. FLOW staff members educate and empower the public and key stakeholders. Together with you, we pursue solutions that are effective and affordable for residents and for health departments providing local oversight.

During SepticSmart Week, which ends today, FLOW has been sharing updates on efforts to protect fresh water and public health from uncontrolled septic system waste. SepticSmart Week is an annual educational campaign that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a decade ago, with the State of Michigan, other states, communities, and organizations, including FLOW, as partners and participants. (Click here to see a larger version of the graphic at left).

FLOW also is joining forces with many other organizations, experts, and elected officials who are concerned about the danger that failing septic systems pose to our shared waters and well-being. Our collective aim is to win passage by the legislature of a statewide sanitary code requiring inspection and maintenance to catch these failing systems. Michigan is the only state lacking such statewide requirements, despite an estimated 130,000 failing or malfunctioning septic systems releasing an estimated 9.4 billion gallons of poorly treated or raw sewage into the soil and environment each year.

To see all our coverage during SepticSmart Week, visit and FLOW’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest articles, videos, and fact sheets. Here is a roundup of FLOW’s original content released this week:

Thank you for standing with FLOW to keep our Great Lakes, groundwater, and drinking water protected for all of us.

In solidarity,

Liz Kirkwood
Executive Director

PS—Please spread the word: FLOW is seeking dynamic people dedicated to Great Lakes protection to serve as our next Communications Manager and Development Manager. Both full-time positions are based at FLOW’s downtown office in Traverse City, Michigan, and may include a hybrid remote-work option. Occasional nights and weekends are required for events and other gatherings. Click here to read the full job descriptions and learn how to apply.

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