63ºF

Michigan Environmental Council and more speak out against port-a-potty bill

photo

DETROIT – The Michigan Environmental Council, the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and the Michigan Septic Tank Association released a statement Friday regarding a bill the Senate approved.

In 2016, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality stated that any movement of portable toilets with human waste in the tank without a license is illegal. Michigan House Bill 4438 was approved Thursday and would override the requirements and allow unlicensed employees to transport partially full portable toilets between fields and across public roadways.

"This bill would allow untreated waste to be hauled on Michigan roadways and any spill would only add to the E. coli crisis in our rivers and streams," said Tom Zimnicki, agriculture policy director at MEC. "So much for 'Pure Michigan.'"

The language of the bill could also be interpreted to let portable toilets go up to 60 days without pumping.

"It doesn’t take much imagination to understand what is wrong with a portable toilet after 60 days of use in the Michigan summer," said Susan Reed, managing attorney at MIRC.  "When farmworkers are denied dignity, we diminish our humanity not to mention our food safety."