High court sides with DEQ in Thumb sewage discharge case - WNEM TV 5

High court sides with DEQ in Thumb sewage discharge case

WORTH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court says local governments can be held responsible when private citizens discharge raw sewage into public waterways.

Thursday's ruling came in a case involving Sanilac County's Worth Township, 70 miles east of Saginaw in Michigan's Thumb.

The Department of Environmental Quality says private septic systems are polluting Lake Huron and some tributaries. It sued the township after it didn't keep a promise to build a sewage treatment system, saying it lacked the money.

A circuit judge sided with the department, but the state Court of Appeals disagreed.

In its 6-1 ruling, the Supreme Court sys Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act presumes that a local government is at fault for any discharge within its boundaries, regardless of whether it has a sewage system.

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