Lenawee Co. Health Department Issues Statement on Environmental Health Code Battle

This is from a press release sent out by the Lenawee County Health Department on Monday, December 23rd, 2019:

“In 2015, the Lenawee County Health Department received complaints from Lenawee County residents about the unsanitary disposal of untreated sewage at properties in Medina Township. The Health Department responded to those complaints and educated the property owners who were in violation of the Environmental Health Code on the requirements to bring their properties into compliance. Department officials have discussed compliance options for the past four years while additional homes have been constructed in the area. None of the property owners have agreed to come to a compromise.

“The complaint that Lenawee County has brought against the property owners that are not compliant with the public health code is a public health issue. The issue here is ensuring the public health of Lenawee County residents,” said Martin Marshall, Lenawee County Administrator.

The environmental health code and the laws of the State of Michigan prevent households from  disposing of human waste using unsanitary methods that may contribute to the spread of infectious diseases. There are safe options for outhouses that have been presented to the property owners and that the County itself has implemented for facilities in County parks. Lenawee County officials are willing to work with the property owners to satisfy the objectives of the  environmental health code and to protect public health in the same way that other counties in the State of Michigan have required of its residents.

“I hope we can come together with these property owners and come to a compromise that would allow us to meet the objectives of the environmental health code while allowing the individuals to live in the manner that they wish,” said Martha Hall, Health Officer of the Lenawee County Health Department.

The protection of public health is a mandated service of county government and the environmental health code was developed to protect the health of all Lenawee County residents. This is a public health issue and our focus is protecting the health of all residents in our community. It is important to note that the environmental health code does not require the property owners to install electricity and some alternate methods for compliance can be accomplished without electricity. Lenawee County has never demolished a home for non‐ compliance of the environmental health code.

“We’ve let those property owners know that they have options available to them that do not impact their beliefs,” said Marshall. “Even now we’re willing to work with them to meet the objectives of the environmental health code.”

All inquiries about this matter should directed to the County Administrator Martin Marshall at
517‐264‐4508 or www.lenawee.mi.us/ehc.”

For more on this developing story, here is the link to WLEN’s original post about the incident :

https://www.wlen.com/2019/12/19/aclu-defends-amish-lack-of-plumbing-as-religious-freedom/

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