Kalamaoo County

Environmental Health


Environmental Health reviews properties for the purpose of approving the site for land divisions when onsite water supplies and/or onsite sewage treatment systems will be used. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality promulgates administrative rules (pdf) regarding onsite water supply and onsite sewage treatment for land division and subdivisions (R560.401 to R560.428).

Several criteria are used to determine the suitability of a parcel of land for division. Parcels are evaluated to determine if they are large enough to allow for the installation of both onsite sewage treatment systems and onsite water wells with the necessary isolation requirements. Soil evaluations determine the suitability of the parcel for onsite sewage treatment systems. Parcels with soil permeability above 60 minutes per inch or groundwater signs within 24 inches of the surface are not suitable for onsite sewage treatment, and the land division will be denied. Groundwater is evaluated to assure that a long-term drinking water supply can be sustained. Neighboring onsite water supplies and test wells are sampled for coliform bacteria, chloride, fluoride, hardness, iron, nitrate, nitrite, sodium, sulfate, and arsenic. Expanded testing for other parameters may be required due to proximity to known sites of contamination. Onsite water wells must also meet minimum yield criteria.

There are three different types of evaluations available at this office. (Land division requests for resulting parcels greater than one acre in size are not subject to these rules and regulations.)

  1. Subdivision or site condominium developments that are submitted by a licensed engineer or surveyor: A Subdivision Site Report form and all pertinent data are submitted to our office (in triplicate) with the appropriate fee in accordance with state law. Material submitted is reviewed for compliance with applicable rules and regulations. Environmental Health visits the property to confirm data submitted by the consultant. Any restrictions put on the onsite water supplies and/or onsite sewage treatment systems must be made part of the deed restrictions in the final plat recording. For detailed information on how to submit an application for a subdivision or site condominium, see the consultant's guide for submittal.
  2. Land divisions of three parcels or less, and each parcel is less than one acre in size: This policy is intended to provide citizens an option other than hiring an engineer for small projects. The applicant must complete and submit (in triplicate) the application form (pdf) with the appropriate fee. Provide a map identifying the parent parcel and proposed divisions. Environmental Health will perform soil evaluations on each proposed division. (A backhoe may be required if site conditions do not allow for the use of a hand auger.) Staff will evaluate water quality data in Environmental Health records and perform a well record search. If current data are not available, water samples must be collected to determine the suitability for onsite water supply systems. It may also be necessary to install a test water well(s) on the property. Environmental Health will provide recommendations as to location and depth of a test well. Any restrictions put on the onsite water supplies or onsite sewage treatment systems will be made part of the recorded deed of the land division. Any costs associated with the above will be the responsibility of the owner/applicant.
  3. Pre-Preliminary Evaluation: This evaluation is not required by state law or county regulation but is offered as a service to persons interested in developing a property. A developer or landowner often uses this service before purchasing a large parcel of land with intention to divide. An application form and all pertinent data that are identified on the application form must be submitted to our office with the appropriate fee. Environmental Health will review all data submitted and information in our records, conduct onsite inspections, and issue a written report. The report will contain a summary of the suitability of the property for onsite sewage treatment systems and/or onsite water supply systems.

Helpful Links:

Water Quality Data
Wellogic for scanned and digitally entered well logs
Subdivision Rules
MDEQ website
Suggested Test well Instructions

The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department programs are open to all without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Links to external sites do not constitute endorsements by Kalamazoo County.