Serving Homeowners

To help support homeowners in Northern Michigan, we provide many different services. Choose a category below to find programs to meet your needs. Not finding what you're looking for, or could use some guidance? Our Central Intake operators are happy to help: 1-800-432-4121.


Please Note: To comply with the requirements of Public Act 53 of 1974 by the Michigan State Legislature for the Protection of Underground Facilities and to protect our employees' safety, HDNW will be having underground utilities flagged by Miss Dig for all Septic, Well, Existing System and Site Evaluations applications. This will delay all applications for four (4) business days to allow for utility marking.

All applications MUST have a physical address & property tax id BEFORE we can accept the application.

Your permit application must be accompanied by the correct fee. Download the fee schedule for the county in which the property is located:
Antrim County
Charlevoix County
Emmet County
Otsego County

District Sanitary Code

Apply for one or both of these permits if you intend to install a new well and/or new sewage disposal (septic) system, or if you intend to repair or replace an existing septic system. Download the application: Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet or Otsego County.

Apply for this evaluation if you intend to remodel or otherwise change the water and septic requirements of your existing home or property. Use this form only if there is an existing system on the property and the demands on that system will be changing. Download the application: Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet or Otsego County.

Apply for this evaluation if you are the buyer (or the buyer's lending institution) and you need to determine the adequacy of the water supply and sewage disposal system of a house for sale. The evaluation includes the determination of operation, capacity and size of the sewage disposal system and if the system reasonably meets sanitary code requirements. Water samples are collected for coliform bacteria and partial chemical analysis to determine well water quality. The well construction and isolation are reviewed and compliance and/or non-compliance with well construction rules is determined. Water well records are reviewed if available.

Note: There are well isolation requirements; click here for more information.
Download the application: Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet or Otsego County.

Apply for this evaluation if you need to determine the suitability of vacant property for sewage disposal. This application is normally used for property buy/sell situations. Application for permits to install water well and septic system may be submitted by the new property owner following the closing of the sale of the property. Download the application: Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet or Otsego County.

Apply for this evaluation if you are considering selling or purchasing real estate, and your township or municipatlity requires completion of this evaluation prior to sale, to ensure disclosure of all conditions that may affect or limit future property use and development. Check with your township or municipality to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities regarding water and septic system evaluations. Download the application: Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet or Otsego County.

Learn More

Other Concerns

The health department continuously conducts surveillance on vector borne diseases that can threaten individuals or the health of our communities. We have participated, along with communicable disease staff, to identify and test animals for diseases that can be spread by animal to human exposure. The agency responds to reports of animal exposures, including potential rabies exposures from bats, dogs, racoons etc., Lyme Disease through tick exposures, as well as reviewing other potential diseases (West Nile, EEE, Avian Botulism and others).

I have a bat in my house, what should I do?
Safely isolate/capture the bat and contact the Health Department. DO NOT bring the bat to the Health Department unless instructed to.

I have a tick on me, what should I do?
1. Using fine-pointed tweezers, grasp the tick at the place of attachment, as close to the skin as possible.
2. Gently pull the tick straight out with steady, even pressure. Do not squeeze, twist or jerk the tick. (Watch this video for removal tips.)
3. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands.
4. Wash your hands with soap & water, apply rubbing alcohol or antiseptic to bite site. 5. Place tick in a zippered plastic bag with a moist cotton ball and bring it to your local health department or private lab for testing.

I've been bitten by a dog or wild animal, what should I do?
Wash the bite with soap and water and dress the wound with antibiotic ointment and bandage. If serious, seek medical attention. Quarantine the animal, if possible, and contact Animal Control or Health Department.

The Health Department has test kits available for many types of water sampling; including the two most common: Bacteriological and Partial Chemical. Stop by any of our offices to pick up one or more of the following test kits:

Bacteriologic (Coliform) Sampling
(Required for new wells - included in permit fee)
Test Code B
Fee: $22.00

Partial Chemical Sampling
(Fluoride, Chloride, Hardness, Iron, Sodium, Sulfates, Nitrites and Nitrates)
(Required for new wells - included in permit fee)
Test Code C
Fee: $22.00

Options for Shipping/Delivery to Lab:
1. Save money and time by returning your sample to any of our 4 Environmental Health offices! Simply collect your water sample and drop it off the same day (see below) to our Bellaire, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, or Gaylord office. We will ship it to our laboratory in Gaylord at no extra charge.

Samples MUST be collected on the day they are dropped off. Drop-offs will only be accepted on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings between 8 am and 11 am.

2. You may also arrange your own shipment, or drop off samples at the laboratory in Gaylord in person. It is your responsibility to ensure samples are received by the laboratory within 30 hours of collection. (Be sure to check with the post office or other shipping company to make sure your sample will arrive in time. You may have to pay an additional charge for overnight delivery.)

Download: Understanding Your Drinking Water Sample Results

Northern Michigan Regional Laboratory (NMRL) is located at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan building in Gaylord, MI. The laboratory provides well water testing services to ensure that private and public drinking water sources are safe for consumption. Water testing includes bacterial analysis for fecal organisms; and chemical testing for chloride, fluoride, sodium, iron, nitrate, nitrite, sulfate, and hardness. The laboratory tests beach and pool water samples for the presence of fecal bacteria to ensure that local residents and visitors have a pleasant experience in Northern Michigan, and are not exposed to the possibility of disease from contaminated lake or recreational waters.

The NMRL is certified as a drinking water laboratory, by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), for water analysis and performs proficiency testing to verify quality results.

Indoor air quality can have a significant effect on your health. Studies show that people spend 65 to 90 percent of their time indoors, and indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The young, elderly, chronically ill, and those with respiratory or cardiovascular disease are often the most impacted by poor indoor air quality.

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
Molds in Your Home
Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments
Testing for Mold
Cleaning Up Small Mercury Spills
CDC ATSDR ToxFAQ™ - Mercury
Lead Poisoning: Is Your Home Safe?
11 Steps to Protect Your Child from Lead Poisoning
Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home (EPA)

A nuisance complaint investigation will be conducted by Environmental Health field staff when a signed complaint is received by any of our branch offices. Complaints relating to sewage, food and garbage are the most commonly investigated nuisances. If the complaint does not fall within the authority of the Health Department, clients may be referred to other regulating agencies. Nuisance complaints are prioritized by their significance with respect to public health risks. Download the form: Nuisance Complaint Form.

Complaints involving tenant/landlord issues, generally, do not fall within the authority of the Health Department, unless they are associated with water, sewage or garbage. To assist clients with housing issues or tenant/landlord disputes, we have provided the following resources:

For general tenant/landlord legal information, contact the Michigan Attorney General toll free help line at 1-877-765-8388
For issues regarding mobile home parks, contact the Department of Licensing and Regulartory Affairs (LARA) at 517-241-9347.

Web Resources:
A Practical Guide for Tenants and Landlords (Michigan Legislature website)
US Department of Housing and Urban Development website

Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in soil. rock, and water. It is formed by natural breakdown of radium, which is a radioactive product of decaying uranium.

As radon decays into radioactive particles and is inhaled into the lungs, energy is released that can damage sensitive lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. The small bursts of energy released from particles trapped in the lungs are like being exposed to hundreds of chest x-rays every year.

The longer your exposure or the higher the level of radon in your home, the greater the risk.

Learn More

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. These chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body - meaning they don't break down and they can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health.

Learn More

Do not dispose of your sharps waste in the regular trash.

Download information about drop-off locations and times: 2020 Drop Off Flyer

If you take good care of your system, it will take care of you!

Learn More