MPCA SSTS Bulletin

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SSTS Bulletin

May 2018

2017 SSTS Annual Report shows continued progress toward identifying, fixing faulty septic systems


The 2017 SSTS Annual Report for Minnesota is now available online. The report summarizes information submitted by local governmental units (LGUs) such as counties, townships and cities that permit and inspect septic systems and work with local septic system pumpers, designers and installers.

The 2017 report continues to show progress toward the state's goal of identifying the location and condition of all septic systems in the state and fixing or replacing septic systems that pose a threat to human health and/or groundwater or surface waters.

In 2017, 86 counties, 83 cities, 39 townships and three other permitting authorities submitted SSTS annual report information to the MPCA. LGUs reported 4,709 new systems and 6,197 replacement systems were installed in 2017.

Since 2002, LGUs have issued 187,766 SSTS construction permits for new and replacement systems. This means that roughly 35% of Minnesota's 537,354 septic systems are less than 16 years old.

Direct any questions about the 2017 SSTS Annual Report to Cody Robinson, MPCA St. Paul, or by phone at (651) 757-2535.

U of M offering free septic system/private well homeowner classes


The University of Minnesota Onsite Sewage Treatment Program along with the Minnesota Department of Health are offering free septic system and private well homeowner education classes across Minnesota in May and June

The class covers the basics of how septic systems function, well water testing, and how to help protect your well from contamination sources. It will also provide property owners information on chemicals of emerging concern (CEC) including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and the potential impact on ground and surface water.  Information on proper maintenance of both septic systems and private drinking water systems will be covered to help property owners protect their investments and the environment. 

A class was held in Alexandria May 9. Additional classes are being offered in Bemidji, Two Harbors, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Willmar, Stillwater, Farmington, and Mankato.

Grants still available to cover 75% of design review costs for large systems


This is a reminder that Advanced Inspector Grants, which pay up to 75% of the cost to review an SSTS with design flows of 2,500 gallons per day or more, are still available, albeit through a slightly different process. Funds for this grant were made possible by the Clean Water Legacy Act to protect groundwater and surface water from impacts resulting from the improper design and/or construction of subsurface sewage treatment systems.

Grants are executed between the MPCA and an interested county. The Advanced Inspector may be a Qualified Employee Advanced Inspector of the county where the work is occurring, a Qualified Employee Advanced Inspector of another local unit of government working through an agreement between the local governments, or a private Advanced Inspector under contract with the county. Qualified Employees are individuals who are certified in a specific license area by the MPCA and then employed by a local unit of government.

When a county has a project that requires an Advanced Inspector and wants to start the grant process, it should first contact the MPCA. The name of the project, the county SWIFT ID, the county SWIFT signer, and the projected amount of grant funds needed will be required to start the process. 

Timing is everything

A grant agreement will then be developed at the MPCA and once both the county and the Agency sign the agreement, the county can begin work reviewing, permitting, and inspecting the septic system. Only work completed by an Advanced Inspector after a grant agreement has been executed with the MPCA is eligible for funding.

The first grant agreement executed under this new process took only  one week to complete. Once the agreement was signed by the county, they were able to begin work within two weeks of the grant request.  Each grant agreement is unique, so turnaround times may vary, but preliminary results predict quick turnarounds.         

Each project will require a new grant agreement. Upon completion of each individual project, the county submits an invoice and the final certificate of compliance to receive payment. A template invoice will be provided to counties.

These funds are available to counties to support their work in regulating systems that require that an Advanced Inspector perform the review, inspection, and permitting of new SSTS systems with a design flow of 2,500 gallons per day or more. For more information, please check the MPCA website .

Aaron S. Jensen is the MPCA project manager for this grant.