MPCA SSTS Bulletin

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SSTS Bulletin

November 2013

MPCA helping counties update ordinances to reflect local needs. Up north, Cook County wrestling with low-flow situations


By Gretchen Sabel

As winter creeps into the northland, many counties across Minnesota are entering the final push to get their SSTS ordinances updated.  MPCA staff have been working with these counties, answering questions and discussing options to achieve effective sewage treatment within the unique context that the county provides.  About 40 counties still need to get the changes in place this winter, and we are happy to do whatever we can to support the work the counties are doing here.

Cook County, at the very northeast tip of Minnesota, has been dealing with trying to find options for residents who live in the remote parts of the county. Many of these residents are “off the grid” and don’t have water service of any type or even electricity. They have been using privies and porta-potties for their sanitary needs, but asked the MPCA if there were other options, such as composting, to reduce costs.  

The MPCA is committed to working with a task force of residents and county officials to examine these other options and see where possible accommodations can be made. The use of composting toilets, and how to manage the resulting wastes, will be one topic discussed. Since the plumbing code does not recognize a composting toilet as a plumbing fixture, the application for these will be limited to existing dwellings without plumbing.

Other ways of managing waste will also be discussed, including those already in rule such as gray water systems and registered products such as bottom-draining peat filters. These rule-based solutions should fit the needs of most residences. The work of this group will advise the Cook County Board as they work on their ordinance adoption process.

It's fall. Time for leaves, hunting, tank fee reconciliation


By Wendy Gardner-Pritchard

Installers will soon be getting a letter from the MPCA with a reminder about tank fee submissions. These are due by the end of January, 2014, for the calendar year 2013. These letters will arrive by e-mail or U.S. Post, so be sure to check both.

Early fall is a good time of year for installers to check with local units of government to compare records of the installations they performed this season to ensure the records agree. That way, any discrepancies can be resolved in a timely manner. The process of reconciling records can get backed up if it doesn’t begin before winter.

Fall is also a good time of year to catch up on submitting tank installation fees. Remember to use the new “MPCA tank fee reporting form” so you are properly credited for the fees. If you have any questions about the form, please contact Wendy Gardner-Pritchard at 651.7557.2090. Tanks a lot!