MPCA SSTS Bulletin

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SSTS Bulletin

March 2014

New statistics in 2013 MPCA SSTS Annual Report, including 12,000 compliance inspections of existing systems


A new law passed in 2013 required the MPCA to request additional information from local SSTS programs, which resulted in the addition of four new questions to the 2013 SSTS annual report questionnaire sent to local SSTS program staff. The new questions asked for the number of:

  • Compliance inspections of existing SSTSs conducted in the jurisdiction
  • Noncompliant properties connected to a centralized sewer
  • Noncompliant properties mitigated by abandonment or removal of a dwelling
  • Noncompliant properties mitigated through government buyout

The requirement to report this information went into effect Aug. 1, 2013, but local governments were asked to look back and report data for the entire year. So while the new requirement came mid-construction season and the numbers reported may not fully reflect all the work that was done in 2013, the numbers are still impressive as shown in the following chart. A total of 567 problem systems were discontinued in three ways: connection to a central sewer (352), removal or abandonment (211), and through buyouts (14). Buyouts can occur when a property is tax-forfeited, or when a local government  purchases properties for highway expansion, etc.   


The number of compliance inspections of existing systems reported by Local Government Units (LGUs) in 2013 is show in the table below. There were 12,095 inspections reported, roughly 2 percent of the more than 500,000 systems in the state.  Nearly 11,000 of the inspections were reported by counties. Cities reported 908 and townships 185. A Joint Powers Board reported four compliance inspections.  


Inspecting existing septic systems is helping Minnesota improve SSTS compliance rates. When old systems are inspected, those that pose an environmental or human health risk get on the list to be upgraded in the near future.  Local governments include inspection triggers in their ordinances, such as at the time of property transfer or when a building permit is sought, to create a mechanism for finding and fixing problem SSTS.


Sherburne County reported 1,018 compliance inspections for existing systems in 2013. The other five highest reporting counties were Otter Tail County with 933, Cass County with 776, Crow Wing County with 688 compliance, St Louis County with 609 and Stearns County with 525.

The final 2013 SSTS Annual Report will be available this summer.  Watch for more highlights from the report in future Bulletins.

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