Kick-Off to the 2022 Construction Season

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April 28th, 2022

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Welcome to the St. Louis County On-Site Wastewater news. You are receiving this message because you have signed up for updates with St. Louis County Planning and Community Development Department. This resource will keep you updated with information about On-Site Wastewater news.

Kick-Off to the 2022 Construction Season

With the start of the construction season nearing, the On-Site Wastewater Division wishes all SSTS professionals a safe and productive year. The division has worked hard during the off-season making many improvements, including updating forms, improving consistency, providing appropriate messaging, and continuing to develop creative solutions to meet the needs of St. Louis County’s constituents.

The On-Site Wastewater Division strives to continuously provide excellent customer service and permitting through our septic program. We are focused on meeting our performance goals of issuing permits within 10 business days or sooner by taking a ‘first in/first out’ approach. If your permit is not issued within that time frame, please contact the division and we’ll work diligently to resolve the issue.

Soil Confirmations

As conditions improve and allow for soil observations, please contact a St. Louis County Environmental Specialist to schedule a site visit to verify soils when soils characteristics are difficult to determine.


Permit to Construct Application and Design Submittals

Please ensure all applicable fields within the application forms are completed and all required forms are submitted. Additionally, a minimum of three (3) soil observations per design are required and elevation contours must be included on all site sketches.

Note: Soil logs are not required for holding tanks or vaulted privies, however, soil logs are required for pit privies.

The division encourages designers to perform their own best practices regarding additional soil observations, addressing buoyancy concerns, and so on. It is the division’s role to verify that all the standards and requirements are adhered to and followed.

 MPCA Type IV and Type III Systems

The On-Site Wastewater Division will continue to accept applications and issue permits for Type IV (i.e. Peat Filter) Systems. However, Type IV system designs must continue to meet product registration requirements, as well as the provisions of SSTS Ordinance 61 and corresponding local technical standards, i.e. Contour Loading Rates (CLR).


Property owners and the division will continue to rely on designers to follow technical standards and determine the appropriateness of designing Type III systems. If site conditions present challenges to following the requirements, limiting conditions must be demonstrated and accompanied by a narrative of sufficient reasoning via a site report to be considered for deviation from the requirements. Deviations will not be allowed for aesthetic purposes.


Compliance Inspections

Based on the feedback received from the SSTS Open House meetings, we want to re-message our position on system sizing when performing compliance inspections on existing systems. As part of the SSTS Ordinance 61, the definition of non-conforming includes “undersized relative to occupancy.” Therefore, the number of bedrooms, septic tank size, and dwelling classification should all be assessed when determining the appropriate system sizing, as these factors directly relate to occupancy. Contour loading rates, on the other hand, are indirectly related to occupancy. Thus, we still ask to assess and document the contour loading rate as part of the inspection form, however, only assess sizing based on the contour loading rate when bedrooms have been added. If no changes were made to impact the system, there isn’t reasonable cause to assess CLR.



Final Inspection Requests


All requests for final inspections shall be made during normal business hours, excluding holidays, a minimum of 48 hours in advance.


Note: SSTS Ordinance 61 states, "It is the responsibility of the SSTS owner or the owner's agent to notify the Department two (2) calendar days prior to any permitted work on the SSTS." This is to ensure we best accommodate the installation professionals and maintain an efficient workflow.


As-Builts Required

As conditions improve and allow for soil observations, please contact a St. Louis County Environmental Specialist to schedule a site visit to verify soils when soils characteristics are difficult to determine. As stated in the Minnesota Rules Chapters 7080-7083, it is required that the installer submit an As-Built form to the homeowner and Local Unit of Government within 30 days of a system installation. Installers will be required to submit an As-Built form prior to issuance of a Certificate of Compliance. St. Louis County has developed an As-Built form to submit post installation, which can be found on the "Applying for a Septic Permit" webpage under the Installer Documents accordion.


Apply for a Septic Permit (


Implementation of Final Inspections by an Independent Inspection Contractor

As conditions improve and allow for soil observations, please contact a St. Louis County Environmental Specialist to schedule a site visit to verify soils when soils characteristics are difficult to determine. 


Effective for the 2022 Construction Season, the division is implementing a new approach to final inspections by providing an option for final inspections to be performed and completed by an independent, certified, licensed, and approved SSTS inspector. This approach will allow property owners (or agents of the property owners) the option of using an independent inspection contractor to complete final inspections. However, the scheduling and payment of inspections services shall be the property owner's personal responsibility. The division has developed a contractor approval process, and guidelines that must be followed. Please contact the division if you are interested in becoming an approved inspection contractor.


Form 3034 - Final Inspection Private Licensed Contractor Guidelines.pdf (


Contact us

On-Site Wastewater

If you have any questions about On-Site Wastewater, please contact:

Duluth Office: (218) 725-5200
Virginia Office: (218) 749-0625

On-Site Wastewater and Water Manager
Ryan Logan