MPCA SSTS Bulletin

Having trouble viewing this message? View it as a webpage.
SSTS Bulletin

February 2013

All right, tell us where to go... with the SSTS program


Several of our readers have completed the online survey providing us with some feedback and ideas on the direction of the SSTS program in Minnesota. Be we would really like to hear from more of you. The survey is very quick and easy to complete; there are only a few multiple choice questions, some demographic questions and an opportunity for you to provide some additional comments if you wish. Take a moment and click on the box at right to go to the online survey. We appreciate your input very much.

MOWA conference covers impact of water softeners on septics, West Coast approach to SSTS, Roe-D-Hoe ho ho


The annual Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association conference held recently in Alexandria answered a lot of questions, including a big one: what affect do water softeners have on an SSTS? 

Keynote speaker John Novak (at right), shared results of a study that looked at the effects of adding or not adding water softener regenerate to septic system effluent. Future editions of the SSTS Bulletin will cover the issue of water softener regenerate management in greater detail, but in a nutshell, Professor Novak said including water softener regenerate is better for the average home SSTS system than not including it, as long as the water softener uses a demand-based system that monitors and regenerates according to how much water is actually used as opposed to a time-based system that regenerates after a certain period of time no matter how much softened water has been used. He said the time-based systems can introduce too much salt which can cause too much resuspension of solids that can lead to the clogging of pipes in the drainfield.  

Another keynote speaker, Mark Adams of the California Onsite Wastewater Association (COWA), applauded MOWA and Minnesota for adopting certification requirements for septic professionals and implementing SSTS ordinances that are uniform and consistent across the state, neither of which is true in California, he said. 

Presentations made by MPCA staff included program and policy updates and information on limiting and restrictive layers in soils, 

All of the Powerpoint presentations made at the conference will eventually be available on MOWA's website.

Gretchen's Roe-D-Hoe performance "impressive"

A new event for the Minnesota conference was a Backhoe Roe-D-Hoe competition, where participants competed to see who is quickest at putting a small backhoe through its paces--picking up a ball and dropping it in a basketball hoop, etc. 

The MPCA's Gretchen Sabel, we're sad to say, didn't win. However, her Roe-D-Hoe performance did leave a lasting impression--in the conference room floor. She was disappointed to learn that the "DQ" entered next to her name on the score card did not mean she had won a Dairy Queen Blizzard. 

The winner of the Minnesota Roe-D-Hoe is guaranteed a spot in the final round of the National Backhoe Roe-D-Hoe that will be held at the annual Pumper and Cleaner Expo Feb. 25-28 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind. Here's a look at the finals held last year.