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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Septic Systems
no. 21

Implement an environmentally sound management program for decentralized wastewater treatment systems.
  Best Practice Action 1      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ]       [all actions]

Report to landowners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of an educational, informational and financial assistance and outreach program designed to trigger voluntary landowner action to improve septic systems.

  • Cass County in central Minnesota has used visual inspection to identify possible septic failures.
Periodic or ongoing tracking, inspections, report review, and/or outreach to system owners.
Require inspections on a set timetable, at time of sale or when a building permit is pulled; require failing systems to be upgraded within 12 or fewer months.
Provide financial assistance for bringing systems into compliance; bring all remaining septic owners voluntarily into central sewer system.

Albert Lea

Date action report first entered:   08/18/2016
Date of last report update:   08/18/2016

Implementation details:
Freeborn County performs compliance inspections when property is transferred or building permits are issued. If there are compliance issues the property owner has a varying window of time to bring the septic system into compliance. Property owners are eligible for three low interest loan programs to upgrade their septic system - through the USDA, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and Freeborn County.

For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff)   |   jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us   |   507-377-4316

Freeborn County

View All Albert Lea Actions


Date action report first entered:   12/08/2017
Date of last report update:   12/08/2017
Year action initially completed:   2005
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
In the early 2000's the City of Fridley's community development department, utility department, and public works department coordinated to with property owners with septic systems to voluntarily connect to the sewer system. All properties in Fridley are now connected to the sanitary sewer system.

Descriptive links: http://northcountryfoundation.org/news/2015/11/16/a-brighter-future-in-fridley-park-plaza-cooperative-completes-1-million-in-infrastructure-improvements

For more information contact:
Rachel Workin (City staff)   |   rachel.workin@fridleymn.gov   |   763-572-3594

View All Fridley Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
Dakota County has assistance programs for people that qualify. We have a joint agreement where the county reminds the homeowners of the need to pump every 3 years and the report of compliance and non-compliance comes to us yearly. We handle the enforcement end.

For more information contact:
Tom Bakken (City staff)   |   tbakken@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-2375

View All Hastings Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/07/2012

Implementation details:
Austin cooperates with Mower County's Imminent Public Health Threat Inventory, which is a countywide program identifying systems that are directly discharging into water resources. These systems are required to be upgraded within 10 months of written notice. In addition, any time a failing systems is found or reported it is investigated and required to be updated if non-compliant.

For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer)   |   janetanderson2840@gmail.com   |   5072190680

City, County

View All Austin Actions


Date action report first entered:   06/06/2012

Implementation details:
The City coordinated with Minnesota Extension Service to provide a presentation and information for property owners on how to maintain septic systems. The city maintains records of pumping of septic tanks, and reviews SSTS at time of building and/or plumbing permit application for new construction, bed room additions, change in occupancy, and for any repair or replacement components that will latr the original function of the system. The City has a listing of all SSTS in the city and a management plan is required at the time of new SSTS installation or replacement. Systems that are not operated under a management plan need to submit inspection reports every three years. The City maintains the records and contacts owners if inspections are not done at the three year intervals. The City also provides inspections and assistance for disclosure statements and certificates of compliance prior to the slae or transfer of real property in the city. The city works with licensed maintenance businesses to ensure all written reports are provided to the homeowner and city any time SSTS maintenance work is performed.

For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff)   |   basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us   |   952-895-4524

View All Burnsville Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/11/2011

Implementation details:
City utilizes County database of 250-300 residential units that are required to have septic systems inspected every two years, and pumped when needed. Private inspectors and pumpers are contacted by residents on their own after getting noticed from County. The City contracts with Dakota County, who manages septic program.

Outcome measures/metrics:
City utilizes County database of 250-300 residential units that are required to have septic systems inspected every two years

For more information contact:
Dale Schoeppner (City staff)   |   dschoeppner@cityofeagan.com   |   651/675-5699

View All Eagan Actions

Elk River

Date action report first entered:   11/25/2010

Implementation details:
The citys quarterly newsletter, The Current, and Sherburne Countys Environmental Educator frequently features articles about septic maintenance and other septic-related issues, the purpose of which is to trigger landowner action to improve their systems. When properties are being sold the County requires septic compliance inspections. If systems are failing, they must be brought into compliance. In the city, if a permit is pulled along a shoreland area, a septic system compliance inspection is required and if the system is failing, it must be brought into compliance.

Descriptive links: http://www.co.sherburne.mn.us/zoning/sw/educator.php

For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff)   |   ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov   |   763-635-1068

View All Elk River Actions


Date action report first entered:   03/07/2012

Implementation details:
Rosemount reports to property owners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of a point of sale inspection, complaint or pump log report. The City either mails a notice or conducts a site inspection depending on the severity of the situation.

For more information contact:
Anthony Nemcek (City staff)   |   anthony.nemcek@ci.rosemount.mn.us   |   651-322-2090

View All Rosemount Actions

Apple Valley

Date action report first entered:   03/21/2012

Implementation details:
On November 23, 2010, the City adopted an ordinance amending Chapter 51, Regarding Individual Sewage Treatment Systems. The ordinance governs the process addressed in this action.

For more information contact:
Charless Grawe (City staff)   |   CGrawe@ci.apple-valley.mn.us   |   952-953-2508

View All Apple Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/29/2018
Date of last report update:   01/29/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
. As part of our outreach, the homesteads on private systems were notified of the requirements for compliance with the Minnesota Administrative Rules, Chapter 7080. In order to be in compliance with the Rules, their systems must be pumped by a licensed pumping service, repair or replace the system to meet the current rules, or hook up to a municipal sewage system.

For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff)   |   sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov   |   952-563-4606

View All Bloomington Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/28/2016
Date of last report update:   04/28/2016

Implementation details:
City speaks with landowners about existing septic systems outside of town. If septic systems fail it becomes a community process to address the failing system.

For more information contact:
Harold Langowski (City staff)   |   elyod@ely.mn.us   |   218-226-5474

View All Ely Actions

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Date action report first entered:   04/16/2015
Date of last report update:   04/16/2015

Implementation details:
Leech Lake has an Individual Sewage Treatment System program in which personnel go to homes, locate septic and check for compliance. An educational booklet/stewardship guide from the University of Minnesota Extension program was created.

For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff)   |   air@lldrm.org   |   218-335-7429

View All Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/01/2013

Implementation details:
Yes, we have only 12 left in the City, and we are working on switching them to City sewer.

For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff)   |   ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov   |   651-490-4665

View All Shoreview Actions

Fergus Falls pending

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls does not allow voluntary action by the landowners if there are problems with septic systems. If homeowners have a failing system we require the landowners upgrade or connect into the city sewer system.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

View All Fergus Falls Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Nick Haig, Onsite Sewage Treatment Program, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651-757/2536, nick.haig@state.mn.us, https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/subsurface-sewage-treatment-systems