Mower County gets septic system grants

Mower County announced it has been awarded additional grant funds from the State of Minnesota through the Board of Water and Soil Resources to continue the county’s inventory of septic systems.

The purpose of this grant is to identify those septic systems that pose an imminent health threat to the public. A similar inventory concluded last year which reviewed systems along the Cedar River. The current target area includes areas outside of the original project located within Udolpho, Lansing, Austin and Lyle Townships.

Minnesota Rules Chapter 7080 defines a septic system as an imminent health threat if it causes “ground surface or surface water discharges, or sewage back up into a dwelling or other establishment.” Septic discharge is a public health threat.

The first step undertaken as part of the grant work was for staff to review septic system records within the Environmental Services Office. All residentially developed properties with septic systems that were installed before 1996 or systems that have not had a compliance inspection since 1996 will have a field visit conducted to evaluate whether or not the system poses an imminent health threat to the public.

Due to the vast number of residential properties to be visited, estimated at 700, the project area will be divided into sections for performing site visits. Beginning in May of 2011 those septic systems that do not meet the exception criteria will receive a letter informing them when field staff will be in the area to conduct on onsite evaluations. Follow-up will be required only if the system has been determined to be an imminent public health threat or can not be located upon the property. County staff will work with the homeowner on the process required to bring their system into compliance and will be provided information about loan programs that are available to the property owner for upgrading their septic system.

Further information on this grant project or on septic systems can be found at www.co.mower.mn.us/planning or by contacting Mower County Environmental Services staff.

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