Crane Lake, Minnesota Water & Sanitary District  
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Crane Lake Water & Sanitary DistrictThe Town of Crane Lake is a small community located along the shores of Crane Lake, in rural northern St. Louis County in the State of Minnesota. Crane Lake serves as a gateway to several prominent Federal and Provincial (Canada) wilderness areas. It is estimated that there are approximately 125 year-around residents, 200-300 seasonal residents and thousands of visitors who utilize the Crane Lake area as a “Gateway

Crane Lake is part of a high-quality, intricate lake system and is a tributary to outstanding resource waters shared by the United States and Canada. Six rare and ecologically sensitive resources are known to be located in the Crane Lake vicinity.

Early settlement of the area proved very challenging. Crane Lake, distant from larger communities and settlements, was considered the edge of the wilderness. The Crane Lake economy has for a century been driven by natural resources through fishing; tourism; and federal, state and local timber harvesting and management as well as international border management. Many generations of residents have
settled, raised families and earned a living from the natural resource base of the area.

Currently all residences and businesses on and around Crane Lake are served by Individual Sewage Treatment Systems (ISTS). The systems vary in age and include seepage pits, septic systems (at-grade or mound systems), holding tanks, composting toilets, incinerating toilets, privies and gray water filters. The St. Louis County Health Department has determined that the majority of the ISTS in the Crane Lake area are not functioning properly. Some systems within the area do not meet Minn. Rule .7080, which regulates on-site systems. Causes for not meeting the requirements include improperly designed drain fields, inadequate design capacity, insufficient vertical separation between the drain
field and high-ground water levels, and improperly constructed septic tanks. Poor receiving soils and inadequate drain fields have resulted in the inadequate treatment of wastewater. Inadequate wastewater treatment has resulted in public health concerns, limited community development and the creation of conditions that may potentially be harmful to the community, environment, groundwater and Crane Lake. In 1994, St. Louis County formed the Crane Lake Water and Sanitary District (District) and elected a local Board of Managers to address water and wastewater issues in the Crane Lake area. The District is organized under the laws of the State of Minnesota and has authority much like any Minnesota small city, empowered to make and implement matters of public policy and levy taxes to support its operation. Five managers comprise the “Board of Managers” (Board). The Board is appointed by the St. Louis County Board and has specific terms. Residency within the District is required to become appointed to the Board.

The District is divided into two sub-areas, the Western Service Area and the Eastern Service Area.

Western Service Area (WSA)
Mainly comprising the area from the Vermillion River outlet on Crane Lake along the western shoreline commonly called the “Gold Coast” following County Road 23 south to Handberg Road, along Handberg Road east to Bayside Drive and along Second Street and Hilltop Road.The Board is proposing to construct and operate a municipal wastewater treatment collection and treatment facility for the benefit of the WSA and to upgrade Individual Septic Treatment Systems (ISTS) in the ESA.

The WSA system will consist of a septic tank grinder station pumping under pressure to the recirculating sand filter for treatment and a discharge back into the waters of Crane Lake. Prior to discharge, the effluent will pass through an ultraviolet light disinfection unit and have chemical phosphorous removal before discharge.

Eastern Service Area (ESA)
Bear Island, Handberg Road east of Bayside Drive, Rocky Road, East Bay and the balance of Crane Lake.The ESA dwellings will use ISTS through a combination of biological, physical and chemical processes. Cluster systems would unite dwellings where feasible.ISTS would generally consist of a mound, trench or at-grade distribution system. Preferred type of soil treatment depends on local soil conditions and ground water conditions. Site-by-site conditions will be evaluated as well as the evaluation of systems recently constructed to determine compliance with current regulations. No central collection system is planned for the ESA.
Crane Lake Water & Sanitary District
P.O. Box 306 · Crane Lake, Minnesota 55725
© 2001 CLWSD