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January 13, 2014 – 6:30 P. M.



The meeting was called to order by Chairman Rob Scott at 6:30PM


Chairman Rob Scott welcomed the meeting attendees and stated that the focus of the meeting would be the concept of Sewer Management as an option for the District.  Rollie Mann of the Otter Tail Management District, and Sara Heger of the University of Minnesota Water Resource Center were introduced as presenters.


Rollie Mann explained the management system used in Ottertail County, which began in 1981.  They began by inspecting and upgrading the existing 1250 systems with 850 of those systems being replaced.  The District assumed responsibility of the ISTS and cluster systems; there is no waste water treatment plant.  All properties are on lakes, all with road access. There are currently 1,680 systems. Two management practices are used – Active and Passive.


Active management involves inspection of permanent systems every 2 years, seasonal systems every 3 years.  The District is responsible for maintenance and repairs to the ISTS systems.  Tank pumping is contracted out.  From 2012 on, new installations are required to be on Active management.  Approximately 40 systems have been replaced since 1986.  There is an annual fee for holding tanks plus actual pumping.  There is an annual fee for residents with pump/drain fields.


Passive management involves inspection of permanent systems every 2 years and seasonal systems every 3 years.  The homeowner maintains ownership and maintenance of the system.  If the system is less than 5 years old, the property can convert to Active management once the tank is pumped, system is inspected and is found to be in good working order, and is in compliance with District ordinances.  Anything older must be upgraded to existing codes.  Once converted to Active management, there is a sliding fee for maintenance and repairs for the next 10 years.  It is a decreasing scale of cost each year.   The administrative fee, that all properties in the District pay, goes towards general overhead expenses.


To implement the system Ottertail made an accurate account of properties within the District, set the District up into segments; assigned a sequential lot number to each dwelling along with the 911 address; and determined permanent, seasonal, and bedroom numbers.  They made an inspection time schedule, determined what and how each component was to be inspected, had good documentation, employed a licensed ISTS professional.


Sara Heger explained that it is a community process to find a viable solution that provides effective protection of public and environmental health.  Reasonable costs and social acceptability need to be considered.  Sara explained the following key steps.


Step 1 – All wastewater must be treated. There are three approaches to wastewater treatment:  Centralized, decentralized and a combination.


Step 2 – There needs to be a full understanding of the existing situation.  Are there systems that are an imminent threat to public health and safety?  Are any systems failing to protect groundwater?


Step 3 – A full evaluation of available options should be made.  This can be done with a preliminary and field evaluation resulting in a Community Assessment Report (CAR).  To arrive at the report funding, assessment evaluation, and field evaluation processes were explained. The benefits of completing a CAR are:  The community gets a complete picture of its current wastewater treatment or disposal; there is a clear definition of problems; soil-based wastewater treatment options are assessed; preferred treatment options and cost estimates are provided; and the information can become part of a Preliminary Engineering Report.


Step 4 – The community’s decision is based on full understanding.


Sara concluded by saying that the UMN can be of assistance with education, facilitation and technical assistance.  There would be expenses.




The meeting was adjourned at 8:15PM.



Jo Ann Pohlman, Clerk

Crane Lake Water & Sanitary District
P.O. Box 306 · Crane Lake, Minnesota 55725
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