Crane Lake, Minnesota Water & Sanitary District  
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To:                  CLWSD Board

From:              ESA Advisory Committee (Jim Bonner, Steve Hutt, Bob Kaiser, Harvey Parvi, Bill Paulsen, Jeff Sanborn)

Date:               October 4, 2006

Subject:           Activity Report and Recommendations


Mission Statement

The committee adopted the following mission statement:

Recognizing the need to preserve and care for our water resources, the ESA Advisory Committee will review available information, public input, agency input, and the unique characteristics of the ESA to make recommendations for sewage treatment and management within the ESA.


Activity Report

Following is a summary of activities completed to date by the ESA Advisory Committee.


  • Seven meetings have been held since the committee was appointed on June 7.  Most committee activities were completed with the assistance of Laurie Brown of the U of M Extension.
  • Representatives of the committee attended annual meetings of the Bear Island and East Bay Cabin Owners Associations, to provide information regarding the committee’s role and to obtain input from the community.
  • A survey was distributed to all residents/cabin owners within the ESA.  Approximately 80% of the surveys were returned with information regarding water supply and age and type of current sewage treatment systems.  The survey was intended for committee use only and is not to be used for enforcement purposes.
  • On July 20, twelve sites were visited within the ESA to observe a variety of site conditions and sewage treatment systems.  Dave Gustafson of the University of Minnesota was present during the site visits.  Mr. Gustafson is recognized as an expert in the field of on-site sewage treatment, especially on challenging sites such as those found within the ESA.
  • Also on July 20, met with Rich Hyrkas and Paul Herr of St. Louis County regarding administration of ISTS within the ESA.  The County currently administers (permits, inspects, enforces, renews operating permits, etc.) ISTS within the CLWSD.  According to Mr. Hyrkas, this is unusual since sewer districts typically have an ISTS ordinance and administer their own systems.  The county would prefer to have the CLWSD administer ISTS within the district.
  • On August 22, met with Nancy Larson and Tim Engrav of the USFS regarding the 27 USFS lease lots within the ESA; jurisdictions of the ESA, County, and USFS; and options for sewage treatment within the ESA.  The USFS would prefer on-site systems (individual or clustered) for the ESA.  USFS leases within East Bay expire in 2009, and will not be renewed without compliant sewage treatment systems.
  • Prepared the following recommendations.


Final Summary Recommendations


During the summer of 2006, as authorized by the CLWSD board, the Crane Lake Eastern Service Area Advisory Committee has reviewed and summarized the following recommendations on E.S.A. management to the CLWSD Board.


1)         On-site treatment should be the primary wastewater treatment plan for properties within the E.S.A. as defined by MN Chapter 7080*.  Systems should consist of a combination of ISTS and cluster systems.  All systems should be designed in accordance with St. Louis County Ordinance No. 55.

*          ISTS systems include but are not be limited to:


Incinerator toilet

Composting toilet

Media filters (peat, sand, etc)

Septic tanks and drain fields, mound systems, aerobic treatment units

and other types meeting approved standards

Cluster systems and/or holding tanks as site and soils allow.


2)         All existing ISTS will be in compliance as defined by St. Louis County Ordinance 55 by 2010.  Systems will meet St. Louis County Ordinance 55 or Management Ordinance adopted by CLWSD Board that is more restrictive than Ordinance 55 and MN Chapter 7080.


3)         Upon compliance with #2, each property owner will submit a maintenance plan  (samples by system type should be developed in future committee work ) to the CLWSD Board for acceptance.


4)         The CLWSD Board will monitor all E.S.A. maintenance plans for compliance.  (See #6 & #10 below)


5)         Individual property owners will be responsible to perform the activities outlined in each individual maintenance plan (This could be handled similar to the St. Louis County Operating permit.)


6)         Fees will be established for CLWSD maintenance plan record keeping and, if necessary, for the performance of the maintenance. A variable fee schedule based on the level of management/maintenance performed should be developed.


7).        The CLWSD should establish a written agreement with the Forest Service that defines roles and responsibilities with each entity and incorporates the mutually agreed upon management plan for Federal Leases into the CLWSD.


8)         Upon approval of these recommendations by the CLWSD Board, additional committee work will be required in areas such as fee structure, non-compliance, required record keeping, maintenance plans, structure, etc.


9)         If property restrictions warrant holding tanks with barge service to the Western district, (as outlined in the preliminary engineering report) this option should be considered upon the board’s action on items listed in #10 below.


10)       The CLWSD should consider contract bids for the following services:


(a)        Certification services  — individuals to inspect Pre 1996 existing systems and certify them for ongoing use. A maintenance plan for Post 1996 existing systems should be implemented immediately.

(b)        Contracting with a “certified (as outlined in preliminary engineering report)” barge-provider for individuals electing the holding tank option.

(c)        Consider the additional improvements to the plant necessary to receive  sludge from Septic tank pumping.


11)       All fee structures should be adopted as soon as possible to facilitate a comparison for decision making for the Eastern District Residents.


12)       We encourage the board to develop a program to educate and communicate with ESA residents regarding these recommendations.



Crane Lake Water & Sanitary District
P.O. Box 306 · Crane Lake, Minnesota 55725
© 2001 CLWSD