Amendments to subsurface sewage treatment systems inspection and permit requirements

Rule approved, publication delayed

The Office of Administrative Hearings has approved this rulemaking. However, the rule will not become effective until five working days after a Notice of Adoption is published in the State Register, in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 14.27.

The MPCA originally planned to finalize this rule earlier in 2020, but after COVID-19–related delays pushed the work back, we are now in the busy season for SSTS inspections, when making these changes effective by publishing a Notice of Adoption could make compliance for the SSTS industry unnecessarily confusing. Therefore, the MPCA will wait until December 2020 to publish the Notice of Adoption. We will send a bulletin to the GovDelivery list when the Notice of Adoption is published to make sure all interested parties are aware when the rule does take effect

HTML icon Rule status: Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems, Inspections and Permits (Revisor ID: R-04478)

This rulemaking project will amend subsurface sewage treatment system (SSTS)-related rules regarding situations where:

A state disposal system (SDS) permit is required rather than a local permit. Under existing rules, a facility can measure its actual wastewater flows or use “table values” — values stated in rule for various types and sizes of facilities — to design a new SSTS. But in situations where measurements show a flow less than the 10,000-gallon-per-day (gpd) permit threshold, but table values indicate a flow greater than 10,000 gpd, an SDS permit is required rather than a local permit. The MPCA is considering rule revisions to allow an existing facility to use measured values to determine permit requirements. The revisions would also include a few other modifications that capture actual wastewater flows into the environment more accurately.

Tank pumping is required for completing a compliance inspection on an existing SSTS. The MPCA is also considering rule changes to require that a septic tank be pumped empty before an official inspection to determine its integrity. The revisions under consideration will require the tank to be inspected through a maintenance hole while empty, with the following exceptions:

  1. If an inspector already knows a particular septic tank will not pass inspection for any reason, pumping the tank won't be required. However, a tank can only pass inspection if it was inspected while empty.
  2. A tank integrity inspection report shows the tank has passed inspection (with the tank empty) within the past three years.

Rulemaking documents

PDF icon Dual Notice of Intent (wq-rule4-20b)

PDF icon Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) for Proposed Rules (wq-rule4-20c)

PDF icon Revisors draft rule (wq-rule4-20d)

PDF icon SSTS inspections and permit requirements: Request for comments (wq-rule4-20a)

PDF icon Comments received in response to Request for Comments (wq-rule4-20e)

PDF icon Comments received in response to dual notice (wq-rule4-20f)

PDF icon Responses to dual notice comments (wq-rule4-20g)

PDF icon Administrative Law Judge’s order on review of rules (wq-rule4-20h)

Schedule/public participation opportunities

Register at GovDelivery to be notified when a rule draft is published or regarding other rulemaking activities.

Rulemaking stage Time period
Request for comments Published in State Register (42 SR 672 - Dec. 11, 2017); Comment period closed Feb. 20, 2018
Dual notice: Notice of intent to adopt rules without a public hearing unless 25 or more people request one, and notice of hearing if 25 or more requests for hearing are received Published in State Register (44 SR 559 - Nov. 12, 2019); comment period closed Dec. 23, 2019
Hearing (if applicable)/Administrative law judge review We received fewer than the minimum of 25 requests required to hold a hearing, so the hearing was canceled. The judge has reviewed and approved this rule.
Rule adoption December 2020
U.S. EPA review and approval TBA

TBA: To be announced


  • For questions about rulemaking status or submitting comments: Katie Izzo, 651-757-2595
  • For technical/policy questions: Brandon Montgomery, 651-757-2230