SSTS Bulletin newsletter

Subscribe to the SSTS Bulletin, a quarterly e-newsletter for local governments, septic system professionals, homeowners and others interested in how Minnesota manages septic waste generated by homes and businesses not served by municipal waste water treatment plants. Direct questions or comments to Dan Olson.

  • Rulemaking starts soon on SSTS inspection/permit requirements
  • 2016 Minnesota SSTS Annual Report available online
  • Submitting 2017 SSTS Report information will be a "Snap"
  • SSTS Talking Tour coming to town in January
  • Magnets draw homeowner's attention to septic maintenance
  • SSTS Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Panel looking to fill spots
  •  
Published: December 07, 2017
  • The SSTS experience at the Minnesota State Fair
  • Certification and Training Unit wants you! (to volunteer)
  • Contact MPCA before measuring campground flows
  • U of M looking to partner with local orgs to host homeowner classes
  • SepticSmart Week is Sept. 18-22; winter is coming, shield your (drain) field
  • What installers and manufacturers need to know about tanks
  • LGUs urged to check license status of installers
  • Assess tank condition EACH time pumping, other maintenance performed
  • Second quarter SSTS enforcement cases totalled $15,535
Published: September 11, 2017
  • SSTS online search tool up, running again
  • 15-day compliance inspection report submission period clarified
  • MPCA planning "Minipumper" course for SSTS maintainers. Help us design it
  • Moving? Changing jobs? Let the MPCA know
  • SSTS at the State Fair
Published: June 19, 2017

Older issues can be found in the archive. Click on the tab above.

  • Rulemaking starts soon on SSTS inspection/permit requirements
  • 2016 Minnesota SSTS Annual Report available online
  • Submitting 2017 SSTS Report information will be a "Snap"
  • SSTS Talking Tour coming to town in January
  • Magnets draw homeowner's attention to septic maintenance
  • SSTS Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Panel looking to fill spots
  •  
Published: December 07, 2017
  • The SSTS experience at the Minnesota State Fair
  • Certification and Training Unit wants you! (to volunteer)
  • Contact MPCA before measuring campground flows
  • U of M looking to partner with local orgs to host homeowner classes
  • SepticSmart Week is Sept. 18-22; winter is coming, shield your (drain) field
  • What installers and manufacturers need to know about tanks
  • LGUs urged to check license status of installers
  • Assess tank condition EACH time pumping, other maintenance performed
  • Second quarter SSTS enforcement cases totalled $15,535
Published: September 11, 2017
  • SSTS online search tool up, running again
  • 15-day compliance inspection report submission period clarified
  • MPCA planning "Minipumper" course for SSTS maintainers. Help us design it
  • Moving? Changing jobs? Let the MPCA know
  • SSTS at the State Fair
Published: June 19, 2017
  • New online tool should make annual SSTS reporting a SNAP
  • MPCA inspector on why septic systems matter: "All water is connected and they're a huge part of your property value"
  • SSTS online search tool update
  • MPCA completed 3 SSTS enforcement cases during first quarter
  • Rule change: facilities can choose table or measured values to determine need for SDS permit
  • 3 common myths about SSTS continuing education credits
  • Here's a tip, watch the drip
  • MPCA's ombudsman can be a big help to small businesses on enviro issues
  • "Septic detectives" looking for nitrogen-from-septic tank "fingerprint"
Published: May 25, 2017
  • MPCA striving to hold all SST professionals accountable for work quality
  • Climate change, infrastructure focus seen as opportunities for SSTS professionals
  • MPCA retirees receive MOWA lifetime achievement award
  • Car wash facilities and SSTS: keep it simple
  • Complete and return your tank fee submission form for tanks installed in 2016
  • As only state with no statewide SSTS program, Michigan waters seen at risk
  • MPCA's Kalk gives kids the talk about how septic systems work
Published: March 09, 2017
  • SSTS talking tour is coming to town
  • Reminder: "building sewer" requirements in effect
  • Tank fee submission forms have been sent, return by Jan. 31 (even if you didn't install any tanks in 2016)
  • MPCA website unavailable Dec. 9-11
Published: December 06, 2016
  • 2015 SSTS Annual Report available online
  • 2016 tank fee submission reminder
  • Get involved: SSTS Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Panel looking to fill spots
  • The Certification and Training Unit wants you! (to volunteer)
  • Nicholas Kramer named to Detroit Lakes SSTS position
  • Grants again made to help counties raise SSTS compliance rates, assist low-income homeowners
  • MPCA looks for feedback on treatment products up for renewal
Published: October 24, 2016
  • 2015 Minnesota SSTS Annual Report available this fall
  • Child's death highlights importance of inspecting/securing septic tank lids
  • MPCA gets to bottom of Beaver Lake "septic" spill
  • Fixing septic systems in rocky MN county no longer a pipe dream
  • Governor Dayton declares Sept. 19-23 SepticSmart Week in Minnesota
  • 2016 tank fee submission reminder
  • Mid-century furniture, still cool; mid-century septic systems, not so much
Published: September 20, 2016
  • MPCA, MOWA working to extend flexibility in determining need for SDS permit to all Other Establishments (not just campgrounds/resorts); tank inspection rule change also near
  • Cody Robinson joins MPCA SSTS policy/planning unit; Theresa Haugen promoted to SSTS supervisor
  • Stacey Feser joins U of M soils training team under contract
  • SSTS grant application process underway
  • For septic maintainers swimming in paperwork, there’s an app (a database, actually) for that
  • Is that redox or mottles? Here's how to tell (and describe it to others)
  • About $400,000 will be available this fall to upgrade older diesel engines
Published: May 16, 2016
  • MOWA convention keynote speaker says SSTS can help recharge nation's declining groundwater aquifers
  • Tank reporting clarification: count ALL installed tanks
  • Don't land apply business holding tank, trap, oil-water separator waste
  • Using hydrated lime? Always use chart to correct for temp when reading pH prior to land application
  • When changing SSTS designs, proceed with caution
  • Department of Labor/Industry plumbing code changes take effect
  • Video on encountering dogs: These sound bites just might save you from the real thing
Published: February 11, 2016

This SSTS Bulletin special edition is being sent to share time-sensitive information regarding SSTS licensing and certification.

  • SSTS installer license bond deadline looming
  • You've all been very nice this year; “Conditional Certification” to arrive just in time for the holidays!
Published: December 16, 2015
  • 2014 SSTS Annual Report shows number of septic systems protecting human health, environment at 80 percent
  • County weighs keeping point-of-sale SSTS compliance inspections
  • Installers – update your surety bond, share pipe layer credentials with MPCA
  • Installers: You have mail! Make sure we have your current email address
  • Sewage tank list updated
  • Third quarter SSTS enforcement cases number three; penalties total $3,350
  • To renew, or not to renew...
  • SSTS Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Panel looking to fill open spots
  • Circle of blue article spotlights spreading septic threat across U.S.
Published: November 16, 2015
  • MPCA staffer bites bullet, pulls "trigger" on new septic system
  • Notify MPCA early when pursuing straight-pipe enforcement actions
  • Remember these changes when submitting 2015 tank installation fees
  • Comment period begins soon for Chapter 7081 rule change on calculating campground septic flow rates
  • Installers, check your mail for surety bond requirement information
Published: October 19, 2015
  • Latest info on building sewer regulations now on the web; changes on public notice through September
  • Grants again available to help counties raise SSTS compliance rates, assist low-income homeowners
  • Replacement septic systems installed over past 13 years treating 5.33 billion gallons of wastewater
  • MPCA updates guidelines on managing septage, including land application
  • High strength waste guidelines up for review; volunteers wanted
  • It's SepticSmart Week, do you know where your septic tank is?
Published: September 10, 2015
  • More counties, cities, townships adopting point-of-sale SSTS inspection programs to help identify/fix problems
  • SSTS grant application process underway
  • MPCA completes three SSTS enforcement cases totaling $6,165
  • Snorek named to Detroit Lakes SSTS position
  • Just the ticket! Form/process created for referring SSTS enforcement cases to MPCA
  • Building sewers connected to SSTS: What septic professionals need to know
Published: August 06, 2015
  • Otter Tail County again tops in SSTS compliance inspections in 2014
  • SSTS program grants: Some available now, application form for others available soon
  • Changes made to septic program during 2015 legislative session
  • Homeowner wants to expand septic system? MPCA has guidance for determining capacity of existing gravel-less pipe
  • EZflow registered for use in beds, at-grades, mounds
  • Attention maintainers and service providers! MPCA would like your help
  • Infiltrator Systems now Infiltrator Water Technologies
  • Are "good ideas" not in ordinance enforceable? No, but do carry weight
  • Healthy reminder: stay out of tanks, other confined spaces
Published: July 07, 2015
  • New method in place for reporting tank installations
  • Total number of estimated SSTS down slightly; reporting issues still linger
  • Ecoflo Biofilter absent from updated registered products list
  • Staff updates: Harrison going from Detroit Lakes to Duluth; Montgomery joins St. Paul staff
  • Four SSTS enforcement cases logged in most recent quarterly summary
  • Exam piloting group continues to take off; arriving at better questions, answers
  • "Flush the Kids" exhibit in Alexandria teaches students what should/shouldn't go down the drain
  • Homeowner septic system inspections help prevent accidents, freezeups
  • Mega meeting of septic industry acronyms planned in Virginia in November
Published: May 06, 2015
  • Preliminary 2014 SSTS annual report data show inspections/fixes up from 2013
  • New ticketing authority aimed at more efficient enforcement of minor SSTS rule infractions
  • Grants remain available to help counties review large-flow SSTS designs
  • Some septic tanks added, others dropped from latest MPCA approved list
  • Traverse County homeowners go ape for SSTS workshop
  • Winter without snow brought freezing problems for septic systems in many places, especially central Minnesota
Published: April 07, 2015
  • SSTS Talking Tour draws 93 to 13 meetings across the state
  • Want to use a tank not on the MPCA list? Get the facts (sheet)
  • Helped by good record-keeping, Todd County SSTS inventory project finding, fixing bad septics in lake country
  • A shout out to MOWA, contractor for Whispers of Hope work
  • Biscay replaces faulty septics with new community MSTS (Midsized Soil Treatment System)
Published: February 25, 2015
  • MOWA conference keynote: How to keep septic systems off drugs
  • MPR editor says septic pros can help Minnesota residents better appreciate, conserve what lies beneath us
  • How to comply with 15-day rule for reporting inspections
  • Last quarter 2014 SSTS enforcement cases totaled $8,350
  • MPCA commissioner recognizing those with a hand in septic program's successes
  • Retired MPCA staffer Sabel among three honored for lifetime achievement in Minnesota's septic program
  • Pat Shelito is retiring this month
Published: February 05, 2015
  • Requests for 2014 annual report information coming soon
  • SSTS Talking Tour coming to town once more
  • Third quarter 2014 SSTS enforcement: 8 cases, $42,369 in penalties
  • Work continues on ticketing authority for SSTS violations
  • Make a list, check it twice: Find out what's naughty, nice for septic systems
Published: December 10, 2014
  • Little over half of responding LGUs report point-of-sale SSTS compliance inspection programs. Hawaii weighs the question
  • New SSTS staff - Kristi Kalk in Marshall office
  • Whether or not to design (or inspect) depends on the weather
  • Proprietary products: Should we renew? Up to you
  • Sewage tank fee reminder letters going out mid-November
  • New requirement: Master plumbers need CE to renew licenses
  • Check septic tank lids to prevent giving tots and parents a real scare
Published: October 31, 2014
  • Type I systems majority of 9,120 SSTS installed in 2013: Site conditions drive system selection decisions
  • SSTS Advisory Committee looking to fill 10 spots
  • Many SSTS professional certifications expiring this year; sign up now for the courses you need
  • New SSTS supervisor's first experience with MPCA hit close to home
  • Governor proclaims SepticSmart Week: Fall good time to promote septic tips
  • Man dies making SSTS repairs; system design may have been factor
  • Meet the Waterloo, registered for typical residential-strength sewage
  • MPCA wants feedback on how products are performing before renewing registrations
  • Concrete tank corrosion reports trickling in: Have you seen this?
  • Sewage tank fee reminder letters going out in mid-November
Published: October 06, 2014
  • 2013 SSTS Annual Report: Inspections paving a path to finding, fixing septic systems
  • MPCA gains ticketing authority for SSTS violations
  • Newly registered treatment product is a Hoot
  • Sanctions kick in for late tank fees
  • MPCA checking in with cities, townships on SSTS ordinance update efforts
  • Happy SepticSmart Week: Sept. 22-26
Published: September 04, 2014
  • Factoid: One quarter of septic systems in Minnesota new/updated since 2002
  • Grants help counties raise SSTS compliance rates, assist low-income homeowners
  • Here's the dirt on soils training required for certification; Check the SSTS search tool to see if you need it
  • Recent SSTS enforcement actions include stipulation agreement and $23,635 penalty
  • New product registered for treating high-strength wastewater
  • Keep a tight lid on it. New Jersey family warns of unsecured septic tank tops
Published: August 06, 2014
  • Random stop started Ron Swenson's 36-year career at MPCA
  • Compliance inspection form now available in Excel format
  • Local officials taking over flushing kids through (simulated) septic system
  • Update licensing information using forms available on MPCA website
  • Can't flush this! Fun video hammers home for homeowners what shouldn't go down the drain
Published: July 07, 2014
  • Sabel says: To keep Minnesota clean, work from the groundwater up (and keep looking for ponies)
  • SSTS grant application process underway
  • The MPCA wants you! (to help vet SSTS exam questions)
  • New fact sheet out on disposing of non-sewage liquid waste from single-family homes
  • Who can disinfect a water well? Well, relatively few
  • Updated: online list of approved tanks, sand filter guidance
Published: June 06, 2014
  • Spring tis season for granting SSTS wishes
  • SSTS annual report response rate continues to grow
  • Still time (but not a whole lot) to submit tank fees for 2013
  • University offering additional help acquiring advanced training/certification
  • SSTS enforcement first quarter 2014: six cases, $10,770 in penalties
  • Don't get burned -- observe burning bans, check septic system/well after a fire
  • Newly registered treatment product treats up to 600 gallons per day
Published: May 08, 2014
  • Cook County SSTS inspections said key to protecting "Gateway" to Boundary Waters Canoe Area
  • Boy's fall into septic tank underscores need to keep lids secure; secondary restraint a good idea
  • Speaking of tanks, Annual Report shows number of new holding tanks each year "holding" at about 400
  • U of M offering help for acquiring advanced SSTS training
  • Safe Drinking Water Act turns 40; let's drink to that
  • Ian Harrison named named MPCA SSTS staffer for Detroit Lakes office
Published: April 02, 2014
  • New statistics in 2013 MPCA SSTS Annual Report, including 12,000 compliance inspections of existing systems
  • 150 attend SSTS Talking Tour despite blizzards, reschedules
  • Geothermal systems good for homes, not so hot for septic systems
  • EZflow media no longer blue, now happily light grey
  • Spring ahead on tank fees
  • Fix a Leak Week (March 17-23) good time to check your home for problems
  • Minor SSTS rule changes now in effect
Published: March 10, 2014
  • Extra help offered for pursuing advanced SSTS training
  • Who can do what SSTS work depends on certification/training
  • SSTS dos/donts especially important in group home settings
  • MOWA keynote: water wars loom, stay aware and protect local resources
  • Big grins on the big lake they call Gitchigoomie
  • From the MPCA SSTS Talking Tour crew - thank you
Published: February 03, 2014
  • MOWA conference "Building Bridges" in Duluth Jan. 27-29
  • Tank/license fees keep Minnesota SSTS program top notch
  • SSTS Talking Tour resumes, coming to a town near you
  • SSTS - who to call
Published: January 03, 2014
  • SSTS Talking Tour coming to town
  • Encourage cities to add septage storage when upgrading
  • Requests sent for SSTS Annual Report information
  • MPCA completes 11 SSTS enforcement cases in third quarter 2013
  • County SSTS ordinances prevail where city, townships fail to update in time
  • Keep Jack Frost out of septic systems as cold temperatures arrive
Published: December 06, 2013
  • MPCA helping counties update ordinances to reflect local needs. Up north, Cook County wrestling with low-flow situations
  • It's fall. Time for leaves, hunting, tank fee reconciliation
  • SSTS Bulletin back issues now on MPCA web, along with guidance updates
  • Looking for a colorful character to be this Halloween? Go with "the sucker" from Red Green
Published: October 31, 2013
  • Septic systems in compliance up 14 percent since 2008; threats to groundwater down 9 percent
  • Got the write stuff? Help draft a new inspection form for advanced systems
  • EPA: Paying attention can prevent paying for SSTS repairs
  • Straight River straight pipe is no more, thanks to Minnesota Wastewater Initiative project
Published: October 03, 2013
  • Replacement systems treating 4.6 billion gallons a year
  • Adding inspection/compliance “triggers” can bump county SSTS grants
  • Funding available for low-income homeowners; inspection work on larger systems
  • New reporting requirements include number of upgraded systems
  • Product registration update: next round of product renewals due Dec. 31, 2014
  • Chart shows who can do what across spectrum of SSTS work
Published: October 01, 2013
  • 2012 SSTS Annual Report now on MPCA website
  • Pumper does the monster mash, takes septage to town
  • New MPCA staffer Aaron Jensen has numerous interests, talents
  • Now showing! New online training videos for local SSTS administrators
  • Tips for avoid conflicts of interest
Published: August 02, 2013
  • Tanks to all of you, registration process proving successful
  • Seven enforcement cases resolved with APOs
  • New SSTS training videos nearly complete
Published: June 06, 2013
  • AgBMP loan program available to finance SSTS projects identified in county inventories
  • Expert: septic viruses can/do reach wells via groundwater
  • Grants available to counties for advanced inspections
  • New labeling requirements in effect for swage tanks
  • Minor corrections made to SSTS rules
Published: May 03, 2013
  • Percent of mound installs increasing; still less than half
  • If/when spring arrives, only registered tanks will do
  • TV news story explains why this winter/spring sucks for SSTS
  • “Offer tendered” on septic course for real estate professionals
  • SSTS upgrade recipients sharing success stories, tools
Published: April 04, 2013
  • Second statewide talking tour a success; see you next year
  • SSTS annual report submissions show steady progress toward upgrading systems across the state
  • Ziegler sees commonalities in MPCA watershed, SSTS programs
  • To be (a bedroom) or not to be; that is the question
  • More anecdotal evidence on causes, solutions to freezing septics
  • Enforcement corner
  • Service Provider certification required for Intermediate certification
Published: March 06, 2013
  • All right, tell us where to go… with the SSTS program
  • MOWA conference covers impact of water softeners on septics, West Coast approach to SSTS, Roe-D-Hoe ho ho
  • This season, only registered tanks legal in Minnesota; check out the list
Published: February 05, 2013
  • MOWA conference in Alexandria offers great networking, learning opportunity
  • Back to school time – registration begins for U of M workshops; new classes cover intermediate design/inspection
  • Annual report season has arrived; SSTS picture getting clearer every year
Published: January 04, 2013

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SSTS Report

SSTS Report began as a quarterly report to local governments and septic system professionals to provide news and information specific to the industry. They contain questions and answers, rule interpretations, major discussion topics, identification of conferences and seminars and other septic system information.