SSTS financial assistance

Most financial assistance for septic systems is not directly available to individual property owners, but is administered through local governments.


Small community wastewater treatment program

The Public Facilities Authority's Small Community Wastewater Treatment Program provides funding to help communities replace non-complying septic systems and straight pipes with new individual or cluster subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS) that will be publicly owned, operated, and maintained. Technical assistance grants up to $60,000 may be used to conduct preliminary site evaluations and prepare feasibility reports, provide advice on possible SSTS alternatives, and help develop the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to build, operate, and maintain SSTS systems. The PFA also offers construction financing up to $2 million per year at 1% interest and grants up to 80 percent, based on affordability criteria.

Clean Water Revolving Fund

Minnesota's revolving loan program provides loans to municipalities for planning, design, and construction of wastewater treatment projects that are eligible under Minnesota Rule Chapter 7077. Increased funding for county SSTS programs has been provided in the Clean Water Legacy funding package, beginning with the budget approved by the 2006 Legislature.

Agriculture Best Management Practices loan program

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Best Management Practices loan program provides low interest loans to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses to encourage efforts to prevent or reduce runoff from feedlots, farm fields, and other pollution problems identified in local water plans.

Clean Water Partnership

The MPCA provides financial and technical assistance to local government and other water resource managers to address nonpoint-source water pollution.


Funding for county inspection work

The MPCA has funds available for counties that require Advanced Inspectors to review, inspect, and permit new SSTS systems with design flows of 2,500 gallons per day or more. The support is provided via a joint powers agreement (JPA) between the MPCA and a county to provide up to 75% of the cost of work performed by a certified Advanced Inspector. The Advanced Inspector may be a county employee or working under contract with the county. Only work completed by an Advanced Inspector after a JPA is executed with the MPCA is eligible for funding.  

A JPA will cover any projects during the effective period; each project does not require a new JPA. The county submits a pay request once a project is complete. No pre-approval or application is required other than the JPA. Available funds are based on estimates of the number of applicable projects each year. Funds are disbursed on a first come first served basis until they are exhausted.

To initiate the agreement process, contact Aaron Jensen (651-757-2544). A draft agreement will be generated in the Statewide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT) system.

Grants for SSTS administration, compliance, and upgrades

The MPCA offer grants to counties for SSTS program administration and special projects to improve SSTS compliance rates, and assistance for low-income homeowners with needed SSTS upgrades. The MPCA will determine grant allocations based on applications review; funds will flow to counties through the Board of Water and Soil Resources' Natural Resources Block Grants.

Base grants ($18,600 per county; total of $1,599,600) go to counties that:

  • Administer an SSTS program
  • Have an ordinance that meets state standards (includes all required provisions and is updated to include 2011 provisions for systems over 2,500 gpd)
  • Files an annual report

Low-income fix-up grants (up to $40,000 per county; total of $1,500,000) go to counties for upgrading eligible, noncompliant SSTS:

  • Deemed an imminent threat to public health or safety or failing to protect groundwater, and issued a notice of noncompliance
  • At homesteaded single-family homes or duplexes
  • Where homeowner is low income and use of sliding scale for grant funds is recommended, based on income
  • When funds are used for eligible SSTS upgrades or returned to the state in timeframe indicated

Grants may be awarded without a list of specific properties and may be held by the county for the duration of the grant period. Progress on work relating to the grant will be reported through BWSR’s eLINK system.