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.
- Wastewater financial assistance page – Learn about Minnesota's Clean Water Revolving Fund
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, these grants which pay up to 75% of the cost to review an SSTS with design flows of 2,500 gallons per day or more, are still available. Funds for this grant were made possible by the Clean Water Legacy Act to protect groundwater and surface water from impacts resulting from the improper design and/or construction of subsurface sewage treatment systems.
Grants are executed between the MPCA and an interested county. The Advanced Inspector may be a Qualified Employee Advanced Inspector of the county where the work is occurring, a Qualified Employee Advanced Inspector of another local unit of government working through an agreement between the local governments, or a private Advanced Inspector under contract with the county. Qualified Employees are individuals who are certified in a specific specialty area by the MPCA and then employed by a local unit of government.
When a county has a project that requires an Advanced Inspector and wants to start the grant process, it should first contact the MPCA. The name of the project, the county SWIFT ID, the county SWIFT signer, and the projected amount of grant funds needed will be required to start the process.
A grant agreement will then be developed at the MPCA and once both the county and the Agency sign the agreement, the county can begin work reviewing, permitting, and inspecting the septic system. Only work completed by an Advanced Inspector after a grant agreement has been executed with the MPCA is eligible for funding.
Each project will require a new grant agreement. Upon completion of each individual project, the county submits an invoice and the final certificate of compliance to receive payment. A template invoice will be provided to counties.
These funds are available to counties to support their work in regulating systems that require that an Advanced Inspector to perform the review, inspection, and permitting of new SSTS systems with a design flow of 2,500 gallons per day or more.
Please contact MPCA project manager Brandon Montgomery (651-757-2230) with questions or to initiate a project.
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 $1.5 million) 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.
A malfunctioning septic system can be one of the more expensive home repairs — and a major threat to water quality — but Clean Water Fund dollars are helping.