SSTS financial assistance

There are various programs available for financial assistance that can sometimes be overwhelming. Most financial assistance programs are not directly available to individual property owners; they are typically administered through the local governmental unit. It is recommended you contact your local government and the MPCA service desk to locate financial assistance personnel.

Loan programs

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. The MPCA is responsible for reviewing and monitoring projects and the Public Facilities Authority (PFA) is responsible for the terms and conditions of the loans. The MPCA lists potential projects on a Project Priority List and a municipality must receive preliminary approval of its facilities plan before it can be placed on the Intended Use Plan (IUP). The IUP lists fundable projects.

Funding for county SSTS programs

Increased funding for county SSTS programs has been provided in the Clean Water Legacy (CWL) funding package, beginning with the budget approved by the 2006 Legislature. The following information will assist in answering questions about how CWL funding will affect Local Government SSTS programs.

Grant Funds to assist counties needing Advanced Inspectors to review new SSTS systems with design flow of 2,500 gallons per day or more

The MPCA is pleased to announce a financial assistance program to support work of the Clean Water Legacy Act (Minn. Stat. 114D) in protecting groundwater and surface water from impacts resulting from the improper design and/or construction of subsurface sewage treatment systems. These funds are available to counties to support their work in regulating systems that require that an Advanced Inspector perform the review, inspection, and permitting of new SSTS systems with a design flow of 2,500 gallons per day or more.  

The support will be provided in the form of a grant agreement 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. 

When a county has a project that requires an Advanced Inspector, they will contact the MPCA before they begin work, to start the grant process.  The name of the project, the county SWIFT ID, the county SWIFT signer, and the projected amount of grant funds will be required at that time.  A grant agreement will then be developed at the MPCA and once the grant agreement is signed 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 the county.

To initiate the agreement process, contact the MPCA Project Manager

Aaron Jensen
A draft agreement will be generated in the Statewide Integrated Financial Tools (SWIFT) system.

Frequently asked questions

Answer: Up to 75% of the cost of the work for each project that is performed by an Advanced Inspector for the review and permitting of a system with a design flow of 2,500 gpd or more are eligible.

Answer: Total funds available are based on estimates of the number of projects with a design flow of 2,500 gpd or more that occur each year. Funds will be disbursed on a first come first served basis until they are exhausted. 

Answer: A county is still eligible for up to 75% of the costs of the work performed by an Advanced Inspector on a project that must be reviewed.  Payment requests must be made within 30 days after final action on any project. Final action may be issuance of a permit, certificate of compliance, project denial, or withdrawal of the project by the proposer. 

Answer:  When final action is taken on a permit application by the county, a subsequent application is considered to be a separate project and is eligible for assistance, even if it is the second time for that project. 

Answer: Yes. Only the work performed after a grant agreement is executed with the MPCA is eligible. Requests for payment must be made within 30-days of final project action. Payments will be made on a first come, first served basis until the total available amount is exhausted.

Answer: MPCA has tried to reduce the documentation to the minimum needed, but since the funds are Clean Water funds there are additional requirements by law. The requirements are specified in the grant agreement and include: invoices from the county for the work completed by a certified Advanced Inspector, a copy of a document of final action are required.

Answer: No, this is administered by MPCA through the SWIFT system, not by BWSR.

2018 grants

The MPCA is pleased to offer grants to counties for administration of SSTS programs, for special projects to improve SSTS compliance rates, and to assist low-income homeowners with needed SSTS upgrades. The MPCA will determine grant allocations based on review of applications; funds will flow to counties through the Board of Water and Soil Resources' (BWSR) Natural Resources Block Grants (NRBG) beginning in 2018.

  • SSTS base grants – $18,600 per county (total of $1,599,600)
  • SSTS low-income fix-up grants – per-county amount variable based on demand (total of $1 million)

Base grants

These grants are given 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), and file a 2017 annual report, which is loaded by the county into eLink.

Low-income fix-up grants

These grants will be awarded to counties for upgrade of eligible SSTS (Notice of Noncompliance issued; may be Imminent Threat to Public Health or Safety or Failing to Protect Groundwater). Grants may be awarded without a list of specific properties and may be held by the county for the duration of the grant period. Funds must be spent by December 31, 2020. Grants will be made up to $40,000 per county based on the amount requested per county and may be reduced if the total requests exceeds the total amount available. Progress on work relating to the grant will be reported through BWSR’s eLINK system.

Counties that seek these funds commit to using the following criteria in determining grant eligibility for specific projects:

  1. Fix SSTS that have been deemed to be Imminent Threat or Failing to Protect Groundwater (must have been issued a Notice of Noncompliance).
  2. Funding only for homesteaded single-family homes or duplexes.
  3. Homeowner must be "low income"
  4. Recommend use of a sliding scale for grant funds based on income.
  5. Funds must be used for eligible SSTS upgrades or returned to the state if not expended by December 31, 2020.