Water Resources Center
OSTP

The Water Resources Center is affiliated with the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension.

Community Assessment

The approach your community needs to take to wastewater treatment depends on the density of the population, soil conditions near the homes and the changes in density and population expected in the future. Communities must collect and interpret such information, understand what regulations apply and keep good records. This is part of Phase One of the Small Community Process, and is arguably the most important.

Good assessment and data collection will be the foundation of your project, will help provide direction and will help determine community goals, values, and solutions.

Wastewater Problems are Community Problems

Why do we need to treat wastewater? What are some Key Factors in Community Change? How can we make the process work for our community? These questions and more are answered in this chapter excerpt of the book, Small Community Wastewater Solutions.

Read the Excerpt >>

Understanding the Situation

What You Need to Know Before You Study Options (.pdf)
Before a community can start assessing options, much information about the community needs to be gathered to assess existing community assets and trends, along with the current situation. “What you need to Know” is an excerpt of the book, Small Community Wastewater Solutions.

Sample Surveys

Residential Sewage Treatment Information (.pdf)
To be used by a community task force to collect pertinent information voluntarily from the owner about each property. Distribution may be via mail, hand delivery or completed in an interview. Survey should be modified to collect only necessary information.

Municipal Treatment Plant (.pdf)
To be used by a community task force to collect pertinent information about municipal wastewater treatment facilities in all surrounding communities. Information should be based on an interview of a qualified official. Survey may be modified to collect necessary information.

Current Land Use Policy for Our Community (.pdf)
To be used by a community task force to collect pertinent information about the current land use plan and the perspectives of a variety of persons regarding plans for the future for the community and surrounding areas. Information should be based on interviews of a variety of qualified officials, community leaders and residents. Some persons may not be able to or need to answer all questions. Survey may be modified to collect necessary information.

Self Assessment Tool

This is a tool communities can use for voluntary assessment of individual septic systems.
View the Tool >> (.pdf)

Small Community Needs Assessment

Understand what a site assessment is, how to’s, helps for communities in planning this step.
View the Presentation >> (.pps)

Sample Rough Site Assessment Maps

Displaying the existing situation in the form of a map is a clear way to illustrate compliance. Check with your local unit of government to see if they may assist you in mapping your community. Communities may have to solicit professionals to create similar maps for their community after the initial assessments have been completed. There are many mapping tools that communities can utilize.

Go to the Resources page for some news articles you can use as you begin your efforts.

Evaluating Alternatives

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has a manual, Wastewater Options for Small Communities in Kansas. Several chapters are applicable for Minnesota small communities, particularly:
Chapter 8 - Evaluating Alternatives, Conducting the Environmental/ Sanitary Survey, Developing the Preliminary Engineering Report, and Choosing the Right Project (.pdf)