To protect human health and the environment, communities must have proper design, installation and management of treatment systems. When a system that has not been properly maintained fails prematurely, it costs more than just out-of-pocket dollars for the homeowner or community to replace it. There may be the hidden costs of contaminated surface and groundwater, overall water quality degradation and reduced property values. In some cases, homeowners may find there is no place to put another new system. This is especially true for lakeshore properties and small communities, many of which were platted in the 1970s or earlier.
While there are many reasons to take care of wastewater treatment systems, be it your own on-site system or your community’s treatment system, the lesson is the same—Pay now, or pay more later!
Wastewater Management Options
Chapter 4 from the Small Community Wastewater Solutions book discussed monitoring, operation and management of individual and cluster systems. These questions and more are answered in this chapter excerpt from the book Small Community Wastewater Solutions
Management begins at home. The residents of every household need to control the quality and quantity of their wastewater, if sending it to an individual treatment system or a cluster system or to a large community system.
Many homeowners with individual systems and participants in small cluster systems prefer to provide their own system management. These plans will help homeowners develop some best management practices.
There are several options for management in small communities. Many choose legal entities. Please go to the Organizational Options page for information on these options.
Monitoring and Mitigation Plan
Alternative systems are required to have a monitoring plan, which evaluates how is it working, including sampling and testing to assure the waste is treated. The determination of what is to be sampled and how often is determined by the site characteristics, choice in system and local governmental unit (LGU). A mitigation plan, which lays out what will happen if the system fails to adequately treat needs to be submitted to the LGU. These are sample forms that may be used:
Information and resources for individual homeowners, cluster systems and communities on care and maintenance, operation and other aspects of management.
General Management Information
Septic System Operation and Maintenance
Ownership and Management of Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems
Ownership and Management of Multi-household Systems
Water Meters (.pdf)
Met Council's Management & Tracking Database
MN Department of Health Certified Labs - A list of suppliers who may do testing of wastewater
US Environmental Protection Agency
Septic System Maintenance