Two women wearing baseball hats and neon yellow safety vests kneel on grass while preparing to sample water from a concrete basin.

Research is a critical part of the Onsite Sewage Treatment Program (OSTP) and includes evaluating unique waste streams such as contaminants of emerging concern, facilities such as campgrounds and rest areas to evaluate how well they are performing, and how to best limit impacts to the environment and public health. A majority of our research is field based where we are looking to evaluate emerging issues facing septic system professionals, property owners and regulatory programs. These findings are then integrated into the training and outreach activities of OSTP to assure that septic systems installed in Minnesota are evolving to treat decentralized human wastewater in the most effective way.


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Unique waste streams

Projects evaluating characteristics and treatment of coffee and soda products, RV and campground wastewater, kidney dialysis, and more:

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Milk house wastewater treatment

Results of a six year project evaluating four systems to treat wastewater from dairy milk houses:

Researcher collecting samples from a septic system

Septic system performance 

Research reports from OSTP evaluating the performance and impacts of various septic system types. Locations include Otter Tail County, Stocking Lake Watershed and Rice County. 

Read research reports

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Reports which document over 10 years of research results with the Water Services Unit.

Read all MnDOT reports