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Point of Sale/Property Transfer

300.14.3.8.2 COMPLIANCE INSPECTION PROGRAM

NOTE:  In addition to providing a compliance inspection at time of property transfer, the "Certification as to Septic System Status" is required.  
 
An ISTS shall require a compliance inspection when any one of the following conditions occur:

300.14.3.8.2.1 Department Responsibility. It is the responsibility of the Department, or its agent, to perform various SSTS compliance inspections periodically to assure that the requirements of this ordinance are met.

A. SSTS compliance inspections must be performed:

(1) To ensure compliance with applicable requirements;

(2) To ensure system compliance before issuance of a permit for addition of a bedroom unless the permit application is made during the period of November 1 to April 30, provided a compliance inspection is performed before the following June 1 and the applicant submits a certificate of compliance by the following September 30;

(3) For all new SSTS construction or replacement;

(4) For an evaluation, investigation, inspection, recommendation, or other process used to prepare a disclosure statement if conducted by a party who is not the SSTS owner. Such an inspection constitutes a compliance inspection and shall be conducted in accordance with Minnesota Rules, Chaper 7082.0700 using the SSTS inspection report forms provided by PCA.

B. All compliance inspections must be performed and signed by licensed inspection businesses or qualified employees certified as inspectors.

C. The Department shall be given access to enter a property at any reasonable time to inspect and/or monitor the SSTS system. As used in this paragraph, "property" does not include a residence or private building. The Department shall notify the owner of the Department’s intent to inspect the SSTS least two (2) days in advance of the intended inspection.

D. No person shall hinder or otherwise interfere with the Department’s employees in the performance of their duties and responsibilities pursuant to this ordinance. Refusal to allow reasonable access to the property by the Department shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense. 

300.14.3.8.2.2 New Construction or Replacement

A. Compliance inspections must be performed on new or replacement SSTS to determine compliance with Minnesota Rules, Chapters 7080 or 7081. SSTS found not to be in compliance with 7080.1500, Subp. 4A or 7081.0080, Subp. 3 must be repaired or replaced within ten months or as directed under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 145A. SSTS that are determined to have operation or monitoring deficiencies must immediately be maintained, monitored or otherwise managed according to the operating permit. SSTS found to be noncompliant with other applicable requirements must be repaired or replaced according to the Department’s requirements.

B. It is the responsibility of the SSTS owner or the owner’s agent to notify the Department two (2) calendar days prior to any permitted work on the SSTS and twenty-four (24) hours notice prior to any scheduled inspection.

C. All inspections are required, as noted on the permit and any additional inspections required by the Department. An as-built of the system shall be submitted to the Department within twenty-one (21) days of the final inspection.

D. A Certificate of Compliance for new SSTS construction or replacement, which shall be valid for five (5) years, shall be issued by the Department if the Department has reasonable assurance that the system was built in accordance with the applicable requirements as specified in the construction permit.

E. The certificate of compliance must include a certified statement by the certified inspector or qualified employee who conducted the inspection that the SSTS is or is not in compliance with the ordinance requirements. If the SSTS is determined not to be in compliance with the applicable requirements, a notice of noncompliance must be issued to the owner which includes a statement specifying those ordinance provisions with which the SSTS does not comply.

F. The certificate of compliance or notice of noncompliance must be submitted to the Department no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after the date the inspection was performed. The Department shall deliver the certificate of compliance or notice of noncompliance to the owner or the owner’s agent within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt from the certified inspector. No SSTS shall be placed into operation until a valid certificated of compliance has been issued.

G. Certificates of compliance for new construction or replacement shall remain valid for five (5) years from the date of issue unless the Department finds evidence of noncompliance.

300.14.3.8.2.3 Existing Systems

A. Compliance inspections shall be required when any of the following conditions occur:

(1) When a construction permit is required to repair, modify, or upgrade an existing system;

(2) Anytime there is an expansion of use of the building being served by an existing SSTS which may impact the performance of the system;

(3) Anytime there is a change in use of the property being served by an existing SSTS which may impact the performance of the system;

(4) At anytime as required by this ordinance or the Department deems appropriate such as, upon receipt of a complaint or other notice of a system malfunction. All complaints and notices shall include contact information from the complainant and be in writing. An exception to this provision would be a report from a county employee in the performance of their job. In this case a notification to the department is sufficient. In either case, the department will perform a preliminary investigation of the complaint within five working days and confirm their findings to the complainant. All complaints are strictly confidential to persons working outside of the department.

B. Compliance inspections of existing SSTS shall be reported on the inspection report forms provided by PCA The following conditions, must be assessed, or verified:

(1) Watertightness assessment of all treatment tanks including a leakage report;

(2) Vertical separation distance between the bottom of the soil treatment and dispersal system and the periodically saturated soil or bedrock including a vertical separation verification report;

(3) Sewage backup, surface seepage, or surface discharge including a hydraulic function report.

C. The certificate of compliance must include a certified statement by a qualified employee or licensed inspection business, which is authorized to by the Department, whether the SSTS is in compliance with the ordinance requirements. If the SSTS is determined not to be in compliance with the applicable requirements, a notice of noncompliance must include a statement specifying those ordinance provisions with which the SSTS does not comply. A construction permit application must be submitted to the Department if the required corrective action is not a minor repair.

D. The certificate of compliance or notice of noncompliance must be submitted to the Department no later than fifteen (15) calendar days after the date the inspection was performed. The Department shall deliver the certificate of compliance or notice of noncompliance to the owner or the owner’s agent within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt from the licensed inspection business.

E. Certificates of compliance for existing SSTS shall remain valid for three (3) years from the date of issue unless the Department finds evidence of compliance.

F. SSTS on properties sold or transferred to new owners should be repaired, replaced, or upgraded as determined by a compliance inspection, records search, or other means acceptable to the Department that are conducted prior to ownership transfers. The determination of need to repair, replace, or upgrade should proceed in a manner that does not needlessly delay or otherwise interfere with the property sale transaction. This provision should be preceded with a public and local realtor’s awareness campaign.

300.14.3.8.2.4 Transfer of Properties

A. No owner or other person acting with legal authority on behalf of an owner of a tract of land upon which a dwelling is located, or a tract of land upon which a structure that is required to have an individual sewage treatment system is located, shall convey to another party said tract of land, unless the following requirements are met:

(1) A compliance inspection has been performed and a Certificate of Compliance has been issued by the Department within three (3) years for SSTS older than five (5) years or within five (5) years if the system is less than five (5) years old prior to the intended sale or transfer of the property; unless, evidence is found identifying an Imminent Threat to Public Health and Safety.

(2) The compliance inspection must have been performed by a qualified employee of the Department or a licensed inspection business following procedures described in part 300.14.3.8.2. of this ordinance.

(3) The seller of the property must disclose in writing information about the status and location of all known ISTS on the property to the buyer on a form acceptable to the Department. [Certification of Status of Septic System form].

(4) If the seller fails to provide a Certificate of Compliance, the seller shall provide the buyer sufficient security in the form of an escrow agreement to assure the installation of a complying ISTS. The security shall be placed in an escrow with a licensed real estate closer, licensed attorney-at-law, or federal or state chartered financial institution. The amount escrowed shall be equal to 150% of a written estimate to install a complying ISTS provided by a licensed and certified installer, or the amount escrowed shall be equal to 110% of the written contract price for the installation of a complying ISTS provided by a licensed and certified installer. After a complying SSTS has been installed and a certificate of compliance issued, the Department shall provide the escrow agent a copy of the Certificate of Compliance.

B. The compliance portion of the Certificate of Compliance need not be completed if the sale or transfer involves the following circumstances:

(1) The affected tract of land is without buildings or contains no dwellings or other buildings with plumbing fixtures.

(2) The transfer does not require the filing of a Certificate of Real Estate Value, as described in Minnesota Statutes, Section 272.115, subdivision 1.

(3) The transfer is a foreclosure or tax forfeiture.

(4) The sale or transfer completes a contract for deed or purchase agreement entered into prior to the effective date of this ordinance. This subsection applies only to the original vendor and vendee on such a contract.

(5) Any dwellings or other buildings that are connected exclusively to a municipal wastewater treatment system; any dwellings or other buildings that are located within the jurisdiction of a County approved agreement requiring exclusive connection to the wastewater treatment system of any municipality; or, any dwellings or other buildings that are connected exclusively to an approved wastewater treatment facility other than an individual sewage treatment system.

C. All property conveyances subject to this ordinance occurring during the period between November 1st and April 30th when SSTS compliance cannot be determined due to frozen soil conditions shall require a winter agreement, which includes an application for an SSTS permit and an agreement to complete a compliance inspection by the following June 1st by a licensed inspection business. If upon inspection the SSTS is found to be in compliance, the permit fee will be refunded. If upon inspection the system is found to be non-compliant, an escrow agreement must be established in accordance with Subparagraph 300.14.3.8.2.4 A(4), above, and the system upgraded.

D. The responsibility for completing the compliance portion of the escrow agreement under Subparagraph 300.14.3.8.2.4 A(4), above, or for upgrading a system found to be noncompliant shall be determined by the buyer and seller. Buyer and seller shall provide the Department with a signed statement indicating responsibility for completing the compliance portion of the escrow agreement and for upgrading a system found to be nonconforming. [Certification of Status of Septic System form].

E. Neither the issuance of permits, certificates of compliance or notices of noncompliance as requested or issued shall be construed to represent a guarantee or warranty of the system's operation or effectiveness. Such certificates signify that the system in question is or has been designed and installed in compliance or noncompliance with the provisions of these standards and regulations.

F. The Certification of Status of Septic System form shall be filed with the County Recorder/Registrar of Titles along with the Certificate of Real Estate Value. A copy shall also be filed with the Department at the same time. 

300.14.3.4.2.2 Bedroom Additions. The owner is allowed ten (10) months from the date of issuance of a bedroom addition permit to upgrade, repair, replace or abandon an existing system if the following conditions apply:

A. The DEPARTMENT issues a permit to add a bedroom;

B. A SSTS inspection is triggered by a bedroom addition permit request; [see paragraph 300.14.3.8.2 and subparagraphs – compliance inspection program]

C. The SSTS does not comply with Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7080.1500, Subp. 4.B.;

D. The SSTS is not determined to be an imminent threat to public health or safety in accordance with Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7080.1500, Subp. 4.A.

300.14.3.4.2.3 Failure to Protect Groundwater. An SSTS that is determined not to be protective of groundwater in accordance with Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7080.1500 Subp.4.B shall be upgraded, repaired, replaced or abandoned by the owner in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance within 36 months of receipt of a Notice of Noncompliance.

300.14.3.4.2.4 Imminent Threat to Public Health or Safety. An SSTS that is determined to be an imminent threat to public health or safety in accordance with Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7080.1500 Subp.4A shall be upgraded, repaired, replaced or abandoned by the owner in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance within 10 months of receipt of a Notice of Noncompliance. Less time shall be required by the Department based on the time of the year or potential threat to public health and safety. [see Paragraph 300.14.3.8.2 and subparagraphs – compliance inspection program]

300.14.3.4.2.5 Abandonment. Any SSTS, or any component thereof, which is no longer intended to be used, must be abandoned in accordance with Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7080.2500.

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