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Lakeshore septic inspections continue as county puts ordinance on hold

Recent changes in Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules have put a halt to Cook County’s efforts to revise the septic system ordinance. The process may be on hold, but lakeshore septic inspections will continue, according to Planning Director Tim Nelson.

At last week’s Cook County board meeting, commissioners decided to hold off any further action on the draft septic system ordinance until new MPCA rules are vetted against the county’s existing draft. 

In the meantime, it’s business as usual for septic inspections. Nelson said the lakeshore inspection program started in 2001 and system inspections around seven lakes have already been accomplished. Nelson added that the inspection program aided by a clean water grant is ahead of schedule. He said the original projection was for five lakes in ten years.

Nelson said an inspection consists of first pumping the tank and checking it for leaks. If no leaks are detected, the second step is to bore holes in the soil around the drain field perimeter – soil needs to be unsaturated to a depth of three feet. System failure rates average around 30 percent according to Nelson.

The lakes where inspections have taken place so far include Pike, Devil Track, Caribou, Poplar, Gunflint, Saganaga and Seagull. The county has also participated in Lake Superior property inspections in the Tofte-Schroeder Sanitary Sewer District.