What is a Compliance Inspection?

In the past, Minnesota did not have a statewide definition for "compliance inspection. Township, city, and county (LUG) ordinances provided a definition appropriate for their individual programs. Areas without ordinances had no definition to follow. Now, Minnesota Rules Chapter 7080 provides a minimum definition for the state (rule excerpts follow).

Compliance Inspection Factsheet (PDF)

LUG’s can still make the requirements for a compliance inspection more restrictive than Chapter 7080 in their ordinances. Existing ordinances with compliance inspection requirements that are submitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will be in effect for the state licensing program until 1998. Check with your LUG’s for more restrictive requirements.

Statewide Minimum Standard for Compliance Inspection

"Compliance inspection" is defined under Minn. Rules Ch. 7080 as follows:

7080.0020 Definitions

Subp. 11d. Compliance inspection. "Compliance inspection means any evaluation, investigation, inspection, or other such process to make conclusions, recommendations, or statements regarding an individual sewage treatment system to reasonably assure an individual sewage treatment system is in compliance as specified under part 7080.0060. Compliance inspections must be conducted by a qualified employee or under a license independent of the owner and the installer.

7080.0060 Compliance Criteria

Subp. 3 Compliance. Individual sewage treatment systems shall be considered in compliance if:
A. an existing individual sewage treatment system is not a failing system as defined in part 7080.0020, subpart 16a; or
B. new construction or replacement meets the technical standards and criteria defined in part 7080.0020, subpart 46a.

7080.0020 Definitions

Subp. 16a. Failing system. "Failing system" means any system that discharges sewage to a seepage pit, cesspool, drywell, or leaching pit and any system with less than three feet of soil or sand between the bottom of the distribution medium and the saturated soil level or bedrock. In addition, any system posing an imminent threat to public health or safety as defined in subpart 19a shall be considered failing. Upgrade requirements for these systems are found under parts 7080.0060, subparts 3 and 4, and 7080.0315 or 7080.0350.

Sup. 19a Imminent threat to public health or safety. "Imminent threat to public health or safety" means situations with the potential to immediately and adversely impact or threaten public health or safety. At a minimum, ground surface water discharges and any system causing sewage backup into a dwelling or other establishment shall constitute an imminent threat.

Subp. 46a. Technical standards and criteria. "Technical standards and criteria" means parts 7080.0020, 7080.0176, and 7080.0910.

Instances When Compliance Inspection Must Take Place

After December 31, 1995, a compliance inspection must be conducted when an individual sewage treatment system (ISTS) is installed or replaced, before a variance is granted for the construction of an ISTS, and before a building permit is issued for the addition of a bedroom or bathroom. Some LUG ordinances require a compliance inspection at property transfer. This is not a state requirement, however, a complete compliance inspection must be conducted for the ISTS disclosure if anyone other than the property owner evaluates the system for this purpose. Effective October 1, 2014 Goodhue County requires a compliance upon sale, and the ordinance can be found here

Submission of Certificate of Compliance to System Owner

After a compliance inspection is completed, a Certificate of Compliance or Notice of Noncompliance must be submitted to the system owner within 30 days after the date of inspection. These Certificates and Notices must also be submitted to the MPCA commissioner in areas that are not governed by an ISTS ordinance or a bedroom/bathroom ordinance and sent to the LUG in areas governed by at least one of these ordinances. The MPCA has developed an inspection form that include4s the Certificate of Compliance and Notice of Noncompliance. Call (651)296-7309 for a master copy, The requirements for these documents are under rule parts 7080.0315, subpart 3, and 7080.03050, subpart 2, item A (2).

Licensing Requirements for Inspectors

Compliance inspections conducted before April 1, 1996, must be completed by individuals appropriately licensed by a county, city, or township. After April 1, 1996, inspections must be completed by employees of a business with a state Designer I or Inspector license or county, city, or township employees with state Designer I or Inspector registration. The inspector must be independent of the ISTS owner and installed for new construction and replacement.

Designer II, Installer & Pumper Licenses

Businesses with state Designer II, Installer, or Pumper licenses cannot conduct compliance inspections. However, maintenance and repair problems can be reported to system owners under an Installer license and problems related to sewage tanks, dosing chambers, baffles, maintenance hole (previously manhole) covers and extensions, and pumps and evaluations of water tightness can be reported under a Pumper license.