Newly installed septic systems
All newly installed septic systems must be inspected by a licensed inspector. An "as-built" compliance inspection consists of a drawing and documentation on an inspection form specifying the final, in-place location, size and type of all septic system components. Dakota County provides an as-built form.
Each township and city (except Randolph) has their own municipal septic inspector.
A system that discharges sewage to the ground surface or to surface water or has sewage backing up into the house poses an imminent threat to public health. These conditions have the potential to immediately and adversely affect or threaten public health or safety. After being notified by the local municipality, a homeowner has 30 days to repair the system and resolve the problem, and 10 months to permanently upgrade the system.
A septic system may be defined as “failing” if the tank is not water tight or if there is not enough vertical separation from the drainfield bottom to saturated soil or bedrock. Local cities or townships may require that non-compliant systems be upgraded. Non-compliant systems have to be upgraded at the time of property transfer.
Except for a passing compliance inspection that is valid for five years on new systems and three years for older systems, a compliance inspection is required before a property is sold. Using the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's form, the compliance inspector must confirm:
• The tank(s) is watertight.
• There is no sewage discharge to the ground, surface or backup into the house.
• There is adequate vertical drainfield separation from the water table and bedrock.
A compliance inspection must be completed by a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency licensed private inspector. After the inspection, the septic inspector must either issue a Certificate of Compliance or a Notice of Noncompliance. If a Notice of Noncompliance is received, the homeowner must repair or replace the failing septic system components.
Although property transfer compliance inspections are not required to address tank or system size requirements, inspectors may include this in an addendum to their report. If the system fails the compliance inspection (but is not an imminent threat to public health), the system must be upgraded within 10 months. The seller and buyer negotiate the cost.
Compliance inspectors must submit their completed Compliance Inspection Reports to the local municipality with septic system jurisdiction.
A compliance inspection must be performed before a bedroom can be added to a home. In addition to the requirements for property transfer, the compliance inspector must determine if the septic tank and the soil absorption part (drainfield, mound, etc.) are large enough to accommodate the proposed bedroom.
Septic systems are regulated by individual city and township ordinances that are based on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency standards and County Ordinance 113 – Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems. Each city and township in Dakota County is responsible for their own administration, permitting, inspections and enforcement of their septic ordinance and program.
In addition, the Metropolitan Council is responsible for drinking water protection under the U.S. Clean Water Act and for controlling demand on its municipal wastewater treatment facilities. The Met Council requires each municipality to enforce Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules and to adopt a septic pump maintenance program.