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Otter Tail County board to finalize sanitation code

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The county sanitation code will be finalized by the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the Government Services Center in Fergus Falls. Modifications have been addressed in recent months, with input from county residents.

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Copies of the proposed new ordinance are on file in the offices of the County Auditor and Land and Resource Management and also posted on the county website.

The county Sanitation Code of Otter Tail County includes guidelines for proper location of sewage disposal, design, construction, operation, maintenance and repair. The goal of the sanitation code is to protect surface water and ground water from contamination by human sewage, to protect public health and safety and eliminate or prevent the development of public nuisances.

As noted in the sanitation code document, if the sale or transfer of property occurs during the winter months of Nov. 15 through April 15, the buyer must complete the compliance inspection. The deadline would be the following June 1.

The buyer is ultimately held responsible by the county if the septic system is noncompliant and not brought into compliance within the timeframe.

The certificate is to be submitted to the county with the property transfer. If the seller does not provide the valid certificate of compliance, the buyer is responsible for providing the certificate to the county within 30 days of the property transaction.

There are exemptions, under certain circumstance. More information can be obtained by contacting the County Land and Resource Office at 218-998-8095.

Key wording changes to the sanitation code

County Land and Resource Director Bill Kalar, at the Feb. 18 county board meeting, pointed out new wording as part of the sanitation code that will be finalized by county board members on March 11.

“Under the section on design flow, we point out that the minimum flow rate for each separate building served by an onsite sewage system is 150 gallons per day,” said Kalar.

There’s also a provision for lots existing by virtue of a recorded plat or deed before Oct. 15, 1971, or on lots that have an existing dwelling and which have insufficient areas to meet these setbacks.

“The setback for a building or lot line for sewage tanks and soil absorption areas,” said Kalar, “will be the greatest distance possible by meeting all other setback requirements. This is in no event less than five feet from the building or lot line.”

Subdivisions must conform to all other requirements of the subdivision controls area of Otter Tail County.

“In areas not served by publicly owned sewer and water systems, subdivisions must not be approved unless a domestic water supply is available and soil absorption sewage treatment can be provided for every lot,” said Kalar.

A minimum undisturbed 2,500 square feet of sewage treatment area will be identified for each lot.

“This undisturbed sewage treatment area must be identified and staked onsite by a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) licensed sewage system designer,” said Kalar. “Lots that would require use of holding tanks must not be approved.”

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