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Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 235-H.F.No. 244 
                  An act relating to the environment; modifying 
                  requirements relating to individual sewage treatment 
                  systems; amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, sections 
                  115.55, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and by adding a 
                  subdivision; and 115.57, subdivision 7. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITIONS.] (a) The definitions in this 
        subdivision apply to this section and section 115.56. 
           (b) "Advisory committee" means the advisory committee on 
        individual sewage treatment systems established under the 
        individual sewage treatment system rules.  The advisory 
        committee must be appointed to ensure geographic representation 
        of the state and include elected public officials. 
           (c) "Applicable requirements" means: 
           (1) local ordinances that comply with the individual sewage 
        treatment system rules, as required in subdivision 2; or 
           (2) in areas not subject to the ordinances described in 
        clause (1), the individual sewage treatment system rules. 
           (d) "City" means a statutory or home rule charter city. 
           (e) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the pollution 
        control agency. 
           (f) "Dwelling" means a building or place used or intended 
        to be used by human occupants as a single-family or two-family 
        unit. 
           (g) "Individual sewage treatment system" or "system" means 
        a sewage treatment system, or part thereof, serving a dwelling, 
        other establishment, or group thereof, that uses subsurface soil 
        treatment and disposal. 
           (h) "Individual sewage treatment system professional" means 
        an inspector, installer, site evaluator or designer, or pumper. 
           (i) "Individual sewage treatment system rules" means rules 
        adopted by the agency that establish minimum standards and 
        criteria for the design, location, installation, use, and 
        maintenance of individual sewage treatment systems. 
           (j) "Inspector" means a person who inspects individual 
        sewage treatment systems for compliance with the applicable 
        requirements. 
           (k) "Installer" means a person who constructs or repairs 
        individual sewage treatment systems. 
           (l) "Local unit of government" means a township, city, or 
        county. 
           (m) "Pumper" means a person who maintains components of 
        individual sewage treatment systems including, but not limited 
        to, septic, aerobic, and holding tanks. 
           (n) "Seasonal dwelling" means a dwelling that is occupied 
        or used for less than 180 days per year and less than 120 
        consecutive days. 
           (o) "Site evaluator or designer" means a person who: 
           (1) investigates soils and site characteristics to 
        determine suitability, limitations, and sizing requirements; and 
           (2) designs individual sewage treatment systems. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [LOCAL ORDINANCES.] (a) All counties that did not 
        adopt ordinances by May 7, 1994, or that do not have ordinances, 
        must adopt ordinances that comply with individual sewage 
        treatment system rules by January 1, 1999, unless all towns and 
        cities in the county have adopted such ordinances.  County 
        ordinances must apply to all areas of the county other than 
        cities or towns that have adopted ordinances that comply with 
        this section and are as strict as the applicable county 
        ordinances.  Any ordinance adopted by a local unit of government 
        before May 7, 1994, to regulate individual sewage treatment 
        systems must be in compliance with the individual sewage 
        treatment system rules by January 1, 1998. 
           (b) A copy of each ordinance adopted under this subdivision 
        must be submitted to the commissioner upon adoption. 
           (c) A local unit of government must make available to the 
        public upon request a written list of any differences between 
        its ordinances and rules adopted under this section. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [RULES.] (a) The agency shall adopt rules 
        containing minimum standards and criteria for the design, 
        location, installation, use, and maintenance of individual 
        sewage treatment systems.  The rules must include: 
           (1) how the agency will ensure compliance under subdivision 
        2; 
           (2) how local units of government shall enforce ordinances 
        under subdivision 2, including requirements for permits and 
        inspection programs; 
           (3) how the advisory committee will participate in review 
        and implementation of the rules; 
           (4) provisions for alternative systems; 
           (5) provisions for handling and disposal of effluent; 
           (6) provisions for system abandonment; 
           (7) provisions allowing local units of government to adopt 
        alternative standards and criteria, provided that: 
           (i) the alternative standards and criteria may not apply to 
        new construction or replacement of systems, as defined by the 
        agency; and 
           (ii) the commissioner must certify that the alternative 
        standards and criteria adequately protect public health and the 
        environment; and procedures for the commissioner to approve new 
        individual sewage treatment system technologies; and 
           (8) procedures for variances, including the consideration 
        of variances based on cost and variances that take into account 
        proximity of a system to other systems. 
           (b) The agency shall consult with the advisory committee 
        before adopting rules under this subdivision. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, 
        subdivision 5, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 5.  [INSPECTION.] (a) An inspection shall be required 
        for all new construction or replacement of a system to determine 
        compliance with agency rule or local standards.  The manner and 
        timing of inspection may be determined by the applicable local 
        ordinance.  The inspection requirement may be satisfied by a 
        review by the designated local official of video, electronic, 
        photographic, and other evidence of compliance provided by the 
        installer. 
           (b) Except as provided in subdivision 5b, paragraph 
        (e) (b), a local unit of government may not issue a building 
        permit or variance for the addition of a bedroom on property 
        served by a system unless the system is in compliance with the 
        applicable requirements, as evidenced by a certificate of 
        compliance issued by a licensed inspector or site evaluator or 
        designer.  A local unit of government may temporarily waive the 
        certificate of compliance requirement for a building permit or 
        variance for which application is made during the period from 
        November 1 to April 30, provided that an inspection of the 
        system is performed by the following June 1 and the applicant 
        submits a certificate of compliance by the following September 
        30.  This paragraph does not apply if the local unit of 
        government does not have an ordinance requiring a building 
        permit to add a bedroom. 
           (b) A compliance inspection under this subdivision is 
        required for all new construction or replacement of a system, as 
        defined by agency rule.  
           (c) A certificate of compliance for an existing system is 
        valid for three years from the date of issuance unless the local 
        unit of government finds evidence of an imminent threat to 
        public health or safety requiring removal and abatement under 
        section 145A.04, subdivision 8.  
           (d) A certificate of compliance for a new system is valid 
        for five years from the date of issuance unless the local unit 
        of government finds evidence of an imminent threat to public 
        health or safety requiring removal and abatement under section 
        145A.04, subdivision 8. 
           (e) A licensed inspector who inspects an existing system 
        may subsequently design and install a new system for that 
        property, provided the inspector is licensed to install 
        individual sewage treatment systems. 
           Subd. 5a.  [INSPECTION CRITERIA FOR EXISTING SYSTEMS.] (a) 
        An inspection of an existing system must evaluate the criteria 
        in paragraphs (b) to (h). 
           (b) If the inspector finds one or more of the following 
        conditions: 
           (1) sewage discharge to surface water; 
           (2) sewage discharge to ground surface; 
           (3) sewage backup; 
           (4) a cesspool; or 
           (5) any other situation with the potential to immediately 
        and adversely affect or threaten public health or safety, 
        then the system constitutes an imminent threat to public health 
        or safety and, if not repaired, must be upgraded, replaced, or 
        its use discontinued within ten months of receipt of the notice 
        described in subdivision 5b, or within a shorter period of time 
        if required by local ordinance. 
           (c) An existing system that has none of the conditions in 
        paragraph (b), and has at least two feet of soil separation need 
        not be upgraded, repaired, replaced, or its use discontinued, 
        notwithstanding any local ordinance that is more restrictive. 
           (d) Paragraph (c) does not apply to systems in shoreland 
        areas regulated under sections 103F.201 to 103F.221, wellhead 
        protection areas as defined in section 103I.005, or those used 
        in connection with food, beverage, and lodging establishments 
        regulated under chapter 157. 
           (e) If the local unit of government with jurisdiction over 
        the system has adopted an ordinance containing local standards 
        pursuant to subdivision 7, the existing system must comply with 
        the ordinance.  If the system does not comply with the 
        ordinance, it must be upgraded, replaced, or its use 
        discontinued according to the ordinance. 
           (f) If a seepage pit, drywell, or leaching pit exists and 
        the local unit of government with jurisdiction over the system 
        has not adopted local standards to the contrary, the system is 
        failing and must be upgraded, replaced, or its use discontinued 
        within the time required by subdivision 3 or local ordinance. 
           (g) If the system fails to provide sufficient groundwater 
        protection, then the local unit of government or its agent shall 
        order that the system be upgraded, replaced, or its use 
        discontinued within the time required by rule or the local 
        ordinance. 
           (h) The authority to find a threat to public health under 
        section 145A.04, subdivision 8, is in addition to the authority 
        to make a finding under paragraphs (b) to (d). 
           (c) Subd. 5b.  [COMPLIANCE NOTICE.] (a) If a system 
        inspected under this subdivision 5 is not in compliance with the 
        applicable requirements required to be upgraded, replaced, or 
        its use discontinued under subdivision 5a, the inspector or site 
        evaluator or designer must issue a notice of noncompliance to 
        the property owner and must provide a copy of the notice to 
        the local unit of government to which application for the 
        building permit or variance was made with jurisdiction.  The 
        notice of noncompliance must specify why the system must be 
        upgraded, replaced, or its use discontinued.  A local unit of 
        government must specify the upgrade time period in its ordinance.
           (d) If the inspector or site evaluator or designer finds 
        that the system presents an imminent threat to public health or 
        safety, the inspector or site evaluator or designer must include 
        a statement to this effect in the notice and the property owner 
        must upgrade, replace, or discontinue use of the system within 
        ten months of receipt of the notice.  
           (e) (b) Except as provided in paragraph (d) subdivision 5a, 
        paragraphs (b) to (d), if a system installed between May 27, 
        1989, and January 23, 1996, does not comply with applicable 
        requirements, the property owner has five years from the date of 
        the bedroom building permit to bring the system into compliance. 
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, 
        subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 6.  [DISCLOSURE OF INDIVIDUAL SEWAGE TREATMENT SYSTEM 
        TO BUYER.] After August 31, 1994, (a) Before signing an 
        agreement to sell or transfer real property, the seller or 
        transferor must disclose in writing to the buyer or transferee 
        information about the status and location of individual on how 
        sewage treatment systems on the property or serving the property 
        generated at the property is managed.  The disclosure must be 
        made by delivering a statement to the buyer or transferee that 
        either: 
           (1) a statement by the seller that there is no individual 
        sewage treatment system on or serving the property or a 
        disclosure statement describing the system and indicating the 
        sewage goes to a facility permitted by the agency; or 
           (2) the sewage does not go to a permitted facility, is 
        therefore subject to applicable requirements, and describes the 
        system in use, including the legal description of the property, 
        the county in which the property is located, and a map drawn 
        from available information showing the location of the system on 
        the property to the extent practicable.  If the seller or 
        transferor has knowledge that an abandoned individual sewage 
        treatment system exists on the property, the disclosure must 
        include a map showing its location.  In the disclosure statement 
        the seller must indicate whether the individual sewage treatment 
        system is in use and, to the seller's knowledge, in compliance 
        with applicable sewage treatment laws and rules.  Unless the 
        buyer and seller agree to the contrary in writing before the 
        closing of the sale, a seller who fails to disclose the 
        existence or known status of an individual sewage treatment 
        system at the time of sale, and who knew or had reason to know 
        of the existence or known status of the system,. 
           (b) A seller or transferor who fails to meet the 
        requirements of this section is liable to the buyer for costs 
        relating to bringing the system into compliance with the 
        individual sewage treatment system rules and for reasonable 
        attorney fees for collection of costs from the seller.  An 
        action under this subdivision must be commenced within two years 
        after the date on which the buyer closed the purchase or 
        transfer of the real property where the system is located. 
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [LOCAL ORDINANCE MAY BE MORE RESTRICTIVE 
        STANDARDS.] (a) [EXISTING SYSTEMS.] Counties may adopt by 
        ordinance local standards that are less restrictive than the 
        agency's rules in order to define an acceptable existing 
        system.  The local standards may include soil separation, soil 
        classification, vegetation, system use, localized well placement 
        and construction, localized density of systems and wells, extent 
        of area to be covered by local standards, groundwater flow 
        patterns, and existing natural or artificial drainage systems.  
        The local standards and criteria shall be submitted to the 
        commissioner for comment prior to adoption to demonstrate that, 
        based on local circumstances in that jurisdiction, they 
        adequately protect public health and the environment. 
           (b) [NEW OR REPLACEMENT SYSTEMS.] Counties, after providing 
        documentation of conditions listed in this paragraph to the 
        commissioner, may adopt by ordinance local standards that are 
        less restrictive than the agency's rules for new system 
        construction or replacement in areas of sustained and projected 
        low population density where conditions render conformance to 
        applicable requirements difficult or otherwise inappropriate.  
        Documentation may include a map delineating the area of the 
        county to be served by the local standards, a description of the 
        hardship that would result from strict adherence to the agency's 
        rules, and evidence of sustained and projected low population 
        density.  The local standards must protect human health and the 
        environment and be based on considerations that may include, but 
        need not be limited to, soil separation, soil classification, 
        vegetation, system use, localized well placement and 
        construction, localized density of systems and wells, extent of 
        area to be covered by local standards, groundwater flow 
        patterns, and existing natural or artificial drainage systems.  
        The local standards must provide cost-effective and long-term 
        treatment alternatives.  The draft ordinance incorporating the 
        local standards must be submitted to the local water planning 
        advisory committee, created under section 103B.321, subdivision 
        3, and then submitted with justification to the commissioner 30 
        days before adoption for review and comment. 
           (c) [NEW OR REPLACEMENT SYSTEMS; LOCAL ORDINANCES.] A local 
        unit of government may adopt and enforce ordinances or rules 
        affecting new or replacement individual sewage treatment systems 
        that are more restrictive than the agency's rules.  
           (b) If standards are adopted that are more restrictive than 
        the agency's rules, the local unit of government must submit the 
        more restrictive standards to the commissioner along with an 
        explanation of the more restrictive provisions. 
           (d) [LOCAL STANDARDS; CONFLICT WITH STATE LAW.] Local 
        standards adopted under paragraph (a) or (b) must not conflict 
        with any requirements under other state laws or rules or local 
        ordinances, including, but not limited to, requirements for: 
           (1) systems in shoreland areas, regulated under sections 
        103F.201 to 103F.221; 
           (2) well construction and location, regulated under chapter 
        103I; and 
           (3) systems used in connection with food, beverage, and 
        lodging establishments, regulated under chapter 157. 
        The local standards must include references to applicable 
        requirements under other state laws or rules or local ordinances.
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.55, is 
        amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 8.  [NEW TECHNOLOGIES.] New individual sewage 
        treatment system technologies may be installed as warrantied 
        systems if not specifically prohibited in local ordinance, 
        provided however that the manufacturer or designer provides to 
        the commissioner documentation of the following: 
           (1) how the technology must be used and installed, how it 
        is expected to perform under those conditions, the anticipated 
        design life, and the period to be warrantied under clause (4); 
           (2) pertinent existing data, including in-field testing 
        data, that the system will perform as expected; 
           (3) financial assurance or documentation of the 
        manufacturer's or designer's financial ability to cover 
        potential replacement and upgrades necessitated by the system 
        failing to meet the performance expectations of clause (1) for 
        the duration of the warranty period; and 
           (4) a full warranty effective for the designated warranty 
        period in clause (1), which must be at least five years from the 
        time of installation, covering design, labor, and material costs 
        to remedy failure to meet performance expectations in clause (1) 
        for systems used and installed in accordance with the 
        manufacturer's or designer's instructions. 
           The commissioner must make available a list of warrantied 
        systems for which documentation has been provided to the 
        commissioner under this subdivision. 
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 115.57, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [ORDINANCES; CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS.] A 
        municipality may not establish an individual sewage treatment 
        system loan program unless ordinances pursuant to rules adopted 
        under in compliance with section 115.55, subdivision 3, are in 
        full force and effect.  All repairs and improvements made to 
        individual sewage treatment systems under this section shall be 
        performed by a licensed individual sewage treatment system 
        professional and shall comply with agency rules adopted pursuant 
        to section 115.55, subdivision 3, and other applicable 
        requirements.  All improvements to wells under this section must 
        be made by a well contractor or a limited well contractor, as 
        appropriate, licensed under chapter 103I. 
           Sec. 9.  [LOCAL STANDARDS STUDY.] 
           The commissioner of the pollution control agency shall 
        conduct a study on the local standards established under 
        Minnesota Statutes, section 115.55, subdivision 7, in protecting 
        public health and the environment.  By February 15, 1999, the 
        commissioner must report on the study to the house and senate 
        committees with jurisdiction over environmental policy. 
           Sec. 10.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           This act is effective the day following final enactment. 
           Presented to the governor May 29, 1997 
           Signed by the governor June 2, 1997, 2:10 p.m.

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