Septic System Permits & Information

Planning and Zoning

Pine County offers two separate septic programs for replacements of non-compliant septic systems in partnership with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:

1.)  The Low-Income Grant Program is administered by Lakes & Pines for Pine County and will review and process the applications. For further information, please click on the following flyer: Pine County Low-Income Septic Fix-Up Grants.

 2.) The Low-Interest Loan Program is administered by Pine County Planning and Zoning and is for all income levels.  For further information please click the following flyer: Pine County Low-Interest Loan Program and complete an application.


All counties within the State of Minnesota are required to adopt a new updated ordinance in 2014.  Pine County’s new ordinance has an effective date of April 1, 2014. The new ordinance requires no immediate action from system owners and generally represents the minimum MPCA requirements with the exceptions of county-wide point of sale sewer compliance inspections and requiring all new systems to be sized for a class 1 dwelling.  Some frequently asked questions about the new ordinance can be answered here.    


Install and many types of septic system repairs will require a permit from the County. To secure you permit you will need to submit the Pine County Septic Permit Application.

Subsurface Sewage Treatment System Forms:
Agreement to Upgrade Septic System
Septic System Homeowner Checklist
Above Grade Systems Management Plan
Below Grade Systems Management Plan
Holding Tank Management Plan
SSTS Abandonment Form
Pine County Pumping Contract
Well Pressure Test
Well Setbacks
As-Built Inspection


 Where can I get information about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and septic systems?

The MPCA Subsurface Sewage Treatment System web site has a tremendous amount of useful information.  Please click the link to view and find out more.  Also, we have put together this presentation about septic systems and are more than happy to come speak to your group about septic systems. 

If I sell my home is my septic system required to be inspected for compliance?

Starting April 1, 2014 any property which is sold for more than $1,000 requires a compliance inspection at the time of sale.  Inspections can be completed by any licensed inspector if they are under the county's jurisdiction.  Townships/Cities not under the county's jurisdiction may have a specific inspector that you may need to use, contact the city/township directly to find out.

Who do I contact for my SSTS questions/permits?

Please review the Quick Reference Septic Jurisdiction List to see if you are under the county's jurisdiction or if your township/city has their own program for non-shoreland properties.  A contact phone number is listed for each township/city.

Can I install my own system?

Yes, but only if you are the property owner and it is designed by a licensed designer.  If you install a septic system for someone else you must be a State Licensed Installer.

Can I design my own system?

No.  All SSTS systems must be designed by a state licensed designer (see area sewer professionals list below).
State Licensed SSTS Inspectors, Designers, Installers and Maintainers

Can you recommend a local septic system designer, installer, or pumper?

No.  We do, however, maintain a general list of SSTS professionals that work in the Pine County area.  The MPCA web site also provides up to date and searchable licensing and contact information for SSTS contractors at the MPCA SSTS Business Licensing & Certification site.  At this site you can search for Certified Individuals and/or all State Licensed Business entities. 

 Why might I need a mound septic system?

System requirements are determined by the State Licensed SSTS Designer, not the County or Township inspector.  System designs are dependent on the quality of the soils (sand, clay, rock etc.) and the use (number of bedrooms, appliances, etc.).  If your site has soil types that do not allow good percolation/drainage it may be required that good sand and rock be imported to create an above ground “mound”. 

Do I need good soils to subdivide my property or can I just import sand and other materials and build a mound system?

The subdivision of property is regulated by the Pine County Subdivision Ordinance and any local Township zoning or other regulations.  In accordance with State regulations, newly created lots require suitable soils for a standard septic system.  A minimum of 12 inches of undisturbed Standard Soils must exist on the proposed lot(s) in order to qualify for the building of homes, cabins, or other residence structures.  The first 12 inches of standard soils must exist on the site and can not be imported.       

Where do I report concerns about septic systems?

Failing to treat sewage with a compliant septic system is a threat to the environment and surrounding property owners.  Problem septic systems include open ended pipes, sewage or other discharges on the ground, collapsed mounds, leaking tanks, and other such observable SSTS failures.    The State of Minnesota SSTS rules require immediate action for imminent threats and allow up to 10 months to fully repair or replace a failed system.  To report a failed system a written Complaint Form must be completed and returned to the Department.  If your Township is the permitting authority please contact them accordingly.  

The purpose of this notice is to advise the public that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency staff has reviewed the proposed Pine County Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems project and has determined that the preparation of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) is not mandatory. A preliminary determination has been made that no significant environmental impacts are anticipated.

The Pine County Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems project has been awarded a loan under the Minnesota Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund and is, therefore, subject to the State environmental review process. Subsurface sewage treatment system upgrades or replacements within this project will be in accordance with Minn. R. ch. 7080, which provide the minimum standards and criteria for design, location, installation, use, and maintenance of subsurface sewage treatment systems.

If you have questions, comments, or desire additional information about the project, please contact MPCA Project Manager Timothy Schwartz at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 520 Lafayette Rd. N., St. Paul MN 56501. Timothy Schwartz can also be reached by phone 651.757.2426. Comments must be received within two weeks of publication of this notice in order to be accepted. Use your preferred relay service.


Your interest in Minnesota’s environment is appreciated.

Septic Ordinance FAQ
Septic System Tips
Understanding Septic systems - Power point
Septic Systems and Flooding
Area Sewer Professionals List
Low-Interest Septic Loan Information