Cook County to use Clean Water Legacy grant to inspect septic systems on east end of Cook County

Cook County has been awarded Clean Water Legacy Grant funds that will allow it to inspect 162 lakeshore septic systems on three lakes on the east end of Cook County.  Since 2001, inspections have been done on lakeshore septic systems in the West End, just north of Grand Marais, and up the Gunflint Trail.
Properties along McFarland, Greenwood, and Tom lakes in Hovland will be inspected. 
The grant is for $126,125, with the county providing a match of $31,531 in the form of in-kind services.  This amounts to an inspection cost of $973 per system.
On April 9 County Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson told the county board that to help homeowners come into compliance, property owners with noncompliant septic systems will be able to obtain low-interest loans from the county that can be paid back over time with their property taxes.
The county currently has a two-page septic ordinance that is being revised to conform to new state septic requirements.  Only two things automatically trigger septic inspections at this time:  the addition of a bedroom (a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rule) and permit requests on shore land (a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources rule).
If a system is found to be noncompliant, the state gives property owners two years to come into compliance.  If they do not, they can be referred to the County Attorney’s Office for enforcement.