Septic Systems

Low Interest Loans and Grants

Big Stone County has been allocated grant funding to upgrade non-compliant septic systems for low income families. Eligible applicants could receive 75-100% cost share for replacing their failing septic systems by submitting a grant application along with proof of income from their most current IRS tax return. Ag BMP Low interest loans are also available to fund out of pocket expenses for installing septic systems or other Ag best management practices. An AG BMP loan application must be submitted and approved prior to the construction of the system. Funding for both of these programs is limited and distributed on a first come, first serve basis so applicants must be proactive in pursuing funds.

Septic Systems

The county has regulated individual septic treatment systems for years. In 1996, the State required that all septic systems designers, installers and pumpers become licensed and counties adopt a Septic Treatment Ordinance based on MN Rules Chapter 7080. The county issues permits based on a design submitted by a licensed designer. If the design is legal a permit is issued and installation may occur. Final inspections are done by the county to insure installation is done according to the design. Inspections are also done if complaints are registered on suspected failing systems that may be causing an imminent public health threat. Sellers must also provide inspections by a licensed inspector to buyers prior to the transfer of property in the county. Contact a licensed designer, installer or pumper from the area or contact our office with further questions.


Certain exemptions apply to property transfer inspections.

Section 4.43 states that it is the responsibility of the seller to provide an inspection of the septic system to the buyer at or before the closing. The inspection must be done by a MN licensed inspector.

  • The tract of land is without buildings or contains no dwellings or other buildings with plumbing fixtures.

  • No Certificate of Real Estate Value needs to be filed with the County Auditor, per MN Statutes, Chapter 272.115.

  • The sale or transfer completes a contract for deed entered into prior to the effective date of the Ordinance. (Original vendor/vendee only)

  • Any dwellings or other buildings with running water are connected to a municipal wastewater treatment system.

  • A valid Certificate of Compliance is on file in the Environmental Office. A Certificate on a new system remains valid for 5 years while existing systems that are inspected and pass remain valid for 3 years.

  • The system consists of a holding tank and a MN licensed pumper pumps the tank and inspects it for cracks and leaks and signs a Certified Statement that the tank is watertight. A copy of the invoice is filed with the Environmental Office just like a Certificate of Compliance.

Proper Design

The county regulates all septic systems in the county, including those within city limits. Contact a licensed designer, installer or pumper from the area or contact our office with further questions. Effective 2015 construction season, designs must be submitted on computer generated design forms from the University of MN {requires Microsoft Excel} which pre-populate calculations throughout the design paperwork, whereby eliminating mathematical errors.