On-Site Septic Systems
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Septic Systems: After a Flood


SSTS classes

Individual sewage treatment systems (SSTS) are commonly know as septic systems. The purpose of a septic system is to treat sewage from your household. Proper treatment of wastewater reduces health risks to humans and animals and prevents surface and groundwater contamination.

The Dodge County Environmental Services Department through Chapter 21 of the Dodge County Zoning Ordinance and MN Rules Chapter 7080, 7081, 7082 and 7083 regulates the design, permitting, installations and inspections of Individual Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS).

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NOTICE!! GRANT FUNDING - Grant Funding is for low income households with failing septic systems. See Application for eligibility criteria, or for more information please contact Elizabeth (Crane) Harbaugh at 507-635-6302.


All new septic systems require a permit from Dodge County, Zoning permits will not be issued until the septic permit is received. Checklist for obtaining a septic system permit:

  1. Hire a Designer to complete a site evaluation and design for your new septic system.
  2. Hire a Septic Installer to install your septic system. Click on the Septic Professionals list to view a Dodge County list of state-licensed persons.
  3. Submit a permit application to Dodge County with the proper fee. Most septic professionals will have the forms and submit them to the county.
  4. The permit will be reviewed and, approved or denied, by the county. Zoning permits will not be issued until the septic permit and proper fee is received by the SSTS department.
  5. The installer may proceed with construction after permit approval is received.
  6. The installer is responsible for notifying the Environmental Services Department 24 hours in advance of construction for an inspection.
  7. Upon completion of the inspection, a Certificate of Compliance will be documented and mailed to the homeowner, installer and kept on file in the Dodge County Environmental Services Office.

Chapter 21 of the Dodge County Zoning Ordinance requires a septic system compliance inspection:

  • Prior to adding livable space to an existing dwelling (existing system must be properly sized)
  • When replacing a dwelling (existing system must be properly sized)
  • When adding a bedroom to an existing dwelling (existing system must be properly sized)
  • If a written complaint is received.
  • When a discharge is observed during construction within the road right-of-way.
  • Prior to the sale or transfer of property. (If a property has a "Certificate of Compliance" on file with the county another inspection is not required if it is 10 years old or newer.) Call our office to verify our records.

Please remember that when tranferring property you must ALWAYS fill out the Dodge County Disclosure Form that is located on the Septic Forms page.

"Compliance Inspection" is any evaluation, investigation, inspection or other such method to determine if the SSTS:

  1. Discharges sewage to a seepage pit, cesspool, drywell, or leaching pit;
  2. Has less than 2 feet of soil or sand between the bottom of the drainfield and the saturated soil or bedrock; or
  3. Poses an imminent health threat by: discharging to the ground surface or by causing sewage to backup into a dwelling or other establishment.

Who can perform a compliance inspection?
Compliance Inspections must be completed by individuals with a state license as an "Inspector". Compliance inspections cannot be done by the owner of the system. Click here to view a list of licensed inspectors. Please arrange for an inspection ahead of closing; professionals are very busy and may not be able to do inspections without sufficient notice.

Results of Compliance Inspection

  1. If the inspection indicates that the SSTS is not in compliance, a "Notice of Noncompliance" must be provided to the property owner and the County (or governing agency) within 15 days.
  2. If the system presents an imminent threat to public health the "Notice of Noncompliance" must include a statement to this effect and the property owner must upgrade, replace or discontinue use of the SSTS within 10 months of receipt of the notice. See specific requirements below if the inspection is for a property transfer.
  3. If a system does not comply with applicable requirements or meet the required 2 ft soil separation for existing systems, the property owner has two years from the date of the notice to bring the system into compliance. See specific requirements below if the inspection is for a property transfer.

Follow Up of Compliance Inspection During Property Transfer

  1. If the inspection is for the transfer of property, a "Sewage Disclosure Form" must be filled out and attached to the "Certificate of Real Estate Value" at the time of transfer of title and a copy delivered to the Environmental Services Dept. This does not require a fee.
  2. If the septic system in not upgraded before the property is transferred, a "Sewage Responsibility Form" must be filled out at the time of transfer of title and delivered to the Environmental Services Dept. This does not require a filing fee. An escrow account must also be set up according to the Chapter 21 of the Dodge County Zoning Ordinance.  
  3. If the new system is not completed by title transfer the county requires:
     -  150% of the average cost of a new system to be escrowed.  (Call Dodge County for the amount)
     -   If you have a proposal for a new system escrow is 125% of the proposal.
     -   If you have a firm bid for a new system escrow is 110% of that bid.
  4. In the times of the year when the ground is frozen and a compliance inspection cannot be completed, the seller or buyer must establish an escrow account to be used for completion of a compliance inspection of the existing system and replacement of the system.  The Compliance Inspection of the existing system must be submitted to the Department by June 1st.  The escrow account shall be established in a financial institution mutually agreed upon and may be jointly controlled by seller and buyer.  The escrow will be released upon Department receipt of a Certifcate of Compliance for the sewage treatment system.   The amount deposited in the escrow account shall be determined by the Environmental Services Department. Dodge County must be named in the escrow document as the release agent.
 Fee Schedule for Septic Permits
 Tank Only (Includes Holding Tank)                                                           $200.00                  
 Standard Trench System                                                                                $380.00
 Mound or At-Grade                                                                                          $430.00 
 Shared or Commercial                                                                                    $0.40/gpd design
 Type IV System                                                                                        $650.00 (includes up to 2 inspections) 
 Additional Site Evaluation Fee                                                                   $150.00
 Additional Inspection Fee                                                                             $150.00
 Annual Operating Permit Fee                                                                     $85.00
 Annual Operating  Fee - Community Systems and >2500              $135.00   
After the Fact Permit                                                                                       Triple the original fee


Dodge County requires soil verification before septic permits can be approved.

  • Professionals that perform soil evaluations must call Dodge County at 507-635-6272, BEFORE completing the soil evaluation to set up an appointment to meet a county employee at the site. The soil will then be evaluated and two separate soil reports generated. Do not call for verification if a permit application is not being applied for. You may give a homeowner a bid without having the soils verified - just be sure verification is completed before permit submittal.
  • Permit applications must be submitted with two soil reports: One report from the professional hired to complete the evaluation and one report verified by Dodge County. 
  • Permit fees reflect the cost of 1 soil verification.
  • If the site is changed, or additional soil verification is needed there will be an additional fee charged to the applicant. See fee schedule for amount.  

 AgBMP Low Interest Loans Available for Septic Upgrades

  • The applicant must qualify financially through AgStar Farm Credit or a participating lender.
  • Loans are issued at 3 percent interest.
  • Can be used for Septic System repair and replacement.

The County must apply for the loans and issue them within a specified time frame, so the loans may not always be available. If interested, please call the Dodge County Environmental Services Department at the Government Services Building, Toll Free 1-888-600-5169 or direct at 507-635-6272.
See grants and loan page. 

How to Care for your Septic System:

Septic Smart
Septic Info for Homeowners