Septic Compliance

About Compliance Inspection

A compliance inspection is used to determine if a septic system meets local and state requirements. The inspection must be conducted by a state-licensed inspector. The inspector looks at the septic tank(s) to determine if they are watertight. The inspector reviews the drainfield to ensure it has the minimum required vertical separation between the bottom of the drainfield and the periodically saturated soil or bedrock. Additionally, the inspector checks to see if the system is functioning properly overall. If the inspection passes, a certificate of compliance is issued.

When You Need One

Most property transfers that include a home in Sherburne County requires the septic system to be newer than five (5) years or a passing septic compliance inspection completed on the system within the past three (3) years. In addition, any building permit request, other than maintenance permits (i.e re-roof, re-side, furnace), requires that the septic system on the property is newer than ten (10) years or a passing compliance inspection completed on the system in the past ten (10) years.

Who Can Do It

Find and contact a state-licensed septic professional.

Why It's Failing

Often times we hear of systems "working" or that homeowners have never had a problem with the system despite the fact that an MPCA licensed inspector just failed it. A septic system is not only considered failing if it is discharging sewage to the ground surface or backing up into a dwelling, but it can also be failing if the bottom of the drainfield has less than the required vertical separation distance to the water table or any other restricting layer. MN Rules 7080.1500, Subp. 4, further explains compliance criteria.

Is your system failing? If so, you are required by State Statute to bring the septic system into compliance. Failing septic systems are categorized into three (3) groups, each with a different compliance timeline. See the table below for the compliance deadlines associated with each.

Failing Category
Compliance Deadline - from date of non-compliance
Failure to Protect Groundwater
18 Months
Imminent Threat to Public Health
10 Months
Public Nuisance
10 Days


View more about Financial Assistance for Failing Systems.