June 16, 2020
On January 1, 2020, the Crow River Organization for Water (CROW) was dissolved when Minnesota became the One Watershed, One Plan initiative. The CROW served 10 counties in a joint power capacity – Carver, Hennepin, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Sibley, Stearns, and Wright. The mission of the CROW was to improve the water quality of the Crow River Basin through education and collaboration with its partners and citizens.
One of the initiatives the CROW has taken over many years has been the administration of a low-interest Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) program through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Clean Water Partnership. The program enabled homeowners with non-compliant or defective sewage treatment plants to obtain low-interest loans to repair or replace them.
Bill Stephens, Wright County’s environmental health officer, met before the Wright County’s Board of Commissioners on June 16 to request the option to continue the SSTS program.
“I’m here asking the board to pass a resolution so we can apply for the Clean Water Partnership loan program,” said Stephens. “This is for a low-interest septic loan program that we have been running for 10 years. However, we got our funding through the Crow River Organization of Water. They were the organization that actually obtained the loans through the MPCA. Since then, we have broken up.” have to do it yourself now. ”
The County Board unanimously approved a resolution allowing Stephens to apply for MPCA funding to keep the program operational in Wright County. The county will apply for $ 500,000 in funding over a three-year period.
Commissioner Mike Potter praised the effort as the reporting documents estimated that 19 percent of Wright County’s wastewater treatment plants were failing or non-compliant. Given the value of water resources to the county, maintaining the program is vital to continuing efforts to keep lakes, rivers and streams in the county free of septic runoff.
“This is important to Wright County,” said Potter. “We have a lot of lakes and we want to keep them clean. This is the path for people with underground sewer problems to balance them. It has been a challenge for Wright County and many places for a long time. This is one of those programs that I love.” support because it helps us all. “
Stephens said the program was well received by residents of the county and helped repair many septic tanks, helping to protect water quality in Wright County. He added that his office is merely picking up the baton from the CROW to prevent the loan program from going away.
“I would like to thank the Crow River Organization of Water very much for putting us on this program,” said Stephens. “We just want to continue it ourselves.”
This news release was prepared by the Wright County government. The views expressed here are the author’s own.