County Board approves advanced inspector contract with Stearns County

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer


The Morrison County Commissioners approved entering into a contract with Stearns County for advanced septic system design review and installation inspection. Though Morrison County has inspectors, a different level of training and expertise is necessary for certain systems.

“A system designed to treat over 2,500 gallons of sewage per day or designed to handle high-strength waste is required to be reviewed and inspected by a certified advanced inspector,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber. “The current cost of obtaining the license and the continuing education requirements is over $1,000, in addition to travel and lodging expenses and time away from the office.”

The contract with Stearns County will be utilized on an as-needed basis; expenses will only be incurred if a system requiring advanced design review and inspection is installed. Some venues requiring this type of system include large camps, restaurants and industrial settings. There is a 2,500 gallon per day threshold requiring that a large system be used.

“On the rare occasions this particular service is needed in Morrison County,” said Planning and Zoning Supervisor Amy Kowalzek, “this will already be in place. We need this for one system about every five or six years.”

Work done by Stearns County will be billed at $50 per hour plus mileage expense.

“Amy was prompted to set this agreement up for those very rare occasions when this service is needed, without incurring a high cost,” said County Administrator Deb Gruber.

“The Minnesota Pollution Control Association (MPCA) is acknowledging that there are counties like ours where this need is rare,” Kowalzek said. “They may have funds available for us to cover the occasions where we need to go outside Morrison County to have those inspections completed.”

“We have a very limited need for advanced inspector services; however, we are required to provide it. The cost to license someone and the ability for that person to keep their skills current is cost-prohibitive given the limited need, so we looked to work with Stearns County. The ability to work across county boundaries to provide cost effective and more efficient solutions for doing business isn’t a new concept. We always try to look for ways to ensure we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Gruber said. “This is an example of that.”


  Other business that came before the Morrison County Commissioners Nov. 20 included:

• Adopting a resolution to accept grant funds to use for enhancement of the 800 megaHertz communication system in the city of Little Falls through the use of a simulcast system and additional tower;

• Approving a request from Steve and MaryBeth Trapp for a refund of public hearing fees in the amount of $250, half of the amount paid;

• Approving the continuation of a $40 annual levy for residents of Fish Trap Lake, as requested by the Fish Trap Lake Improvement Association;

• Approving an annual gambling permit for the Little Falls Exchange Club at the Boomerang Bar on Haven Road;

• Approving a request to post a vacancy internally for a Public Works sub foreman in Pierz;

• Adopting the proposed 2013 County Board meeting schedule;

• Accepting the resignation of Elda Mae (Bunny) Johnston as county recorder, effective Dec. 31; and

• Closing the meeting in order to discuss ongoing labor negotiations strategies.

The next County Board meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 6 in the board room at the Morrison County Government Center. The date was changed due to a conflict with another meeting.