By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

County Commissioner Lee Rogness led discussion with fellow board members on April 25 regarding the Annual Emergency Management Summit that took place last month at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls.

Neighboring governmental officials from the Alexandria area, led by Douglas County Emergency Management Director Julie Anderson, reviewed the tornadoes that hit Douglas County in May 2022. 

Rogness noted the struggle that property owners had with cleanup and insurance coverage of debris that ended up in Alexandria area lakes. 

“With Otter Tail County and its more than 1,000 lakes, we need to review what protocols are in place to address these types of unintended consequences should they take place here in our county,” Rogness said.

County commissioners will work with Otter Tail County Emergency Manager Patrick Waletzko to review what protocols are in place to address the types of unintended consequences that took place in Douglas County.

County Sanitation Code

changes in the works

Otter Tail County Resource Management Director Chris LeClair reviewed with county commissioners, on April 25, the proposed ordinance revisions to the

Sanitation Code for subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS).

Included were regulations on the location, design, installation, use and maintenance of SSTS in Otter Tail County. A public hearing was held for comments about the proposed revisions to the Sanitation Code. 

Public comments included concerns about timeframe, financial burden and interpretation of the deadline regarding the change from 24 months to 12 months for replacement of a failing SSTS. Also expressed were concerns about the pumping reporting deadline of 90 days. 

The public asked for clarification on the county’s official soil verification dates and clarification on why the non-shoreland vertical separation is changing from 3’ to 2’ when it’s currently a 3’ separation county-wide. The public advocated for the landowner to have the option to have the system replaced in its original location.

A suggestion was made for the county to keep the 50 percent rule but eliminate verbiage regarding lot lines to allow landowners and septic designers to make decisions without applying for a variance draft.

The proposed revisions to the Sanitation Code as presented by Land and Resource Management were scheduled for further consideration on May 9.