By Sheila Craig, Southern Community Facilitator, January 2, 2018
Construction of a 23-home shared cluster treatment system for residents of Cedar Beach became operational the end of 2016. During 2017 the landscaping was completed, kinks worked out of the system to mitigate noise and smell issues with the Certification of Final Project Completion and Acceptance signed on November 6, 2017.
Cedar Beach is a sub-division in Oronoco Township, Olmsted County and lies along the shores of Lake Zumbro. The area was identified through an Olmsted/Wabasha County survey of properties touching Lake Zumbro which found some septic systems with straight pips and others in need of updating how wastewater was being treated. This sub-division then formed into a Subordinate Service District where only the properties benefiting from the improvements will be paying for the costs of the new updated sewer service.
Grants and loan assistance came from the Land & Legacy Funds through the MN Public Facilities Authority. The project received a $749,688.75 Point Source Implementation Grant, a $245,823 Small Communities Wastewater Construction Grant, and the remainder of the project costs as a low-interest Small Communities Wastewater Construction loan. The property owners are being charged 1.5% on this loan payable on taxes over 20 years. The cost of the loan to each property was $13,316, plus interest. The Operation, Maintenance, & replacement cost for the project is $475 per year and can be raised as needed by Oronoco Township which owns the sewer system. Oronoco Township provides the governmental oversight and manages the system for the residents.
The new sewer system includes a grinder pump at each home, a collection system, septic tanks with pretreatment at the treatment site, and mound construction for the final treatment. The pre-treatment helps reduce the size of the mound and provides better protection for the groundwater.
The new community system has already allowed one property owner to build a new garage in the location that she would have previously had to save open for future sewage treatment.