If you own a home in rural Saint Louis County and are considering selling it at some point this winter, you'll want to take this bit of advice from county officials:  Have your septic system inspected now before the ground freezes.

The County updated its septic ordinance earlier this year in order to comply with recent changes in state rules. The new ordinance requires a point of sale compliance inspection to ensure that septic systems identified as Non-compliant or Imminent Threat of Public Health receive necessary upgrades in a timely manner.

“We encourage property owners, even if they’re only considering a possible move over the winter, to get your system checked now,” said Mark St. Lawrence, St. Louis County Environmental Services director. “Having that certificate of compliance in hand – and most septic systems in the county are in compliance – will help the sale process go more smoothly. And it’s always a good idea to make sure your system is functioning as it should.”

As part of the point of sale requirement, any property conveyance that occurs when a septic inspection isn’t possible due to frozen soil conditions requires a Transfer Agreement, which includes an agreement to complete a compliance inspection by the following June 1, and a copy of an escrow agreement to ensure the funding of a replacement system if the inspection indicates one is needed.

If, once the septic system is inspected, it’s found to be in compliance, the escrow account is absolved upon notification from the Environmental Services Department that the existing system does not need to be upgraded. If the septic system does not pass inspection, a permit application and replacement design must be submitted and the system upgraded within the timeframe specified in the ordinance.

For more details and to get answers to your county-related septic questions, click here.