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JULY 2020

Mini History of the PFA Loan

When the PLAWCS system was created a loan was taken out for $3,649,000.00 from the State of Minnesota. The final payments were made by Grand Lake Township and Canosia Township on 6/26/20. When the system was created each property within the system that was connected paid a monthly assessment fee that was applied towards the loan, maintenance, etc. Those that have accounts in arrears are charged a 1.5% late fee, which equals to 18% annual late fee. PLAWCS makes multiple attempts to collect the fees. Each year, accounts that are in arrears by October 31st are sent to each town board to be certified to the next year's tax rolls. There is a one time penalty of 10% on all past due amounts once the account has been certified. The balances then get removed from the PLAWCS receivable list and get placed onto the St. Louis County property taxes the following year. PLAWCS then gets paid twice per year on these property tax payments. This process has essentially ensured that PLAWCS does not carry any unpaid monthly user fee balances at least once per year. Moving forward, users will continue to pay monthly user fees, etc. but will no longer be charged monthly assessments.


System Replacement and Modernization Efforts Continue

The PLAWCS system equipment is now 20 years old and some of it is beginning to show its age.  The board has been working over the last few years to replace the original lift pumps as they wear out and reach the end of their useful life.  We have replaced all the pumps in four of the five lift stations and have the fifth on the replacement schedule to be completed in the next few years.  These are the large main pumps that send the waste water to WLSSD for treatment and their role is critical to keeping the system operating.  This replacement work helps to insure that system reliability remains high.  This past fall, the alarm system which monitors the lift station pumps and alerts our technicians of equipment problems or failures was also modernized and replaced.  The old alarm system which was beginning to experience intermittent failures, operated with a two way radio system and a central computer in our office.  That system was retired and replaced with new cellular communications technology.  It is now easier for the technicians to monitor the alarms remotely.  Monitoring of water levels at the lift stations and monitoring individual pump operation has been added in the new system and will greatly aid in our trouble shooting efforts and in analyzing system operation.

The board reserves capital funds in the budget each year to be used for equipment replacements.  By working along with PeopleService and MSA Engineering, we will continue to monitor the condition of our system, as it ages, and use the construction fund to replace equipment as needed to keep the system running in good condition.

Submitted by Kurt Brooks, PLAWCS Board Member

Do Not Flush Reminders

Your Sewage Grinder Pump is capable of accepting and pumping normal wastewater. PLAWCS Ordinance advises the following items should NOT be introduced into any sewers via drains, toilets, kitchen waste disposals, showers, dishwashers, etc. If any non-acceptable items are discovered and/or cause a pump failure, the homeowner will be liable for any and all costs associated with the repair, also known as a Bill-Back.


  • Wet Wipes (Including ones that say "flushable")

  • Paper Towels (all brands)

  • Rags/Clothes/Socks/Fabric of any type

  • Food Waste/Coffee Grounds

  • Medications/Drugs

  • Glass/Plastic/Metal Objects                                                                                    

  • Lubricating Oil/Fuel Oil/Gasoline/Explosives/Strong Chemicals /Flammable Materials 

  • FOG (Fats, Oils Grease)                              

  • Condoms/Tampons/Sanitary Pads/Diapers

  • Solid Objects, including Toys

  • Groundwater/Stormwater

  • RV Waste

  • Sump Pump H2O                                                     

  • Fish/Animal Remains

Selling Your Home? If So, You Need This Sump Pump Form

Some of you may be aware that prior to selling property in other local municipalities that residents are required to have an inspection for sump pumps and private laterals. This has also been true for some time with regards to septic systems in St. Louis County. In 2019, WLSSD has mandated that all communities begin this practice in 2020. Starting January 1, 2020, you will need to have these inspections done in order to transfer property. That will include a sump pump inspection and a private lateral inspection.

PLAWCS has a form for licensed plumbers to fill out, which will certify that a sump pump inspection was conducted. These inspections will consist of the following:

  • A Visual inspection by and certification by a licensed plumber stating that any sump pumps or foundation drains (a.k.a. footing drains) present are not connected to the sanitary sewer lateral leaving the house.

Submitted by Joe Jurewicz, MSA Engineering


Customer Fees Beginning January 1, 2020

Concerning the private lateral inspection, the new mandate requires the following for Sanitary Sewer Laterals:

  • A camera inspection of the existing service, reviewed by and certified by a licensed plumber. The form must be accompanied by a copy of the video for confirmation at PLAWCS’ discretion.


This inspection, along with the sump pump inspection, must be completed prior to selling a piece of property within PLAWCS. WLSSD is asking communities to cycle through the individual lateral and sump pump inspections on an approximately 10-year return cycle. PLAWCS is hoping to complete this requirement by a combination of these inspections and supplementing them with their own inspections as needed to fill in the anticipated gaps on the over 400 connections. As a result, the PLAWCS Joint Powers Board approved a $1/month increase to the monthly customer fee to account for some of the expected costs of inspection and administering the program to maintain compliance. If you have questions regarding this program, or the fee increase associated with it, please feel free to contact Amber, the clerk, or one of the Board members these new mandates, please contact the PLAWCS clerk or attend one of the monthly regular board meetings that are held on the last Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m.

Submitted by Joe Jurewicz, MSA Engineering

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