The Carver County Board has decided to hire not one but two inspectors to examine the controversial septic system at the county-owned Waconia ballroom to see if it is legal.
"That should leave no doubt in anyone's mind," said Commissioner Tom Workman, who will be among the board members who will select the duo to perform the inspections.
If the inspectors find the system is not in compliance, the county has estimated it could cost $200,000 or more to fix or replace it.
The unanimous board action Tuesday is an attempt to appease the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), which is investigating whether the septic system at the ballroom complies with state law and is at least 36 inches from the groundwater basin.
The MPCA ordered the inspection after Workman filed a complaint with the agency because he believed the ballroom's system is illegal.
Until Tuesday, the County Board had resisted Workman's efforts to have an independent inspection of the system. That changed once the MPCA order was received last week.
Board members, who have been dealing with the issue for more than a year, said the independent reviews will put the controversy to an end -- which, judging by their tone, they are eagerly anticipating.
"I don't want to spend more time on this," Commissioner Randy Maluchnik said during Tuesday's meeting. "I don't want this back in front of me."
The MPCA reviewed the county file on the system and also material submitted by Workman before notifying the county that there was not sufficient proof that the decades-old system is in compliance. The agency ordered that the inspection be done by Oct. 28 and that the findings be forwarded to its investigators within five days, or Nov. 3.
The county purchased the ballroom, also known as the Waconia Event Center, for $2.5 million last year with plans to make it part of the county's regional park system.
The controversy stems from the contention by Workman and others that the ballroom's septic system is closer to the groundwater than the 36 inches mandated by state law. The county maintains that the septic system is in compliance and has been certified as such by a state licensed inspector.
But critics point out that the inspector who certified it is the same man who installed it and have argued that any recertification should come from a neutral third party.
Heron Marquez Estrada • 612-673-4280