North Dakota Department of Health

This grantee was part of the Center’s Implementation and Impact Measurement Program

North Dakota has four regional networks that share environmental health activities related to on-site septic systems (OSS). The networks planned to develop uniform ordinances and share inspection and enforcement activities among public health units within each network.

The impact measurement project was aimed at estimating the number of new residential units that should have been inspected (based on the local ordinances in effect) and the number of inspections actually conducted, as well as the number of permits approved for newly installed systems after each network became functional. The project also tried to determine the cost and the number of existing OSS inspections in each of the participating local public health units before and after the implementation of the network ordinance/fee schedule. The project team also planned to assess the level of satisfaction of the OSS installers after a new, standardized licensure process was introduced. Due to difficulty in data availability, these plans had to be revised and some measures could not be calculated.

The project team estimated that the cost per inspection of septic systems using a network was $70 less than the cost each local public health unit would have faced independently, due to economies of scale. The new, standardized licensure process introduced as a result of the creation of the networks was favored by most inspectors, despite possible increases in inspector and customer costs.

For more details about this impact measurement initiative, please email us at phsharing@khi.org.