Metropolitan Council Environmental Services has a strategic plan to rehabilitate or replace interceptor sewer pipes, starting with those in the worst condition. This strategic plan ensures that we preserve and renew our wastewater collection assets, protect the environment, and protect the health of people in the region.
Met Council engineers rated the condition of nearly two miles of interceptor pipes in Brooklyn Park along the Mississippi River as poor or very poor and requiring immediate attention. Interceptors, part of our regional wastewater collection system, can collect wastewater from a broad geographic area.
The Brooklyn Park regional sewer rehabilitation project has two sites, one along Riverview Lane and the other along Mississippi Lane. Along Riverview Lane, we lined existing interceptors using a process called cured-in-place pipe. This method helps avoid large amounts of excavation by using existing pipe and maintenance holes to insert the liner.
Along Mississippi Lane, we are removing the interceptor and replacing it with a larger diameter pipe. At both sites, maintenance holes are being repaired or replaced.
“This project is one of our more challenging interceptor rehabilitation projects,” said Jeannine Clancy, assistant general manager for Environmental Services. “The location of the project within a developed neighborhood, the presence of existing utilities, the need to coordinate work with private property owners, and the depth of the interceptor system all added to the complexity of the project. I am proud of the work that our Environmental Services team is doing to ensure that the project will be completed in a timely manner and meets the expectations of Brooklyn Park.”
Partnership results in fewer disruptions and improved service
The Met Council is committed to be a good neighbor and limit the impacts of construction projects on area residents and businesses, as well as improving overall wastewater collection service.
Many interceptor repair or replacement projects require construction of a temporary conveyance system to transfer the ongoing wastewater flow around the construction area. Sometimes, the shortest route isn’t the best one. To avoid placement of the at-grade temporary pipes on a high-use recreation trail along West River Road, the Met Council, the City of Brooklyn Park, and the contractor agreed to an alternate route for the temporary pipes that allowed the trail to remain open for most of the construction period.
In Brooklyn Park, several properties were connected directly to the regional interceptor system, which is not typical. There, we installed new local sewer pipes to convey flow from these properties into regional interceptors, which is standard practice throughout the region and greatly reduces the risk of sewer backups and odors. We also coordinated with Brooklyn Park to upgrade some of the local water and storm sewer pipe in the project area. Completing local and regional projects at the same time helps reduce the disruption to nearby residents and businesses.
Project staff get creative with communication during pandemic
COVID-19 has changed normal practices for everyone, and wastewater construction is no different. Project staff have been creative and found new methods for communicating construction updates with neighbors that keep everyone safe and healthy.
Every other week, project staff have been available outdoors at a nearby park for “pop-up meetings” on the construction. “There is no agenda, we are simply there to provide residents the chance to walk up and ask any questions they may have or discuss concerns they would like addressed in person,” said Sarah Hachey, principal contract administrator. “We have been able to meet and resolve many issues with these meetings.” The outdoor space allows staff and residents to maintain proper physical distancing but still provides a valuable face-to-face interaction.
Environmental Services always gives residents notice prior to any change in water service, driveway closures, or other disruptions that may require additional planning at the household level. Typically, that notice has been provided by a door hanger placed on the residence, in additional to traditional mail and email notices.
To account for COVID-19 precautions, project staff in Brooklyn Park have been using yard signs to share immediate updates with residents. They are also sending out weekly emails to subscribers with project updates and impacts they can expect in the coming week.
Project anticipated to be completed ahead of schedule
Originally anticipated to be completed in summer 2021, this project is currently on track to be finished in November 2020. Area residents can expect to see final installation of pipes or pipe lining, road restoration and paving, driveway apron installation, and curb and gutter installation. Environmental Services will also begin seeding disturbed areas and remove the temporary conveyance piping.
Restoration activities, such as seeding, planting, and landscaping, will take place in spring 2021, when seasonally appropriate. The new and rehabilitated interceptors will be back in service before the end of the year.