The Metropolitan Council has created a task force to determine guidelines for a new grant program to reduce the inflow and infiltration of stormwater and groundwater from private property sources into the municipal and regional wastewater systems.
Inflow and infiltration of clear water into the wastewater system, especially during major storm events, can overload the system and cause costly sewer backups into homes and buildings. It can also cause sewage overflows into rivers and lakes.
A law passed by the 2022 Minnesota Legislature authorized the Met Council, other sewer districts, and townships to make grants or loans to property owners for inflow and infiltration reduction. Cities have had that authority since 2020.
Task force members have wide range of expertise
Met Council member Wendy Wulff will chair the task force. Members include a mix of staff from small to large cities and townships in the metro area, both those with inflow and infiltration issues and those without. Patricia Nauman, executive director of Metro Cities, will also serve on the task force. Other task force members:
- Scott Anderson, utilities superintendent, Bloomington
- Heather Butkowski, city administrator, Lauderdale
- Angie Craft, director – surface water and sewers, Minneapolis
- Bruce Elder, sewer utility manager, Saint Paul
- Jim Hauth, public works superintendent – utilities, Columbia Heights
- Ron Hedberg, finance director, Apple Valley
- Erik Henricksen, project engineer, Chanhassen
- Eric Hoversten, city manager/director of public works, Mound
- RJ Kakach, assistant city engineer, Golden Valley
- Jennifer Levitt, city administrator, Cottage Grove
- Russ Matthys, public works director, Eagan
- Chad Millner, engineering director, Edina
- Eldon Rameaux, inflow and infiltration inspector, West St. Paul
- Dale Reed, public works director, White Bear Township
- Shelly Rueckert, finance director, St. Anthony
- Matt Yokiel, public work superintendent, Newport
The group will meet monthly and is expected to issue a report in the second quarter of 2023.
The grant program is expected to be financed with wastewater treatment user fees under the Met Council’s Pay-Go funds (not from capital bonding, for example). The task force will recommend the level of annual funding for the program and what is eligible for the I/I grant funds.
Tackling private property sources is essential to reducing risks
Communities and the Met Council have invested more than $270 million over the last 20 years to repair public sewer pipes, maintenance holes, and other infrastructure to reduce the problem. And while these efforts have made a measurable difference, until private property sources are addressed inflow and infiltration will remain a threat to homes, businesses, and the environment, said Kyle Colvin, manager of planning and community programs for the Met Council’s Environmental Services division.
Investments to reduce inflow and infiltration at the source are much more cost-effective than expanding the wastewater system to accommodate the unnecessary conveyance and treatment of stormwater, which would cost an estimated $1 billion.
Watch a presentation to the Met Council’s Environment Committee about the history of regional efforts to reduce inflow and infiltration and proposal of the new task force (starting at 54:08)
Information about inflow and infiltration and public education materials