Investments in wastewater infrastructure pay off in water quality, public health, livability
Sewer pipes and treatment plants, like other infrastructure, need updates and maintenance. That means investment, construction, and some inconvenience in places in and around Mound, Hopkins, Roseville and Saint Paul, to name a few communities where work has been done. The work helps to protect water quality, public health and livability.
The wastewater collection and treatment system in the Twin Cities metro area is heralded as one of the best in the country, with eight treatment plants, more than 600 miles of regional sanitary sewer pipes and an estimated replacement value of $7 billion.
“The region’s wastewater system is largely built out, so the focus now is primarily on maintaining and renewing the system we have in place,” said Jeannine Clancy, an assistant general manager in the Council’s Environmental Services Division.
Council launches major capital investment program
In 2013, the Council stepped up the pace of work to update and improve aging wastewater collection and treatment facilities and launched a 10-year, $1 billion regionwide capital investment program.
“We’re on a mission,” said Clancy. “Natural resources and amenities are at the heart of why we live here and key to the region’s success and prosperity. That’s why these investments are so critical.”
Dozens of projects span the seven-county region, either in the works or in the queue. The work is done in collaboration with other governmental partners, often to incorporate road work and other local maintenance. This helps to ensure construction happens at one time and avoids duplication and disruption as much as possible.
An efficient, cost-effective wastewater treatment system
The regional system collects and treats about 250 million gallons of wastewater a day from 109 metro area communities and 2.6 million residents. Wastewater is conveyed to the regional system of pipes and plants via about 5,000 miles of sewers that local communities own and maintain.
To pay for investments in the regional wastewater collection and treatment system, the Council secures Minnesota Public Facilities Authority loans and/or issues bonds that are repaid with wastewater user fees that MCES collects from across the region. Charges to customer are among the lowest in the country compared with similar-sized systems.
More information about Metropolitan Council Environmental Services
Recent newsletter stories about some the Council’s wastewater capital investments