Updated Map and Project Description - June 13, 2017. See Project Updates below.
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The existing regional sanitary sewer tunnel, built in 1935, is in need of rehabilitation. MCES plans to clean the tunnel, install a liner that will create a new sewer pipe within the existing tunnel, and construct a new regulator vault. The proposed work will preserve the structural integrity of the tunnel and will minimize the risk of failure. The proposed project is located along the north side of East Minnehaha Parkway, and the tunnel is located under Minnehaha Creek, Hiawatha Avenue and the METRO Blue Line light rail corridor. The existing tunnel is located 1 ½ miles northwest of Coldwater Spring, a significant cultural and historic resource.
MCES previously planned to replace the tunnel, and to start construction in 2017. The rehabilitation work that is now planned will start in 2018 or later. Due to concerns expressed by people last year, MCES performed additional technical studies to better understand the groundwater flow connected to Coldwater Spring, and to determine if the existing tunnel could be rehabilitated rather than replaced. MCES has determined that the existing tunnel can, and should, be rehabilitated (rather than replaced) to avoid the potential for impacts to groundwater flow to Coldwater Spring. A preliminary design report will be available for public review later this year.
MCES is working with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), as delegated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), to plan for fulfilling state and federal cultural resources requirements. MCES will continue to coordinate with tribes, neighborhoods and other interested parties as the project continues. We will also continue to post information about the project as additional information becomes available.