Minnehaha Park Area Regional Sewer Improvements

MCES Project No. 807629

Understandably, the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has raised questions about the status of Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) plant and interceptor construction projects. Please note the following:

  • Construction on wastewater treatment plants and sewer interceptors will continue. The contractors are following working environment protocols (asking employees to stay home if they are sick, social distancing, etc.) as outlined by public health agencies.

  • Some project staff are working remotely while others remain on-site to ensure proper oversight of the project. Staff will stay connected through emails, conference calls, and web-based meetings to manage construction activities.

Contact information

For information regarding construction, please call the construction hotline or send an email to the contact information listed on the bottom of that project’s website.

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While the response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, we will continue to monitor and review construction activities and conditions through our field inspectors and their on-site reporting.

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Minnesota's response to COVID-19

The latest information on the state’s response can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website.



Text Akert Icons Project Alert

Project Update - October 13, 2021 (PDF).  See previous Project Updates below.

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Project Description

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES), operator of the metro-area wastewater collection and treatment system, is making improvements to the existing and aging sanitary sewer system in Minneapolis. This sewer rehabilitation 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 1½ miles northwest of Coldwater Spring, a significant cultural and historic resource.

MCES will clean the tunnel, rehabilitate the existing tunnel, and upgrade the existing regulator and electrical vaults. The work will preserve the structural integrity of the tunnel and will minimize the risk of failure.

Construction began in November of 2019 and will be completed in late fall 2021. A robust temporary conveyance system will be in place during construction to direct wastewater around the work site. Some impacts to park users and residents may include: lights, noise, nuisance odor release, tree removals, construction vehicle traffic and equipment parking, lane shifts and temporary Hiawatha Avenue intersection closures, parking restrictions on Hiawatha Avenue frontage road, and a bike trail closure.

Groundwater Monitoring

MCES previously planned to replace the tunnel, and to start construction in 2017. Due to public concerns, 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.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), as delegated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), reviewed the facility plan amendment and determined the sewer rehabilitation poses no significant implications for preservation of historic and environmental resources, including Coldwater Spring. Therefore, the project is exempt from further Section 106 review. MCES will continue to coordinate with tribes, neighborhoods and other interested parties during construction.

The National Park Service will monitor water flows to Coldwater Spring Monday-Friday during construction even though no dewatering is expected. The National Park Service will regularly post the results of their monitoring on their website.

Minnehaha Park Area Regional Sewer Improvements Project: Project Area Map (PDF)


Minnehaha Park Area Regional Sewer Improvements Project: Project Information Sheet (PDF)

Draft Facility Plan Amendment - Emergency Relief Structure 04/1-MN-344 Tunnel Rehabilitation - March 28, 2018 (PDF)


Project Updates

Project Update - October 13, 2021 (PDF) 172 kB

Project Update - September 2, 2021 (PDF) 336 kB

Project Update - July 22, 2021 (PDF) 180 kB

Project Update - July 8, 2021 (PDF) 338 kB

Project Update - June 10, 2021 (PDF) 295 kB

Project Contacts

For more information, please contact:

Email: info@minnehahasewerproject.com
Phone: 612.405.5266

Tim O'Donnell, Project Citizen Liaison
Email: SewerImprovements@metc.state.mn.us
Phone: 651.602.1269 (Office) or 952.451.4689 (Cell)

Chad Davison, Project Manager
Email: chad.davison@metc.state.mn.us
Phone: 651.602.4031

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