Mound Mayor: Met Council Ignored Requests to Upgrade Sewer Line Capacity

Updated: 06/03/2014 3:53 PM By: Jay Kolls

The mayor of Mound and a state senator who represents the area are blaming the Metropolitan Council for the recent dumping of raw sewage into West Metro lakes. 

The lakes affected include Lake Minnetonka, Dutch Lake and Langdon Lake. Mound Mayor Mark Hanus tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that "this did not have to happen."

Hanus says cities all across the Twin Cities metro, including Mound, are required to use the main sewer lines operated by the Met Council. But, Hanus says, those Met Council sewer lines are filled to capacity and the council has ignored repeated requests to upgrade the capacity of those sewer lines.

"The Met Council has misplaced priorities because they are more concerned about building train lines and building tunnels than taking care of more important needs like improved sewer lines," Hanus said.

Minnesota Sen. Dave Osmek, (R) Mound, agrees with Hanus; Osmek used to sit on the Mound City Council and now represents the area affected by the raw sewage mess. Osmek says he plans to meet with Met Council officials "because they have promised us upgraded sewer lines for 10 years and they have not done it."

Osmek tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that "they are responsible, for this, and they will take responsibility." Osmek says the Met Council has told Mound that the improvements will not happen until 2016 at the earliest and might not be done until 2018.

The Met Council released this statement:

"Cities around the metro area operate wastewater pipes and pumps that move wastewater from residences and businesses into the regional wastewater collection and treatment system which is run by the Metropolitan Council. The overflow over the weekend in Mound was caused by overwhelmed pumps and pipes in both the local and the regional wastewater systems. We know that the Council's regional system was in continuous operation over the weekend and was operating above its designed maximum capacity. The Metropolitan Council also provided staff and equipment to assist the City of Mound by pumping wastewater out of the Mound system and the regional system and trucking it to another point in the regional system where it could be discharged without further overloading the system.

"The Council has been and continues to make improvements to the regional wastewater system in Mound, but past and future planned improvements would not have prevented this spill because it resulted from extremely excessive amounts of rainwater seeping or flowing into the sewers. Many communities, including Mound are struggling with too much clean water (ground water and storm water) entering their sanitary sewer systems. The Council is assisting cities with tackling this problem at the local level by reducing the levels of excessive clean water entering the sewers, rather than building large and far more costly amounts of additional capacity to handle the occasional extreme rainfalls. The Metropolitan Council offers a grant program, funded by the Minnesota Legislature, and other assistance to cities in dealing with this problem."

At least 20 other cities made the move to release the untreated sewage to ease up overwhelmed sanitary sewer systems, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The following is a list of wastewater treatment plants, according to the MPCA: