Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative
The lack of sewage treatment in some small communities in Southeast Minnesota is causing surface water and groundwater pollution. Fourteen of these communities will be the target of the technical assistance provided by this project. These communities have community or individual straight pipes discharging raw sewage directly into the environment;surfacing sewage or have sewage contaminating groundwater.
Working closely with county staff and local elected officials, technical assistance will be provided on the steps needed to upgrade sewage treatment systems. These steps include identifying sewage treatment system options and funding, forming sewer districts, preparing ordinances, and developing operation and management plans.
With the assistance provided by this project, eight communities will construct new community sewage treatment systems, which will eliminate 330,950 gallons of untreated sewage per day from entering the Lower Mississippi River and Cedar River Basins (120 million gallons per year). An additional six communities will receive technical assistance to start projects to upgrade their sewage treatment systems. These projects will make significant progress towards the achievement of the Lower Mississippi River Basin TMDL for Fecal Coliform Bacteria.
The 20-member BWSR board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens. Members are appointed by the governor of the state of Minnesota consistent with Minnesota Statutes 103B.101. Board members at the time the grant was made were: County Commissioner Appointees: Quentin Fairbanks; Tom Loveall; Brian Napstad; Soil and Water Conservation District Appointees: Paul Langseth, Louise Smallidge and Bob Burandt; Watershed District or Watershed Management Organization Appointees: Gene Tiedemann, LuAnn Tolliver and Todd Foster; Citizen Appointees: Paul Brutlag ; Gerald Van Amburg; John Meyer; Cities & Townships: Sandy Hooker -Township; Christy Jo Fogarty -Metro City; Keith Mykleseth -Non-Metro City; Agency: Chris Elvrum - Minnesota Department of Health; Rebecca Flood - Pollution Control Agency; Tom Landwehr - Department of Natural Resources; Matt Wohlman - Minnesota Department of Agriculture; Faye Sleeper - Minnesota Extension Service;
Wayne Zellmer -BWSR Grants Coordinator; Matt Drewitz -BWSR South Region Clean Water Specialist; Art Persons -MDH Planning Supervisor Drinking Water Protection; Jeff Hrubes -BWSR North Region Clean Water Specialist; Marcey Westrick -BWSR Metro Clean Water Specialist; Julie Westerlund -DNR Clean Water Coordinator; Robert L. Sip -MDA Environmental Policy Specialist; Anna Kerr -MPCA -Stormwater / TMDL Coordinator; Nick Proulx -DNR Central Region Clean Water Legacy Specialist; Karen Evens - MPCA -Watershed Projects Manager; Joshua Stamper -MDA Research Scientist, Pesticide & Fertilizer Management; Norman R. Mofjeld -MDA Hydrologist P.G. Well Management Section;
(b) $3,000,000 the first year and $3,000,000 the second year are for targeted local resource protection and enhancement grants. The board shall give priority consideration to projects and practices that complement, supplement, or exceed current state standards for protection, enhancement, and restoration of water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams or that protect groundwater from degradation. Of this amount, at least $1,500,000 each year is for county SSTS implementation.
Completed sewage treatment systems in eight communities Six communities working towards constructing a new sewage treatment system
The communities of Roberds Lake, Kings Park and Bixby completed wastewater treatment solutions during this grant period, and the community of Greenleafton has begun construction. As of the end of this grant in December of 2014, twenty two (22) communities have completed construction on projects to solve their wastewater treatment needs with assistance of the SE MN Wastewater Initiative(SEMWI). The grantee continued work with eight other communities and began working with seven new communities during this grant period, for a total of nineteen communities helped during this grant period.
The Cannon River Watershed Partnership received an award for Community Innovation from the Bush Foundation for the work of the SE MN Wastewater Initiative. The Cannon River Watershed Partnership's website link to the SEMWI is: http://crwp.net/work/sewersquad/
The source of additional funds varies from project to project, but generally consists of federal, local and non-public sources.