‘Fix The Pipes!’ Coalition Asking for Water Infrastructure Funding in MN

The city of Detroit Lakes is hoping to replace a lift station if the bonding bill passes.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A failing water infrastructure system has leaders across Minnesota begging the legislature to address a problem that they say has been ignored for too long.

“We have seen cities that are at their wits end in terms of keeping their sewage treatment plants together,” said Senator David M. Senjem.

Those leaders formed an organization to help fight for funding in the bonding bill, they call it Fix The Pipes.

According to the group, $300 million is what the state would need to approve in this latest Bonding Bill in order to solve issues like pipes that leach toxic chemicals into drinking water, aging water treatment facilities, and faulty storm water infrastructure that could cause flooding.

“A lot of this stuff was built in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Its wore out, and it needs a lot of help,” said Senator Senjem.

The threat of toxic chemicals like lead entering the water supply threatens a lot of older communities, like Duluth, and St. Paul.

The coalition says that the benefits of funding the infrastructure extend far beyond health, and will provide a significant economic impact to the state.

“The last two bonding bills have actually included a significant increase in the amount of money for water and wastewater infrastructure over historical levels. We have seen the backlog of projects in Minnesota that need money reduced by a billion dollars because of that,” said Craig Johnson, the Intergovernmental Relations Representative for the Minnesota League of Cities.

According to data provided by Fix The Pipes, infrastructure projects funded by the bill would create 7,200 jobs across Minnesota, and help restart the economy after the COVID-19 crisis.

Many communities currently need funding for water infrastructure projects, and the initial $300 million investment would create a $1.8 billion economic impact.

“We can put a dent in this, if we have a historic increase in the base amount of funding we are doing. It’s going to take a sustained effort,” said Johnson.

The city of Detroit Lakes is hoping to replace a lift station if the bonding bill passes.

The total cost of that project would cost $185,000.

Categories: Minnesota News, Politics / Elections