Klobuchar, Smith Announce over $13 Million in Rural Development Funding to Improve Water Systems and Wastewater Management in Minnesota

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded grant and loan funding to Minnesota totaling $13,206,000 to improve water systems and wastewater management the cities of Easton, Isle, Dumont, Verndale, and Wood Lake.

“These investments in our water infrastructure are an important step forward to replace aging water and sanitary systems in our state and ensure public health,” Klobuchar said. “Investing in the cities of Easton, Isle, Dumont, Verndale, and Wood Lake will continue to benefit our waterways, water infrastructure, environment, and economy for years to come.”

“Water systems and wastewater management are essential parts of our infrastructure,” Smith said. “But if they’re not up-to-date, then it puts our health and public safety at risk. This funding will help make critical improvements in Minnesota, including the construction of a new water tower in Verndale, the removal of asbestos cement in Dumont’s water system, and the replacement of wastewater and collection pipes in Easton. I’ll be following this important work closely.

A loan of $2,914,000 and a grant of $2,005,000 for the City of Easton will be used for phase one of water, wastewater, and storm water system improvements in the city. The existing water distribution system was originally built in 1904 and has experienced numerous breaks due to age. It is estimated that ninety percent of the sanitary sewer collection system is over 60 years old. Overall, the existing sanitary sewer mains are in very poor condition, have reached the end of their useful life, and need to be replaced. Phase one will replace existing water distribution and wastewater/ sewer collection pipes. The water main improvements include replacing the existing 4-inch cast iron mains and installing new hydrants. The sanitary sewer mains will be replaced with new pipe of the appropriate size for the system. These improvements will meet current Great Lakes-Upper Mississippi River Board’s “Ten-states Standards”.

A loan of $2,230,000 and a grant of $858,000 for the City of Isle will be used to improve existing water and wastewater infrastructure. The current water system uses three groundwater wells and two elevated storage tanks to supply the water distribution system. This project will allow the city to demolish two of the groundwater wells by redeveloping the remaining well for improved distribution efficiency. The system’s back-up generator will be replaced to ensure the system continues to run despite loss of power. One of the elevated water storage tanks will be abandoned and the remaining tank will be upgraded with new controls and equipment. In addition to replacing the existing water mains, the lines will be extended, and new water meters will be installed. The wastewater collection system will be replaced and extended. A central control system will be installed, and the backup generators will be replaced at 3 locations.

A loan of $200,000 and a grant of $1,080,000 for the City of Dumont will fund water and sewer improvements in the city of Dumont. The existing water & sewer systems are currently in violation of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) standards. A portion of the current water distribution system is over 50 years old and is made of deteriorating asbestos cement and cast iron. The sewer collection system includes septic tanks and small diameter gravity collection, which is failing and has resulted in frequent bypass events that resulted in the MPCA violation. This project will replace the asbestos cement and cast ion water main and the small diameter gravity collection sewer system.

A loan of $261,000 and a grant of $237,000 for the City of Verndale will be used to construct a new water tower and install water meters. The existing water tower was built in 1948 and only has a capacity of 50,000-gallons. The tower does not meet current standards and it would require numerous upgrades to bring it up to standards. The new water tower will have an increased storage capacity of 75,000-gallons. Routine maintenance of the new tower will prevent costly rehabilitation and provide decades of reliable water pressure and fire protection for the City.

A loan of $1,482,000 and a grant of $1,939,000 for the City of Wood Lake will fund phase one of improvements to water, sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure. The existing water system has experienced an extremely large number of documented water main breaks. Additionally, the wastewater system has been issued a letter of warning by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for permit violations. This project will replace aging infrastructure and ensure the health and sanitation of water and wastewater distribution for the surrounding community.