The Minneapolis Sewer System gets Revamped

Some pipes in the Minneapolis sewer system are reaching nearly a century old. Now, the city is doing something about it and Minneapolis homeowners are rather excited about the improvement on the city’s aging infrastructure.

This summer, the city is lining around seven miles of sewer pipes. This is a project that is designed to keep pipes from cracking and causing sewage backups.

One homeowner said that she received a letter from the city that said the sewers were not in the greatest shape. The letter explained that lining them could prolong their lives, which could save homeowners money.

The Director of Surface Water and Sewer, Lisa Cerney, says that some of the pipes in the sewer system actually date back to the 1800s. Her department is the one that uses underground cameras that can spot problems. When a problem is found, robotic technology performs the repairs with the help of a small camera.

Overall, the city has around 850 miles of sewer lines, making it very difficult to replace all of them. This is why the camera system is used. Through the camera system, problems can be spotted and fixed rather than trying to work on hundreds of miles of pipe, which would be very costly.

Cerney says the replacement of a single pipe can take up to two months, making the process a painful and expensive one. Relining is a process that can be done in a single day, which benefits the city and the individuals living in the vicinity of the repair work.

Nonetheless, the predicament in Minneapolis is one that plays out in cities all over the state. One-third of sewer systems in Minnesota are over 50-years-old and there are many reaching their breaking point.

In August 2012, researchers found that a quarter of Minnesota’s sewer systems are no less than 30 years old and as old as 50 years old.

Cerney said that the Minneapolis crews found that placing a soft fabric liner inside the old pipe was a cost effective solution. Heat and a chemical are applied to the liner, making it harden. This is the same as creating a new pipe within the old pipe and this can add 50 years to the lifespan of the pipe.

Homeowners in the areas being worked on are hopeful that they are receiving another generation of infrastructure. Homeowners have said there has been a foul odor coming from the new lining, but they said it is minor compared to the benefit that they will receive.

Homeowners do not have to worry about fitting the bill for the new sewer lining. However, the project comes at a cost of $1.5 million.