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Eighteen years after their dedication, Dave Barry sewage pumps need work

A plaque outside Dave Barry Lift Station Number 16, which Grand Cities leaders dedicated to the longtime Miami Herald humor columnist on Jan. 23, 2002. Joe Bowen/Grand Forks Herald
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A Grand Forks sewage station named after a humorist could use some work.

Civic leaders from both sides of the Red River named Dave Barry Lift Station Number 16 after the longtime Miami Herald columnist on Jan. 23, 2002. The station, which Mayor Mike Brown and others dedicated amid a tide of sewage puns, was last fixed up more than a decade ago and is due for another rehab, according to city staff.

But that will need to wait in line while higher-priority projects are pushed through ahead of it.

Until then, Grand Forks Public Works staff might replace the station’s drives, which are mechanisms that turn on and regulate its pumps.

“If the drives can get us two or three years down the road, that’s how far we’d probably take it,” Assistant City Engineer Mark Walker told the Herald on Thursday, the 18th anniversary of the station’s dedication. Walker said the station is working well, generally.


Grand Forks and East Grand Forks leaders invited Barry to town after he mocked a plan to drop “North” from North Dakota and the Grand Cities’ “where the earth meets the sky” tourism slogan.

During his visit, Barry toured the region, went ice fishing and headed to a large-scale potluck while trading good-natured barbs with locals.

He also toured the pump station, which he described as “stinky,” but “warm stinky.”

On Thursday, Barry wrote on Twitter that he has never been prouder.

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

You can reach him at:
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