Joint-city wastewater interconnect project flowing forward
East Grand Forks and Grand Forks are getting closer to signing on the dotted to finalize a sewage treatment agreement between the cities. The cost of service agreement for Grand Forks to treat wastewater piped from East Grand Forks is expected to...
East Grand Forks and Grand Forks are getting closer to signing on the dotted to finalize a sewage treatment agreement between the cities.
The cost of service agreement for Grand Forks to treat wastewater piped from East Grand Forks is expected to make its final rounds between the two cities' councils this month, leading to the start of a nearly $11 million construction project.
Tuesday night's joint city council meeting marked the second time this year representatives from both gathered publicly to discuss the project.
"I think as communities, I think we're doing a better job of getting together and talking about issues," Grand Forks City Council President Dana Sande said.
The cost of service agreement will be given a preliminary look this coming week in both cities and could receive final approval from the councils later this month.
Once the agreement is signed, East Grand Forks would advertise bids for a contractor sometime in March or April. Crews could start building the wastewater interconnect this spring and have a significant portion of the work done by the end of the year, Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland said.
East Grand Forks would take the lead on construction, though Grand Forks will step in once it reaches the North Dakota side of the river. Those construction costs would be charged back to East Grand Forks as a connection fee to the sewage system.
East Grand Forks City Council members approved a resolution Tuesday declaring the city's intent to pursue a $10.6 million loan from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority's Clean Water Revolving Fund/Drinking Revolving Fund to pay for the interconnect project.
The estimated total project cost of $10.8 million covers joining the two systems, including the installation of pipes and other equipment, and the decommissioning of East Grand Forks' lagoons.
Sewage taking a trip through the interconnect would be pumped from the area near the East Grand Forks wastewater lagoons to a new pump station. The sewage would then cross the Red River in a pipe installed 50 feet underground and would join up with Grand Forks' sewage collection system near the intersection of North Columbia Road and North Washington Street.
From there, waste would head west to Grand Forks' wastewater treatment plant on North 69th Street.
Once the system is running, Grand Forks officials expect to treat about one million gallons of wastewater a day from East Grand Forks, with capacity for up to 1.2 million gallons per day.
Grand Forks treats seven million gallons of sewage each day, which includes a hefty portion from its industrial customers, Feland said.
Cost estimates compiled earlier this year put the annual treatment bill for East Grand Forks around $400,000.
When the cities last met on Jan. 14, city staff and council members discussed the issue of ownership and maintenance once the pipes cross the state border. At Thursday's meeting, Feland noted East Grand Forks would own the pipe on the North Dakota side until it hits the dry side of Grand Forks' levee.
Once the project is completed, the ownership of that section of pipe will transfer to Grand Forks, he said.