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Governor Walz Unveils Package to Improve Water Quality, Infrastructure in Local Jobs and Projects Plan

Second of Four Packages Prioritizes Replacing Aging Infrastructure and Upgrading Water Treatment Facilities to Protect Public Health, Environment, Economy

1/11/2020 4:10:15 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced the second of four packages included in his Local Jobs and Projects Plan, focusing on improving /governor/assets/Building%20One%20Minnesota%20-%20Water%20Quality%20and%20Infrastructure_tcm1055-416037.pdfwater quality and infrastructure across the state. The proposal invests $300 million to replace aging infrastructure and upgrade water treatment facilities to protect public health, the environment, and the economy of local communities. This proposal includes $293 million in General Obligation Bonds.

“Every Minnesotan deserves access to clean, safe water,” said Governor Walz. “Yet aging infrastructure threatens the safety of our drinking water, the vitality of local communities, and the quality of the lakes and rivers we treasure as Minnesotans. This investment will allow communities across the state to repair infrastructure, prepare for severe weather events, clean up existing water contamination, and upgrade facilities to prevent pollution from happening in the first place.”

The water quality and infrastructure package will help cities — many of them small, outstate communities — that cannot afford to upgrade water systems needed to clean pollutants from their water without increasing residents’ water bills. This funding will help cities and other local governments construct wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects, which range from replacing aging infrastructure to upgrading treatment facilities. These water infrastructure systems are essential to protect public health and the environment while sustaining the economic vitality of communities. It will also improve climate resiliency in communities across Minnesota by helping them prepare for extreme weather events as a result of climate change.

“There is nothing more frightening than not being able to trust the water coming out of your faucet,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “That’s why our Local Jobs and Projects Plan is focused on protecting Minnesotans and their loved ones from health crises caused by water pollution or property damage caused by burst pipes.”

Responding to urgent requests from communities in every corner of Minnesota, Governor Walz’s capital investments proposal includes more local projects than any bonding bill in state history. Yesterday, the Governor announced proposed investments in safe and affordable housing. In addition to improving water quality and infrastructure, the Local Jobs and Projects Plan will also bolster public safety and invest in higher education institutions to prepare Minnesota’s future workforce.

Governor Walz knows that local projects mean local jobs. That’s why he believes we need to make these critical capital investments in communities across the state and ensure all Minnesotans enjoy a high quality of life, regardless of race or zip code.

Please see the allocation of funding for water infrastructure and quality below. 

 

PUBLIC FACILITIES AUTHORITY

State Match for Water Infrastructure Federal Grants 
The Governor recommends $25 million to match an estimated $125 million in federal funds for water infrastructure grants, and to increase lending capacity in the Clean Water and Drinking Water Revolving Funds. State and federal funds are used with loan repayments and Public Facilities Authority revenue bonds to provide low interest loans to communities for clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects across Minnesota. Eligible projects are prioritized based on environmental and public health criteria.

Water Infrastructure Funding Program 
The Governor recommends $100 million for the Water Infrastructure Funding (WIF) program, which provides supplemental assistance grants to communities that meet affordability criteria and receive Public Facilities Authority loans or water financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program. These grants help communities build clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects, while keeping costs affordable for residents.

Point Source Implementation Grants Program 
The Governor recommends $75 million for the Point Source Implementation Grants (PSIG) program, which provides grants to communities to help pay for water treatment plant upgrades to address water quality restoration and protection goals. These grants help communities construct wastewater, storm water, and drinking water treatment projects when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) determines that higher levels of treatment are necessary to meet water quality goals.

MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY

Sustainable Communities and Climate Resiliency 
The Governor recommends $15 million for grants to municipalities to build sustainable and resilient stormwater infrastructure, with a focus on managing extreme weather events. Preference would be given to projects that demonstrate a connection to local climate goals, improving water quality, or minimizing the risks from extreme weather events.

Esko Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site 
The Governor recommends $1.2 million for cleanup of groundwater contamination at the Esko superfund site as part of MPCA’s program to address legacy contaminants. This will fund predesign, design, the excavation of contaminated soil, and the treatment of contaminated groundwater.

Removal of PAH-Contamination Stormwater from Pond Sediments 
The Governor recommends $2 million for financial support to communities for removal of sediment contaminated by polyaromatic hydrocarbon from stormwater ponds. Municipalities dredge ponds and dispose of the sediment to restore capacity and improve the effectiveness of treatments.

Precision Plating State Superfund Site 
The Governor recommends $6 million for cleanup of contaminants at the Precision Plating State superfund site as part of MPCA’s program to address legacy contaminants. This funding includes the predesign and design, and demolishes the existing site building to access and excavate the contaminated soil, which will require acquiring a property interest. It also uses a groundwater treatment injection technology.

METROPOLITAN COUNCIL

Inflow and Infiltration Grant Program 
The Governor recommends $5 million for grants to municipalities for public infrastructure improvements to reduce inflow and infiltration into local and regional wastewater collection systems.

WATER AND SOIL RESOURCES BOARD

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program 
The Governor recommends $16.5 million for the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to acquire permanent easements in ecologically sensitive areas, which will help improve water quality and wildlife habitat. The federal government will provide a two-to-one match for this appropriation.

IRON RANGE RESOURCES AND REHABILITATION BOARD

Water Line Replacement 
The Governor recommends $8.646 million to upgrade, construct, and support a new infrastructure system for the snow making process at Giants Ridge. The current piping at Giants Ridge is 30-years-old – beyond its expected useful life. Failure of the lines due to the system's age would have a negative impact on Giants Ridge and the communities in the Iron Range that depend on the tourism economy from ski visitors. The project will increase efficiency, restore failing underground infrastructure, and enhance safety on the hill during snow making operations.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROJECTS

Lake City: Hok-Si-La Park Water and Sewer Extension 
The Governor recommends $587,000 for a grant to the City of Lake City to extend a water and sewer connection to Hok-Si-La Park, a regional park located in Lake City, MN. This project will facilitate additional park improvements and remove the existing septic system near Lake Pepin. The total project cost is $1.175 million.

Mankato: Valley Opportunities 
The Governor recommends $12.385 million for a grant to the City of Mankato for riverbank stabilization and erosion control along the Minnesota River and Indian Creek, and for improvements to the Minnesota River Trail and Riverfront Park. The total project cost is $16.157 million.

Mankato: Water Quality Mitigation 
The Governor recommends $4.15 million for a grant to the City of Mankato for improvements that reduce erosion and improve water quality in the Minnesota River-Mankato watershed, specifically by restoring wetlands. The total project cost is $8.3 million.

Minneapolis: Central City Storm Tunnel 
The Governor recommends $19 million for a grant to the City of Minneapolis for a new tunnel to add hydraulic capacity which will reduce the risk of tunnel failure and the potential for sanitary releases into the river. The total project cost is $38 million.

Wayzata: Lake Effect Boardwalk Project 
The Governor recommends $10 million for a grant to the City of Wayzata for a boardwalk and for ecological restoration along the shoreline on Lake Minnetonka in downtown Wayzata as a part of the Lake Effect Project. The total project cost is $22.409 million.

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