Wastewater Utility

Prior to the 1970s, untreated sewage was dumped in rivers, often resulting in public health crises and poor water quality. Today, our wastewater undergoes extensive treatment to protect human and environmental health.

metroplantsteamWHERE DOES OUR SEWAGE GO?
With every shower, load of laundry, and flush of the toilet, wastewater is produced. This water is transported by ~100 miles of City-owned sanitary sewer to a regional interceptor, which takes it to the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saint Paul (pictured right; photo provided by Metropolitan Council Environmental Services). This facility treats around 170 million gallons of wastewater from 66 cities and townships each day. The water is treated to levels safe for discharge into the environment and then released into the Mississippi River.


Fats, oils, and grease (or FOG) naturally result from cooking various foods. When poured down the drain, FOG eventually cools and separates from other liquids inside sewer pipes. FOG builds up inside pipes and restricts flow, which leads to sanitary sewer overflows. The best way to protect your home and community from sanitary sewer overflows is by disposing of FOG in your trash or compost.


Sanitary sewer infiltration occurs when groundwater enters the system through damaged pipes or sewer cleanouts, while inflow occurs as a result of inappropriate connection of drainage devices like sump pumps and roof drains. The term "I&I" refers to the combined contributions of both, which can reduce wastewater treatment effectiveness, overwhelm treatment plants with too much flow, and in some cases, cause the sanitary sewer to overflow. The City performs sanitary sewer relining to address aging and potentially damaged sewer lines.