Homes on Lake Minnetonka are flooded with sewage – again.
Rising rivers, heavy rainfall and saturated soils continue to work against many wastewater drainage systems throughout Minnesota, which has caused nearly 200 communities and businesses in the state to release sewage to prevent it from backing up into homes, reports say.
Earlier this month, Mound city officials released sewage water into three area lakes, including Lake Minnetonka, to help prevent sewage from backing up into 900 homes. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has an explainer that details these sewage bypasses – click here to read more.
But more than 40 homeowners near Cook's Bay told KSTP and city officials that the sewage bypass didn't work, and their homes have become uninhabitable after being flooded with sewer water multiple times in recent weeks. Some of the homeowners told the news station that they have contacted lawyers and will take legal action if they don't get help from officials responsible for treating and disposing of their wastewater.
City officials are blaming the Metropolitan Council for not upgrading the capacity of the sewer lines, while Met Council denies being at fault. The city is holding a meeting with the Met Council on July 2 to discuss these sewer issues, and the public is welcome to attend, according to a release on the city's website.
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Over the weekend, residents in Norwood Young America were warned that the city's drains were essentially not working after nearly 9 inches of rain caused sewage to backup into people's homes, MPR News reports. Heavy rains also damaged the city's lift station, which will need to be replaced. Repairs to the sewer system could run into the seven figures, MPR notes.
Wendy Turri, the program manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, told the Star Tribune that 189 communities and businesses have been forced to release sewage, which is a "very high number." And she's expecting this trend to continue as rivers continue to rise and crest around the state.
This is just one of the many problems that has come from the recent heavy rains. Floodwaters have covered roads across the Twin Cities, closing major highways and bridges, and damaged homes and businesses. Gov. Mark Dayton traveled to four metro-area cities Tuesday to inspect flooding and meet with local leaders, KARE 11 reports.
Delano City Manager Phil Kern told Dayton that the city has spent $250,000, or 10 percent of its city's budget, in the last five days as they've worked to hold back the floodwaters, the news station says. The Crow River in Delano crested at 21.02 feet Tuesday.
Other rivers in the area are expected to crest later this week. The Pioneer Press reports that the St. Croix River in Stillwater is expected to crest Friday at 87.6 feet, and the Mississippi River at downtown St. Paul, which has already flooded Harriet Island, is expected to crest Thursday at 20.5 feet.
And more rain is on the way, which could raise high water levels on rivers and lakes throughout the state.
"We're going to get back into a pattern of some potentially heavy rainfall from showers and thunderstorms on the weekend – most likely late Friday and Saturday," Craig Schmidt, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, told the Pioneer Press.
One to 3 inches of rain is possible for central and southern Minnesota. The Twin Cities could see a return of flash flood warnings and mudslides that closed roads and flooded basements last week, the newspaper notes.