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Minnesota towns need $ billions for aging sewer systems

20% of small communities cannot afford wastewater costs.

Posted: Jan. 29, 2018 1:09 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A state survey says Minnesota communities will need almost $5 billion to fix aging sewer systems in the next 20 years.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency surveys communities every two years about wastewater infrastructure repair needs. The 2017 survey estimates a 15 percent increase from the 2015 survey, which projected a $4.2 billion need.

Cara Omana is an environmental specialist with the agency. She says only 5 percent of the costs are related to meeting higher water quality regulations. Omana says most of the funds are to fix aging or inadequate pipes and pumping systems.

The survey found that about 20 percent of cities with less than 1,500 residents reported being unable to afford wastewater costs.

Gov. Mark Dayton has asked for $167 million in his water infrastructure bonding proposal.

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