Frequent water main breaks in Minnesota suburbs spotlights aging infrastructure problems

(UI) – According to the Star Tribune a break in one of St. Louis Parks’ water lines flooded over 50 homes with over a million gallons of water and sewage in 2021.  The culprit? Aging water and sewer infrastructure that was built in the 1960s.

The Star Tribune reported that an investigation from an outside firm found that water main break in St. Louis Park occurred due to corrosion. The city has set aside $4 million for resident relief to help homeowners repair and replace belongings damaged by the flooding.

While the water systems operated efficiently for several decades, residents in surrounding towns like Excelsior and Bloomington are paying for the infrastructure failures in higher property taxes and water and sewer rates.

In St. Louis Park, officials are seeking money from the Biden administration’s 2021 infrastructure bill to repair parts of the city’s 160 miles of water mains. In addition, the city invested $400,000 into an inspection machine to locate weaknesses in water infrastructure.

While maintaining an updated water system may change future spending plans, St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano hopes that last year’s flooding events will make repairing the city’s infrastructure an urgent matter.

"I hope this changes the discussion around priorities," he said. "When you have stood in someone's basement and seen baby blankets and photo albums soaking wet and piled on the ground, it changes your perspective,” Spano said, according to the Star Tribune.

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