A New Report published highlights one of the issues creeping up on the Twin Cities as well as greater Minnesota. Our infrastructure is getting old. This became real apparent when the I-35 bridge collapsed. But one that we take for granted and never think about it is decaying under our roads.
72% of the sewer systems in the Twin Cities are over 50 years old, with the average lifespan of between 45-50 years. You don’t need a calculator to figure that math out, we have some serious expenses in infrastructure replacement in our very near future.
I guess we think it is magic when we flush our toilets, but if we don’t address this infrastructure – our toilets will back up and fill our basements with raw sewage…
In the generation after the Second World War, as the United States economy expanded at an unprecedented and unparalleled rate,
cities expanded into suburbs and urban areas stretched out. Infrastructure, by necessity, grew in tandem. Government investment brought new electrical grids, expanded roads and bridges, the Interstate highway system, and sewer and sanitation infrastructure.
Over the past three decades, the perceived role of government at all levels has changed dramatically. Even reliably progressive
Minnesota has seen the tenor of its political culture shift to a more laissez-faire approach of governance. As a result, while the baby boomer generation settles comfortably into retirement, Minnesotans still rely on an infrastructure built during that generation’s youth. Much attention is paid to the infrastructure people are generally aware of and can easily see: transportation, energy, and telecommunications are the more hot button issues. However, we might be wise to be more concerned about the infrastructure that lies below the surface of our cities and towns.
The map below comes from the Met Council and it shows the Twin Cities Regions growth up to 1966 and the from 1966-2006. Look at the lighter color, that is development up to 1966. That is the approx area this report is saying the sewer system is beyond it’s lifespan. (some of the area may have been updated, but it is gives us a general idea).
Here is a map of current infrastructure projects in Minnesota.
Report available HERE
Kare11 Story about report
Perhaps we should reconsider the idea of a central sewer system? There is technology out there that can compost our waste, or even go back to individual septic tanks for each property. This may be an easier way to manage the replacement costs. What are your thoughts?