North St. Paul experiences sewage backups

Met Council sewer line hits full capacity, forces discharge into pond

During a week of frequent downpours, a few unfortunate North St. Paul homeowners experienced some lasting repercussions.

After a central sewer line hit full capacity Thursday, June 19, some of North St. Paul’s lower-elevation homes experienced sewer backups in their basements.

“The Met Council sewer line was at capacity; all of their lines were at capacity,” said Jason Ziemer, North St. Paul city manager, last Friday. “Our system was working, but the Met Council system was full, so there was no place for the water to go. The unfortunate part is that some of it goes into homes (when the system is so overloaded).” 

City officials deliberated how to handle the crisis, and ultimately decided that discharging into the Urban Ecology Center pond, which is located north of South Avenue and west of McKnight Road, was the best course of action. According to the most recent figures, they released approximately 450,000 gallons into pond. The city was able to end the emergency pumping into the pond at about 9 p.m. that Thursday.

“For the most part, instead of actually backing up, they just weren’t draining,” said North Saint Paul public works director Scott Duddeck. “It got into a few homes, and as a result, we had to put some of it into the pond.” The city didn’t have an estimate last week on how many homes were hit with sewer backups.

According to reports, other cities that experienced water flow and backup issues as result of record-breaking rainfalls were those located around Lake Minnetonka, including Orono, Mound, Excelsior, Wayzata, Minnetrista, Victoria, Chanhassen, and Maple Plain. Other cities affected by sewer and flooding issues included Chaska, Savage, Burnsville, South St. Paul, Forest Lake, St. Bonifacius, Hopkins, Plymouth, and New Hope.

Due to worries of more flooding if the region receives additional rain this week, North St. Paul public works crews were checking to make sure basins were clear and draining properly.

Ramsey county officials are also looking into a possible connection between the sewer backups and a potential outbreak of E coli bacteria at the swimming beach at Lake Gervais Park in Little Canada. (See related story below)

You can reach Tim Faklis at 651-748-7814, at, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.


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