The dirty work must be done

Sewer rehabilitation work will start this month in neighborhoods east of Johnson Parkway between Case Avenue and Beech Street. A second project area will be south of Interstate 94 along Highway 61 and Warner Road. The sewer lines will have a resin layer added to the inside to combat corrosion.

In a continuation of repairing and rehabilitating sewer lines in St. Paul, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services will be starting sewer work this month in neighborhoods near Interstate 94 on the East Side. 

The project is being split between two sites: an area between Case Avenue and Beech Street, the Middle Beltline Interceptor, and along Highway 61 south of I-94 and along Warner Road, the Lower Beltline Interceptor. 

The work will rehabilitate sewer lines that have been shown through recent inspections to have significant corrosion and issues with structural integrity, according to the project website. 

In 2014, a portion of the sewer line near Lake Phalen Regional Park, near the intersection of Phalen Boulevard and Johnson Parkway, collapsed and caused a sinkhole. Following emergency repairs to fix the problem, sewer lines in the area were inspected and rehabilitation was planned.

Other sewer line work took place in 2016 and 2017 in Lake Phalen Regional Park and at the Phalen Park Golf Course. 

The recent and future sewer work uses a technology called cured-in-place pipe, which project documents describe as being “compared to turning a sock inside out.” A resin material is installed inside the existing sewer pipe, adding a new layer to its inside.

The cured-in-place pipe process is less disruptive than other options because it doesn’t require digging up or replacing the whole pipe. Crews only need to dig in a few spots to access pipes and to set up temporary pumps. 

While the sewer line is being improved, large black pipes and pumps will be used as temporary sewer pipes during the work.

According to the project website, the work will begin this month and should wrap up in June of 2020. Work near Penny Park and Parkway Middle School will be completed during the summer of 2019. 

While the work is paid for by the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, neighbors may be affected in other ways, including noise from the temporary pumps and machinery, odors related to sewer work, and temporary parking interferences at the Department of Natural Resources headquarters off Warner Road. Some trees will be removed as well, and new trees will be planted after the work is completed in coordination with the City of St. Paul. 

Overall, the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services operates eight wastewater treatment plants and over 600 miles of sewer pipes that flow into those plants, serving the Twin Cities. 

For more information call 651-603-4727, send an email to, or go to


– Marjorie Otto can be reached at 651-748-7816 or at Follow her on Twitter at @EastSideM_Otto

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