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Wastewater (sanitary sewer) collection

When sewage leaves a home or business it flows through service lines to the main sewer pipe in the street where gravity keeps it flowing downward. When the main line reaches a depth of 20-30 feet, a sanitary lift station pumps the sewage up to a higher level where the sewage begins to flow again by gravity to a central metering station. Approximately 10.5 million gallons of sewage move out of the city daily through pipes which average six inches to 48 inches in diameter.

The sewage flows into larger pipes, called interceptors, which are owned by the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES) group. The City's sewage flow passes out of the City near the intersection of TH 77 and Old Shakopee Rd. where it is conveyed under the Minnesota River, and ends up at the MCES's Seneca Treatment Plant in Eagan for processing and then is discharged back into the river.

Keep the wipes out of the pipes

Cloth-like bathroom wipes are cause for concern for Bloomington Utilities employees. Take a look at why wipes don't belong in the pipes.

You can also watch this video directly on YouTube:

Fats, oils and grease (FOG)

Operators of wastewater treatment and collection systems are all too familiar with the problems caused by the discharge of fats, oils and grease into wastewater systems. Bloomington's City Code, Metropolitan Council Environmental Services Rules and the EPA National Pretreatment Program specifically prohibit discharge of these pollutants in amounts that cause obstruction of the wastewater collection system.

Click the following link to learn more about the proper management and disposal of fats, oils and grease.

CenterPoint Energy Customers may receive sewer service line notifications.

Bloomington residents may receive a notification from CenterPoint Energy informing them of impending gas main installation in the street or in the boulevard near their home. They will be working in a limited area within the City and are working to enhance the safety and improve maintenance on the natural gas mains.

CenterPoint Energy may need to assess your property for an in-sewer camera inspection to verify the location of your sanitary sewer service prior to the work taking place. There is no charge for this inspection.

The CenterPoint Energy employee or contractor performing the inspections will carry a CenterPoint Energy identification card that includes a photograph.

For more information regarding City sewer and water infrastructure, please contact the City of Bloomington Utilities Division at 952-563-4568. For information regarding the CenterPoint Energy project, contact CenterPoint Energy at 612-321-5200.

Sanitary sewer dos and don'ts

The City of Bloomington has an aggressive and proactive sewer maintenance program that ensures proper disposal of sewage once it reaches the City's main lines. Last year, approximately 274 miles of sanitary main line were inspected and cleaned. In addition, 40 miles of main line were televised. The two main benefits of televising underground sewer infrastructure are: Utilities is able to evaluate the effectiveness of their maintenance procedures and gain insightful information regarding the physical deterioration of the main lines.

Due to this active maintenance program, the City encountered only seven sewer main backups affecting eight homes in 2011. The main sources of these problems were grease, roots and rags, which were inappropriately discharged into the sewer system.

Common causes of backups

In contrast, homeowners and business owners experienced 89 service line backups in 2011. This number is relatively low considering there are approximately 25,000 service connections. "The common cause of sewer service line backups is due to improper disposal of household items, such as paper towels, disposable diapers, cooking grease, and garbage disposal misuse," states Randy Poore, Utility Supervisor. Poore also stated that "garbage disposals should not be a garbage can replacement." Food debris such as fruit and vegetable peelings are notorious for creating slow-draining kitchen sinks. As these items move through the service lines and into the City's main lines, they have been known to create blockages in the sewer flow resulting in sewer backups into homes and businesses.

The Bloomington City Code includes an extensive list of what can and cannot be disposed into the sanitary sewer system (Sec. 11.31. Use of Sewers).

Maintaining individual service connections

The City is not responsible for the cleaning, maintaining, or repairing individual service connections to the main lines; the property owner bears the responsibility.

Contact the Utilities Division at 952-563-8777 anytime you experience a sewer backup. The City will check the sanitary sewer main line in the street. There is no charge for this service.

Sewer FAQ

What should I do if my sewer backs up?

Contact the Utilities Division at 952-563-8777, between the hours of 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. After hours, call 952-563-4905.

Where does my sewage go when it leaves my house or business?

The sewage leaves your home or business and flows through your service line to the main sewer pipe in the street. From there it flows by gravity along the main line in the street. If the main line reaches a depth of 20-30 feet, a sanitary lift station pumps the sewage up to a higher level where the sewage begins to flow again by gravity. The sewage continues moving through the system to a central metering station. From there it then flows under the Minnesota River, in a series of three sealed pipes ranging in size of approximately 30-40 inches in diameter, to the Seneca Wastewater Treatment Plant in Eagan which is operated by the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services.

Are the sanitary and storm sewer lines separated or combined?

Separated. The sanitary system generally travels along the center of the roadway and the storm sewer system generally runs approximately six feet off the center of the roadway.

Where should I direct my sump pump water?

Onto the ground outside the structure. Water from a foundation sump pump must be directed to the outside of the building and should be at least 10 feet away from the foundation to ensure that the water does not recirculate and return.

City of Bloomington and Minnesota State Plumbing Codes require that sump pump water not be discharged into a floor drain or laundry tub.

What are some of the oddest items Wastewater Collection has encountered while working in the sewer lines?

  • Food scraps - egg shells, banana peels
  • Jewelry, money and other valuables
  • False teeth
  • Toilet paper cardboard holder
  • Gasoline
  • Disposable diapers

See also