Water Works Wisdom

Maple Grove is updating its Comprehensive Plan to comply with the regional plan Thrive MSP 2040, which Water Resources Policy Plan component envisions an integrated approach to planning for wastewater, water supply, and surface water management.  A local example of integrated planning is the Great River Energy headquarters use of rooftop collection system to supplement its restroom needs.  A State agency objective for 2040 is to reuse wastewater for non-potable water supply, like irrigating ballfields.

White Bear Lake is the poster child for concerns about unsustainable use of groundwater resources.  Lake, wetland and calcareous fen impacts; well interference; and declining groundwater level projections provide motivation to consider reusing wastewater to reduce the demand on groundwater resources.  An obstacle to the reuse of wastewater is separate systems to collect and re-supply it on a large scale, which the City is not planning to do.  It is possible to bypass the dish and bath water of individual properties to rain-garden filter bed or cistern drain field, however in-home treatment of “grey water” is not yet practical practice for urban environment.

Local planning priorities include removing clear water inflow to the sanitary sewer system (prohibited sump drain connections) and water conservation (lawn irrigation). Another responsibility is to remove substances that do not belong in the wastewater:  fats, oils, and grease (FOG); expired/unused prescription drugs and other medications; hygiene and beauty products; disposable wet wipes; cigarette butts; household hazardous wastes and other chemicals (pesticides, fertilizer, etc.).   Some of the above items present treatment challenges for discharge to Mississippi River or for reuse.

The objective is to think and act differently in how we use water.  Consider “smart” irrigation controls for new or rehab irrigation systems, and drought tolerant grass seed mix and landscaping materials.  The future is now.

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