Invest in water infrastructure: #FixThePipesMN
At FMR, we believe that every Minnesotan deserves access to clean and safe drinking water and healthy lakes and rivers.
Unfortunately, many of our water treatment systems, wastewater plants and other structures were built 50-60 years ago and are in dire need of replacement. The costs of such fixes are often far too large for individual towns and communities to bear alone. Minnesota needs to invest now — before these systems crumble — to protect public health, our lakes and rivers, and our economy!
For our water
FMR is excited to be a part of Fix the Pipes, an alliance of business, environment, local government, engineering and trade groups from all across Minnesota. While we don't always agree on everything, we all agree that clean water is essential for life and health.
That's why we're joining together to ask Minnesota lawmakers to #FixthePipesMN and pass a comprehensive bonding bill in 2022 that includes at least $300 million to replace and improve aging water infrastructure.*
This package will protect public health, provide clean drinking water, mitigate flooding and reduce the amount of pollution and untreated sewage entering rivers, ponds and lakes across Minnesota.
For our economy
As Bree Halverson of the BlueGreen Alliance put it at a Fix the Pipes press conference, "Repairing water infrastructure in communities around the state is the perfect opportunity to create good-paying jobs and protect the health of Minnesotans. It's also an opportunity for the communities to adapt to the effects of climate change, maintain access to safe drinking water, and adequately treat storm wastewater."
Halverson added that data compiled by the Alliance shows these water infrastructure investments will create approximately 7,200 jobs statewide. Alliance estimates also show the total economic impact generated in urban, suburban and rural Minnesota communities would exceed $1.8 billion.
That means every dollar spent on improving the state's water infrastructure will generate an estimated $6 in return.
Work on many of the projects could begin immediately pending legislative approval.
For our communities
Many of the projects under consideration involve fixing or replacing wastewater treatment and drinking water treatment systems throughout Minnesota.
Wastewater plants help reduce pollutants like mercury, a potent environmental toxin, and phosphorus, which turns our lakes and streams green with algae in summer. While drinking water treatment systems help ensure water is treated to remove pollutants like nitrate and bacteria that can make us sick.
Highlights of the roughly $300-million proposal include community support to:
- Supplement high-cost wastewater and drinking water infrastructure,
- Share the costs of constructing wastewater, stormwater and drinking water treatment projects, and
- Build more sustainable and climate-resilient stormwater systems.
- Plus, a state investment to secure additional federal funds for low-interest water project loans.
This investment will build on our successful 2020 efforts to secure legislative support for funding to fix the pipes in Minnesota.
You can help!
Become a River Guardian
Sign up to become a River Guardian, and we'll let you know when important river issues arise. We make it quick and easy to contact decision-makers and make your voice heard. River Guardians are also invited to special events, including happy hours, to learn more about important legislative and metro river corridor issues.
Keep up to date
We write regular Water program and Legislative updates about key environment and water quality issues. You can find them on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and in our e-newsletter, Mississippi Messages.
Check out the full slate of FMR's legislative priorities.
(*): Minnesota can issue what are known as "general obligation bonds" to pay for these capital investment projects. Essentially, the state borrows money at extremely low interest and pays the debt over the course of years, rather than spending a lump sum of its budget immediately. This is a standard best practice for state governments.
Unlike traditional spending legislation, bonding bills require a supermajority (60%) in both chambers of the Legislature to move to the governor's desk for signature, making public support from across the state vital to their success.