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Proposed Facility

The Project:
The Big Lake sewer project has been moving forward over the past 9 years.

The overall project consists of installing low pressure sanitary sewer system primarily around Big Lake on Mission Road, Lakeview Drive, Maple Drive, Magney Drive, Brower Drive and some other nearby side roads. The new system will include at least one collection system pump station transporting sewage away from BLASD.
Western Lake Superior Sanitary District via Cloquet
Based on past septic tank surveys in tribal and non-tribal areas, over half of the existing systems do not comply with state code setback requirements from wells, the lake, buildings or separation distance to groundwater. At over half of the lots there is insufficient space to install a compliant system. The hilly topography on the west side of the lake, and the high groundwater on the east side make it difficult to find code compliant sites for many individual systems. Water quality and beach monitoring data collected by the Fond du Lac Environmental Program confirm the need to address waste water management.

The project was started originally by the Fond du Lac Reservation Environmental Program in partnership with the Big Lake Improvement Association, Carlton County, and WLSSD who all recognized the need for the project. The Facility Plan was completed with a federal grant, and in January 2007 the Big Lake Area Sanitary District was formed. The Sanitary District has a 5-member board consisting of two tribal members and 3 non-tribal members.

A pipeline will be installed along the roads and eventually connect to WLSSD. Sewage grinder pumps for each home will force the sewage through the collection system to a central lift station. From the central lift station, sewage will be pumped to a lift station or gravity collection system along Big Lake Road.

A pressurized system proves to be more cost effective, (directional boring requires less disruption and restoration) pressure collection is a better option in areas of rolling typography, plus, a pressure system is less susceptible to inflow and infiltration. Reduced flows help to lower the cost of waste water treatment.

This treatment option was selected because funding agencies put strong emphasis on providing grant and loan monies to sewer systems which are shown to be the most “COST EFFECTIVE.” We have determined the WLSSD interconnection as the most cost effective option based on a comparative analysis with the waste water treatment alternative.
Grinder Pumps -
A grinder pump is a small station that collects sanitary waste from your home and pumps it to the street where it hooks up with the main line.

The grinder stations will be underground. There will be an access hatch with a small amount of grass/shrubs and gravel directly around it.

The Sanitary District will own and maintain the grinder pumps.

The District will pay to install the grinder pump, make a connection to the pipe from your house, and connect to the electric service if the work is done as part of the overall project.

The resident will pay the electric bill. The grinder station will cost between $10 and $20 per year to operate. This is equivalent to that of a 40-watt light bulb, left on 24/7.
The station itself has a life expectancy of approximately 50 years. The grinder station comes with a full two-year warranty. On average, the grinder pumps have an operating span of 10 years before they require maintenance. The Sanitary District will perform normal maintenance on the stations and replace or repair pumps as necessary. Residents may be charged for pump maintenance if it is determined that abnormal use caused the failure (such as flushing towels down your sewer).

The District has indicated that each separate property shall have its own grinder station. The variable portion of your monthly bill will be calculated based on the pump running time as recorded at the grinder pump station so pump stations cannot be shared.
Roads closures will be minimal. However, partial closures or lane closures will be common. (Sewer lines will be “directionally bored” when possible reducing disruption.)

The main lines will be installed in the street right of way. The pipes will be directionally drilled, a newer technology wherein the pipes are installed with a drill traveling under the surface to minimize the need for open excavation and expensive road reconstruction. The grinder stations will be located near your home where your existing sewer line comes out. A lateral pipe will extend from the grinder station to the right of way. Most laterals will also be directionally drilled. Shorter laterals may be installed using open excavation. The District (and any lender refinancing your property) will require a dedicated easement from the mainline pipe to your grinder station.

Current septic system must be abandoned according to state and local regulations.
Project Impacts -