How Fixing Regional Sewer Pipes Caused Odor on Hartman Circle in Fridley

Repair work on regional sewer pipes under the Mississippi River is responsible for a bad odor in Fridley.

Fridley air got stuck with the stink as crews worked to fix regional sewer pipes that run under the Mississippi River since a dramatic leak in June. 

Workers have coordinated use of city-owned pipes—not the ones that broke—with the City of Fridley to handle sewage, according to a Metropolitan Council spokesperson, and they have tried to minimize the resulting sewer odor in the neighboring Hartman Circle area of Fridley. The work continues in September.

Here is a more detailed explanation that Tim O'Donnell, senior information coordinator/Project Citizen liaison with Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES), provided by email Tuesday:

This regional sanitary sewer in Fridley consists of two sewer pipes running parallel to each other. Wastewater typically flows through just one of the pipes at any given time, and we can put the extra pipe into service during emergencies such as the leak that occurred in June. When we discovered the leak in the north pipe, we diverted the wastewater to the south pipe. During July, we repaired the damaged section of the north pipe by installing a lining inside the existing pipe, then put this pipe back into service. During August, we cut an access hole into the south pipe to inspect it, and found that it needs a similar repair. During September, we will install a lining inside the damaged section of south pipe.

Throughout the process of inspecting and repairing both of the pipes, we have had to pump some of the wastewater into a City of Fridley manhole on Hartman Circle. We coordinated this work with the City.  Anytime sewers or manholes are opened up, there is the potential for odors to be released. We try to do this work as quickly as possible and cover any openings to the extent we can, in an effort to minimize odors.

The pipe leak caused wastewater to spill into the ground on the bluff on the east side of the Mississippi River, and some of the wastewater went down the bluff and into the river. Since then, the wastewater has biodegraded in the soil and in the river water.


For more on sewage spills affecting Fridley over the summer, see:


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