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Dundee sewer project to get legislative support

DUNDEE -- A new sanitary sewer collection system is poised to get a boost in the Minnesota Legislature next month following a Wednesday meeting with a pair of state elected officials.

Larry Howes, a Walker Republican and chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, along with District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, met with Dundee city officials and their hired engineer to discuss the proposed system and the feasibility for financing it. Once the Legislature reconvenes in January, it's likely that Schomacker will introduce a bill that supports the allocation of state money for the sanitary sewer project.

Howes speculated that Dundee has a fair shot at getting full funding for the $2.4 million project.

"If you were a richer community, you probably wouldn't get a nickel," Howes said. "I'd tell you, in all likelihood, this is probably one (a project) that would get done."

Howes said he plans to discuss the project with Terry Kuhlman, the executive director of the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority, which is part of the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development, to learn if all or a significant portion of the system could be state-funded. Kuhlman will, in turn, help a non-partisan legislative staff draft a bill that Schomacker could present to the Minnesota House.

A bill funding the Dundee project would also be necessary in the Senate, and Schomacker said Wednesday that District 22 Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, would likely lead the effort in that chamber.

Currently, the city of Dundee discharges partially treated effluent into local surface waters in violation of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency regulations regarding wastewater treatment and discharge, according to a project summary prepared by I&S Group of Mankato.

Under the terms of the sanitary sewer collection system proposal, a new system for 66 connections -- 54 of them residential -- would send wastewater to new stabilization treatment ponds before its discharge into a neighboring wetland. The new ponds would be built between one-quarter mile and one-half mile north of the city.

I&S Engineer Brad Potter explained Wednesday that the city would place sewer lines within street right-of-ways because of a water main's location in the alleys. Main Street is scheduled for reconstruction by Nobles County in 2013; the sewer project is being coordinated with that work to lower overall cost.

The city has been exploring sewer project funding possibilities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and a Small Cities Development Grant, as well as the state's Public Facilities Authority.

"I'd think we'd love to get the project under construction in 2012," Potter said. "I think the city's doing a good job trying to move things forward. They're throwing everything and the kitchen sink at it from a financial standpoint."

Ideally, work would begin next summer on the system, added Potter. Dundee Mayor Wayne Paplow and local business owner Randy Rindfleisch attested to project need.

"I pump out four times a year over at the steakhouse," said Rindfleisch, who with his wife, Sharlotte, has operated the Dundee Steakhouse at its current Main Street location for nearly three years.

"The MPCA, they want to see it done," Potter said of the project. "The council, I think they want to see it done, too."

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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