The City of Randolph, located in Southern Dakota County near Lake Byllesby has begun exploring a community sewer system with assistance from CRWP’s Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative program.
The impetus to explore a community sewer system came from a septic inventory in Randolph conducted by Dakota County in 2015 and 2016. Dakota County’s septic inventory consisted of inspecting all the septic systems installed prior to 2001 in Randolph. 149 septic systems were inspected with 43 (30%) found to be non-compliant and another 30 (20%) found likely to fail in the near future. At a public meeting last September, residents suggested the city council explore a city sewer system instead of so many individual residents replacing their septic systems.
After the public meeting, city officials reached out to CRWP to see if the Wastewater Initiative program could help them in exploring a community sewer system. CRWP’s Aaron Wills met with city officials to share what other communities have done and how to move forward. Bolton and Menk was hired to conduct a feasibility study looking at the option of Randolph building its own sewer plant or hooking up to the Cannon Falls sewer system. CRWP assisted Randolph in submitting the first stage of funding applications for securing grants and low interest loans for a new sewer system. More grant applications will be submitted this summer.
Currently, Randolph is waiting to see what happens at the State Legislature this session before deciding on next steps. Funding for programs that provide grants and loans for sewer projects is part of the bonding bill. These programs traditionally enjoy bipartisan support because they provide both environmental benefits and economic development benefits in the form of large construction projects. However, last year the bonding bill was not passed due to disputes about light rail funding and so there’s some uncertainty about what will happen this year. It is likely that if a bonding bill is passed there will be significant funding available for the next two years for sewer projects in Minnesota and that Randolph would be in a good position to secure a large grant for its project. Stay tuned!