Day #4: Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant

We spent day #4 at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant located three miles south of downtown St. Paul.

Metro Plant Director Mike Mereness talks to TPT while (in the background)175 Million Gallons of wastewater per day is being treated and released harmlessly into the Mississippi River.

Its fitting we ended up here too. Because our last shoot was at the City of Golden Valley, where we learned that the sewage produced by  this 20k plus City, flows too (and thru) the Metro Plant …

That’s a 17 mile journey end to end!

Metro Plant Director Mike Mereness (pictured) says that it takes about a day for the wastes produced in Golden Valley to reach this St. Paul facility.

Mike went on to say that MCES (Metropolitan Council of Environmental Services) has a total of seven wastewater treatment plants located throughout the Twin Cities…

And that …

  • Collectively, MCES has approximately 600 miles of large diameter regional sewer pipes that collect flows from over 5,000 miles of sanitary sewers owned by 105 communities, for a total of 250 million gallons of wastewater being treated each day!
  • The Metro Plant is by far MCES’s largest treatment facility and serves approximately –get this– 70 percent of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area!
  • This plant alone –which you can see operating real time just behind Mike– treats an average of 175 million gallons of wastewater each day, and discharges the resulting clean water to the Mississippi River.

The rest of the day:

Just after lunch we sat down with Alva Rankin from SEH who gave our viewers a little “Sewer 101.”

I haven’t met many people that can connect with the general public the way Alva can. It was really fun to hear him carefully explain the role of the lowly sewer system and it’s contribution to the overall success of Minnesota.

Award winning TPT videographer, Mike Phillips, doing what he does best–getting the shots no one else thought about; or at least ... what no one else will do!

For the rest of the afternoon, Tim O’Donnell (MCES Senior Information Coordinator and Project Citizen Liaison) was kind enough to give us a full “How it all Works” tour of this massive complex.

All I got to say is … WOW!

If you ever get a chance to see this marvel of Minnesota ingenuity, planning and engineering, that is the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant… do it!

In the meantime you’ll just have to tune into Liquid Assets: MN … when we finally air!


PS; 2 more days left of shooting … and … (breaking news) one of those days will be in … Duluth Minnesota!


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