Great Northern Trail Sanitary Forcemain

Project DescriptionGreat Northern Trail Forcemain Map Crop

The Great Northern Trail Sanitary Foremain project, led by Waste Management, Inc. (a waste disposal and management company that operates the Elk River Landfill) in cooperation with the City of Elk River, will construct a wastewater conveyance system from the Elk River Landfill to the city’s wastewater collection system for treatment at the city’s wastewater plant. 

The landfill is located at the northern city limits, just west of Highway 169. The landfill’s wastewater consists of leachate, which is rain/snow melt that filters through the contents of the landfill and captured. Impervious membranes on the landfill bottom prevent the leachate from entering groundwater systems. Currently, leachate at the landfill is collected and stored in on-site tanks and hauled to the Elk River Wastewater Treatment Plant where it is treated to water quality standards as required by the city’s wastewater treatment permit, regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Construction consists of a new lift (pump) station on the landfill site (Lift Station 2) which will pump leachate through a new dual-lined wastewater pipe to another new lift station constructed at 221st Avenue (Lift Station 1). From Lift Station 1, a wastewater forcemain will be constructed under the Great Northern Trail to a manhole on the city’s wastewater collection system, following a route along as shown on the project map

Construction Timeline and Great Northern Trail Closure

The wastewater forcemain will be constructed using direction drilling methods in order to minimize disturbance to the Great Northern Trail’s surface, however due to heavy construction presence in the area the trail will be temporarily closed to all pedestrian and bicycle traffic starting on Monday, May 18. The trail will reopen in segments as construction progresses from the southern end (near Meadowvale Elementary School) to the north, with full reopening slated for sometime in July.

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Project FAQs

Q. Where does the water from the pipeline go? How about once it is treated?

The discharge from the landfill mixes in with our current sanitary sewer system in the manhole located near Meadowvale Elementary. 
After entering this system, it works its way to our wastewater treatment facility via gravity sewers where it undergoes treatment. After treatment, the water exits to the Mississippi River just upstream from the Great River Energy facility located on the east side of the city.

Q. How is the pipe installed? Is the asphalt surface of the Great Northern Trail need to be torn up and repaved after pipe installation?

The pipe will be installed using directional drilling which will have little to no impact on the trail surface. There are certain spots where open excavation will be necessary such as where air-release manholes are needed. These areas will be patched with new bituminous asphalt.

Q. When will it be done?

Construction is anticipated to run late May through September 2020. The goal is to open sections to the public as they are completed as to allow the community to utilize the trail as quickly as possible starting from the southern end (near Meadowvale Elementary) to the north. The closure of the trail begins Monday, May 18 and crews hope to have it reopened sometime in July.

Q. What is pipe made of and what is the length?

The pipe is 6” HDPE SDR11 and on average will be 900 feet runs between each manhole.

Q. How long does pipe last?

The pipe itself is expected to last 60+ years.

Q.  Will I be required to connect to the system if my property is adjacent to pipe?

Living adjacent to the pipeline does not mean you will be required (or able) to connect to the system. Direct connections are not possible because this is a pressurized forcemain system. If sanitary sewer eventually runs through your neighborhood in the future, a gravity line would need to be installed before home services are able to connect.