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February 27 2013 10:10

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s environmental initiatives help drive engineering excellence

Contact: Alexis Donath, 651-757-2312

St. Paul, Minn. — Some of the more innovative engineering projects undertaken in Minnesota in 2012 were set into motion as a result of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s environmental initiatives.

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota recently announced the winners of its 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards. Several of the 29 award-winning projects were funded or overseen by the MPCA, or initiated as a result of MPCA regulations. Three of these projects will compete for recognition at the national level.

“We want to thank our private-sector partners for the innovative work they are doing to protect Minnesota’s air, water and land resources,” MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said. “These projects are good examples of how our work on behalf of the environment also drives economic growth through jobs in engineering, construction and the trades.”

Some of the award-winning projects driven by MPCA efforts include:

  • City of Edina water treatment plant — A project undertaken in Edina turned a vacant parking structure into a drinking water treatment plant. New treatment technology was needed after area groundwater was found to be contaminated with vinyl chloride. The MPCA provided financial support for the project’s design, while the city funded construction and ongoing operation of the facility. The unique design of the project allowed the city to reuse a structure, eliminating the need to use valuable green space for infrastructure improvements.
  • Maplewood Mall stormwater retrofit — An innovative stormwater management system at Maplewood Mall was designed to capture and treat 90 percent of stormwater runoff at the site. The system features rain gardens, permeable pavement crosswalks, a cistern that captures roof runoff for irrigation and some 200 trees. The design will prevent 50 pounds of phosphorus and five tons of sediment per year from entering Kohlmann Lake, which is currently on the MPCA’s list of impaired waters.
  • City of New Prague wastewater treatment plant — New Prague constructed a wastewater treatment facility to replace an older facility and accommodate anticipated population growth. The new facility includes technology that will enable the city to meet stringent wastewater-treatment standards established by the MPCA and provide the potential to incorporate water and biosolid recycling into the treatment process in the future.
  • Crystal Lake Flocculation Treatment System — Crystal Lake experiences significant summertime algal blooms, and is on the MPCA’s impaired waters list. A newly installed system uses modified drinking water treatment technology to treat stormwater to much-higher-than-usual standards before it flows to the lake. The system is expected to reduce the flow of phosphorus into Crystal Lake from the large surrounding watershed.
  • The Agricultural BMP Handbook for Minnesota — This first-of-its-kind handbook outlines 32 of the more important agricultural conservation practices that will protect water quality in Minnesota. The handbook, designed for farmers, consultants, agronomists and environmental professionals, outlines each best management practice in detail and documents the research supporting its efficacy. MPCA staff were among the members of the technical advisory committee for the handbook, which was developed for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

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