Pipe Mitigation Team – contact Sean C to get involved – volunteers working with the City of Minneapolis and MPRB to win approval of a open channel filtration system that will filter out trash and other contaminants flowing out of the large storm sewer pipe that enters directly into the Lake through the 43rd Street Pipe –

Simple Action

FRIENDS OF LAKE HIAWATHA STORM SEWER MITIGATION GOALS:
1. We expect to see the “open channel” mitigation option implemented at the Lake as promised by the MPRB.
2. We expect this critical infrastructure change to be a given in whatever public use scenario is decided for the parkland as was promised by the MPRB.
3. We want these infrastructure changes to be implemented without any further delay.
4. We don’t want decisions about critical infrastructure changes (mitigation) to be subject to debate about golf, delay or refusal through the master planning process.

PRIMER ABOUT THE 43rd STREET PIPE AT LAKE HIAWATHA: posted on my neighborhood forum: My name is Sean Connaughty and I am the chair of Friends of Lake Hiawatha (FOLH). FOLH believes that comprehensive, effective and permanent storm sewer mitigation of the “north pipe” or 43rd street pipe should be implemented immediately and not be subject to delays related to decisions about golf at the property.

 

The 43rd street pipe is the major storm sewer outfall that empties directly into Lake Hiawatha on its north side. It runs under the fairway of the golf course. It consists of two 60” diameter pipes which were installed in 1935. The pipes from 43rd street and its concrete outfall into the Lake have remained unchanged since they were installed in 1935.

 

The 43rd street pipe is a major source of trash, pollution and sediment in the Lake. It drains 900 acres of urban south Minneapolis streets directly into the Lake without filtration. The MPRB and the city have presented plans for an “open channel” mitigation system in several previous public meetings. The MPRB promised that this “open channel” would be a feature in either groundwater pumping scenario, whether or not golf were to continue on the parkland. This is what we expect to see as a system of mitigation for the parkland and Lake.

 

We don’t want only piecemeal upstream solutions. Grit chambers are well and good but are limited in effectiveness as seen in Powderhorn Lake, which is still suffering from trash and pollution problems despite having several grit chambers inline. Grit chambers alone will not meet the requirements set forth in our petition. We have always specified that we want to see an ‘end of the line’ solution in this sub-watershed. Given that we finally have an opportunity to make infrastructure changes on golf course land why not address the whole problem in a way that utilizes natural processes to address all the different pollutants in a permanent and holistic way by dropping sediment, capturing trash and filtering out pollutants?

 

This is what the “open channel” would look like: It would “daylight” the pipe, which would empty stormwater into a catchment pond where trash would be captured. The stormwater would then pass through a meandering channel through the golf course property, where it would drop sediment, and slow the water. The channel would then pass through wetlands which would help filter out pollutants in the stormwater which would then enter the Lake much cleaner and free of trash. It is critical to isolate the trash and pollutants before they reach the Lake. This will not only vastly improve the water quality in Lake Hiawatha, but will also improve the water quality for communities downstream who rely on the very same water as a drinking source. One of the MPRB’s duties is to keep the parkland free of trash. Isolating and capturing the trash in a small area makes more sense economically than trying to pick up the trash from the entire circumference of the Lake and downstream creek and river.

 

The MPRB has elected to again delay action on this issue for 5 more years. In five years a conservative estimate of 10,000 lbs. of trash will enter the Lake while the debate on golf continues. This issue has nothing to do with the game of golf, yet is held hostage in this divisive and highly political community debate.

 

No public agency takes responsibility for cleaning up the trash in the Lake. The MPRB makes no effort to remove the trash from the Lake, The MPCA takes no measurements of trash and does not consider it a pollutant, though anyone who has visited Lake Hiawatha can clearly see that it is aesthetically displeasing, is an impediment to health and safety, bad for water quality and is a danger to wildlife. The answer is not to close the beach and shut off the people from the Lake, but to clean up the major source of trash for the Lake, namely the 43rd street pipe.

 

The amount of trash that has been removed from the Lake in the past three years is staggering. I am aware of 6,000 documented pounds of trash that were taken out of the Lake since 2015. That includes the 1,690 lbs. removed in the 2017 Lake Hiawatha cleanup by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and the 4,340 lbs. that I have removed. So, that is 2,000 lbs for each year. Thus my conservative estimate that without mitigation 10,000 lbs of trash will enter the Lake in the next 5 years!

 

(My count of 6,000 lbs. of trash removed since 2015 is very conservative because it does NOT include the 4,000 lbs that was taken of out of the whole watershed by the MCWD in 2016, though much of that cleanup came from Lake Hiawatha. There was also the 2016 Earthday cleanup at the Lake and the MCWD watershed wide cleanup in 2015. I have not counted those volunteer cleanups. )

 

I have attached a map that shows just how large this urban drainage area is:

 

Also attached a photo of the 43rd street pipe. In the photo I am standing on a sandbar of sediment that has accumulated from the runoff of this pipe. As you can see the sandbar extends way out into the Lake.

 

We have been working in conversation with the city and parks on getting mitigation for the past three years. We are concerned that this long delay will mean the mitigation of the 43rd street pipe may again be held hostage to a divisive and highly political community debate about golf. This does not bode well for the timely implementation of a mitigation system.

Our hope is that the MPRB will not further hold up the implemention of an effective mitigation system for the 43rd street pipe. We hope that the City will move forward in their plans for mitigation regardless of the outcome of this debate on golf.

 

The Friends of Lake Hiawatha and myself are agnostic on whether golf should be continued as a public use for the land. We do care about proper stewardship of the Lake and land. We have publicly stated our five priorities for the parkland and the Lake. This includes the elimination of the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers on the parkland surrounding the Lake, the protection of existing habitat, and of course mitigation of the 43rd street pipe.

 

See the also the photo of trash on the shoreline near the pipe’s outfall:

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And see also a photo of some of the toxic items recovered from the Lake:

 

FRIENDS OF LAKE HIAWATHA STORM SEWER MITIGATION GOALS:

  1. We expect to see the “open channel” mitigation option implemented at the Lake as promised by the MPRB.
  2. We expect this critical infrastructure change to be a given in whatever public use scenario is decided for the parkland as was promised by the MPRB.
  3. We want these infrastructure changes to be implemented without any further delay.
  4. We don’t want decisions about critical infrastructure changes (mitigation) to be subject to debate about golf, delay or refusal through the master planning process.

Thanks Sean Connaughty, Chair, Friends of Lake Hiawatha