Wastewater: A Unifier for Two Minnesota Cities

Wastewater: A Unifier for Two Minnesota Cities Main Photo

8 Nov 2023


Expansion project to benefit Foley and St. Cloud, promote economic development

A new wastewater treatment facility project between two Minnesota municipalities highlights the importance of regional partnerships. The initiative -  between the cities of Foley and St. Cloud - is expected to increase the efficiency of wastewater treatment in these communities and serve as a boon to economic development. 

Foley is at capacity with its wastewater plan and sought a regional partner to expedite treatment and reduce inefficiencies. While Foley decreased usage with a separate inflow and infiltration project, it has since increased due to residential and business expansion. Its population of 2,720 (2021)  continues to grow, as does the growth of its workforce and development in manufacturing, healthcare, retail and construction. Just more than 15 miles apart, St. Cloud was an ideal municipal partner for a project expected to improve infrastructure and drive economic development. 

“Many people don’t realize the importance of wastewater treatment as it relates to the quality of life in our communities and encouraging economic development. But as economic developers, that’s part of our job,” said Amanda Othoudt, Executive Director of the Benton Economic Partnership, Inc., Foley’s economic development organization. “Working with another city so close by and with complementary resources made this project a no-brainer for Foley.”

Water that flushes down a toilet or flows down a drain is considered wastewater. It is then handled at a treatment facility and returned to the environment. Most people don’t hear much about wastewater, but when they learn about this project, the benefits immediately become apparent. 

According to Project Engineer Jared Voge, once the expansion is completed, its 12-inch pipe will efficiently move more than 1,400 gallons of wastewater a minute to the St. Cloud regional wastewater treatment facility, more than 11 miles away. Other project highlights include:

  • Two regionalization lift stations
  •  Rehabilitation of two existing city lift stations
  •  Force main
  • Sanitary sewer

Background of the project includes:

  • Total length of force main – 15.8 miles
  • Force main diameter – 12 inches, nominal
  • Approximate force main volume when full – 489,850 gallons
  • Number of air & vacuum release manholes – 42
  • Wastewater travel time from Foley to St. Cloud – approximately 20 hours
  • Elevation difference Foley to St. Cloud – drop of 106 feet

“Ultimately, any project we feel benefits our business community and residents is something we are going to seriously consider, and this treatment expansion is an investment for both Foley and St. Cloud,” adds Othoudt. “It’s also another example of regional partnerships and the benefits they have on so many people.”

The estimated $22.4 million project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024. Find more information on this initiative here. For questions, please contact Amanda Othoudt at 320-968-6197.