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BE Council OKs new sewer line

Decides main will go down Bartel Drive, not through properties

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Mar 7, 2021

In this photo of Bartel Drive looking east towards Main Street the cracking pavement surface of the street is clearly visible.

For their second meeting in a row the Blue Earth City Council spent a considerable amount of time discussing the Bartel Drive portion of this summer’s 10th and Nicollet Streets Project.

At their meeting last Monday night, March 1, the council debated options for putting in a sanitary sewer line either through a side yard area of the neighborhood or down the street itself.

The original plan for Bartel Drive had been to just do a mill and overlay of the street surface and a redirection of the water main towards Nicollet Street, but issues were found with the wastewater sewer line, as well, which was found to go underneath several homes along the street.

The council eventually voted to go with putting the sewer line down the street itself, and also to have residents invited to an informational session at the next council meeting, set for Monday, March 15.

“It is technically feasible to run the sewer main through the side yards,” city engineer Wes Brown of Bolton and Menk said. “But there are a lot of things in the way of doing that and it will have a large impact on the property.”

One of the issues would be excavating a trench right along side some of the homes’ foundation walls.

As far as the cost perspective of the different options, Brown said it would dramatically increase the original estimated cost, either way the sewer line would be put in.

“Going through the side yards would be an additional $120,000,” Brown said. “Going down the street would be another $80,000 additional to that amount for the street reconstruct, for a total of $200,000.”

The increase would raise the amount of the assessments to landowners along Bartel Drive dramatically.

Brown noted that doing the mill and overlay is assessed at $16.18 per foot, while a complete reconstruct of the street is assessed at $82.32 per foot.

Plus, there will be a sewer hookup charge to each home.

For example, one Bartel Drive resident’s assessment for the mill and overlay and water project was going to be $4,005. But, putting in the new sewer line down the street raises their assessment to $12,479.

One councilman was concerned about the big rise in the assessments.

“We have already had a public meeting and these people were told what their assessments were going to be,” councilman Russ Erichsrud said. “Now we have to tell them the assessment is going up.”

The council discussed holding another public hearing to inform the Bartel Drive residents of the change in plans and amount of assessments.

However, city attorney David Frundt said there had already been an official public hearing and another official one does not have to be held.

The council decided to not have an official public hearing, but instead have the Bartel Drive residents invited to come to the next city council meeting to learn more about the proposed change in plans for the project.

Letters will be sent to the residents to inform them of the information session at the next council meeting.