Braham City Council Member Seth Zeltinger testified before the House Capital Infrastructure Committee on March 16 regarding a request for a bonding bill for the city’s water infrastructure needs.
The bill is being authored by Sen. Mark Koran in the Senate and by Rep. Brian Johnson in the House of Representatives.
In his testimony, Zeltinger explained that 80% of the city’s wastewater collection system is old; crumbling clay tiling that has exceeded its life expectancy. Many of the water mains are cast iron with lead fittings.
“The city just can’t reasonably address this on its own without suffering any sort of undue financial hardship,” Zeltinger said. “So we’d like to look to the state for some help.”
Sitting above a high water table, Braham straddles the edges of two major watersheds with water flowing into the Mississippi River via the Rum River and the St. Croix River via the Snake River. This makes them environmentally vulnerable.
The replacement of the water main (drinking water) in various locations will cost about $12.45 million. The collection system (wastewater system) and treatment plant upgrades will cost around $8.2 million.
“One thing we’re proud of in Braham is we’ve never requested money from the state as far back anyways as anybody can remember,” Zeltinger said. “So I think we’ve been very prudent with the handling of our money from a fiscal standpoint, just that we’re really in need of a lot of help.”
Johnson said that dealing with Braham’s drinking water and clean water infrastructure is of importance.
“The infrastructure is in rough shape and it’s cost-prohibitive for the city to do all they need,” Johnson said. “It’s an issue not only for to clean the environment but also for the safety of the citizens of that city.”
The project as a whole is estimated at $20.65 million. The city requested approximately $10.22 million in state bonds.