Stormwater is more than water down the drain in Saint Anthony
When it rains it pours. Or so the saying goes. But in Saint Anthony Village, rainwater doesn’t just pour down the storm drain. The city has been making creative use of all its water resources since 2009.
Saint Anthony collects stormwater runoff from 15 acres of parking lots and Silver Lake Road, and also collects filtered backwash water, which is a waste byproduct from the city’s water treatment process. The backwash and stormwater are collected in a 500,000-gallon underground reservoir tank, then reused to irrigate a 20-acre site that includes a municipal park and the City Hall campus. In 2018, the city constructed an additional system that collects and transports water uphill from the city park’s splash pad feature to the reuse facility for irrigation.
The facility preserves groundwater by reusing water for irrigation instead of using treated groundwater for drinking, or potable water. Reusing the water also prevents polluted stormwater runoff from draining to the Mississippi River. Irrigating grassy areas with so-called “reuse water” removes phosphorous. The grassy turf is a natural filter for phosphorous, which is then absorbed by plants as a food source. The turf also filters out other pollutants, including particles that can cause harmful algae to grow.
In 2009, the Saint Anthony Water Reuse Facility was awarded the Governor’s Award for Waste and Pollution Prevention, which recognizes environmental programs and projects throughout Minnesota that prevent waste and pollution in creative, innovative and resourceful ways.