Leaky sewer pipes top priority for Duluth mayor

Don Ness
Duluth Mayor Don Ness.
MPR Photo/Bob Kelleher

Duluth Mayor Don Ness said he's spent more time this year on the city's sewer problems than any other issue.

Later this week, Ness meets with state and federal pollution officials to negotiate an agreement to stop sewage overflows from reaching Lake Superior.

Ness said regulators want the problem fixed within about four years, but he will push for a longer timeline. Ness wants to repair bad sewer lines, rather than build expensive storage tanks for excess storm water.

"We can spend millions and million of dollars building tanks, but it doesn't address the source of the problem," Ness said.

Ness will push homeowners to fix leaky sewage lines, to disconnect foundation drains and to install basement sump pumps.

He is hoping to stop sewage overflows by the year 2019.

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