Many Granite Falls residents may have noticed the recent construction taking place on 8th Avenue. The loud beeping of the trucks is, for many, an unwelcome addition so early in the morning, and many are left wondering, why?

While the project is certainly obnoxious for those within earshot, it has an important purpose. That’s according to Mayor Dave Smiglewski, who says that the work is necessary to fix groundwater seepage into the adjacent sewer during wet times. This influx of groundwater into the wastewater can be a serious issue as it has the potential to overwhelm the wastewater treatment facility. When this happens, excess flow ends up draining into the Minnesota River where it can damage the environment.

The current project is intended to prevent some of that excess ground from entering the sewage system. Mayor Smiglewski added that it is part of several recent construction projects launched by the city. “The city has invested several million dollars in replacing old and inadequate or leaking sewers during that time,” said the mayor, but added that “in this case, as in many others, the water main is located above the sewer in the same trench and has to be replaced at the same time.”

While all of this construction might create a hassle for businesses and homeowners (not to mention residents walking in the area), it does come with some additional benefits. “Sidewalk, curb and street surface restoration will follow the new utility installation,” said Smiglewski.

About 80% of project funding is coming from property taxpayers in the city, while the remaining 20% is coming from the adjacent property owners. The city expects to complete the project this fall. However, the final lift of bituminous street surfacing won’t be fully completed until the summer of 2018.