ALASD History

Over 46 years ago, in the spring of 1971, the Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District was created by an Act of the Minnesota State Legislature.  The District was the third sanitary district created in the state, following the Metropolitan Waste Control Commission in the Twin Cities and Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth.

One unique aspect of the District is that it provides regional sewer service to a city and six townships.  The customer mix ranges from residential, to commercial, to light industrial. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the District is the many local lakes that are served by sewer.

The City of Alexandria and the Townships of Alexandria, Carlos, Hudson, and LaGrand were original members. Ida and Lake Mary Townships became members in recent years and also receive sanitary sewer service.  The District provides contract service to the City of Nelson, Carlos State Park, the City of Forada, Leaf Valley Township and the two I-94 rest areas.

The Act creating the ALASD provided the necessary authority to serve the Alexandria area as a regional sanitary sewer authority.

The authority and responsibility for the planning and construction of local sewer, or the non-interceptor sewer commonly called lateral sewer, continues to this day to be the responsibility of the local units of government. These local units of government also appoint the District’s Board of Directors.

The surface area of the District is now over 100 square miles.  Its boundaries extend as far west as Lake Cowdry, as far south as Lake Mary and Maple Lake, as far east as the United Parcel Service Office on Highway 27, and as far north as Carlos State Park.  It is estimated that over 98% of all waste water generated within the District boundary is now treated by our advanced wastewater treatment facility.

The District’s advanced wastewater treatment facility became operational in 1977.  Current flow to the plant is 2.9 million gallons a day or about 77% of dry weather design flow.  The plant provides advanced treatment for the removal of organic material with a removal efficiency that normally exceeds 98%. The removal efficiency of Total Phosphorus continues to improve and now exceeds 97%.

Since 1979 this plant has continued to meet all discharge limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. In fact, the plant has never experienced a discharge violation.  In 1992 the District was recognized as the outstanding medium-sized treatment plant in Region V of the EPA that includes Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota.

After 40 years of operation the treatment facility and collection system continue to meet the sanitary sewer needs of this community. The District serves 1,0157 sewer accounts and a population in excess of 24,000. The District maintains and operates 222 miles of gravity sanitary sewer lines, 52 miles of pressure sanitary sewer lines, 119 lift stations, 48 grinder stations and 124 residential grinder station with a combined total of 499 pumps.

Treated biosolids are recycled onto farmland in accordance with state and federal rules.  Application rates are controlled to prevent nitrogen carryover.  The District has an ongoing program of biosolids testing including trace metals. Biosolids act as a soil conditioner and as a slow release fertilizer that has been greeted with great enthusiasm by the farmers that use this product.

The success of the District would not have been possible without its outstanding employees and the strong support from the local community.  The operation of a wastewater treatment facility and collection system presents many challenges.   These facilities must run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, regardless of weather conditions, utility outages, or flowage rate.  The wastewater that enters the collection system must be conveyed and treated safely, without blockage, backup, or odor, at a reasonable cost, and at the same time conforming to a myriad of ever growing regulatory requirements.

Over the years the operation of the District has become more complex and challenging.  This is the result of community growth, the attainment of new scientific knowledge, and social demand for an even greater degree of environmental responsibility. The ALASD is well positioned to meet future challenges.

The success that the District has achieved would not have been possible without the vision, strength, conviction, and leadership of some very special members of this community.