What Happens to State Fair Sewage

A new restroom facility at the State Fairgrounds located on the south side of Murphy Avenue. Photo: KSTP/Frank Rajkowski
A new restroom facility at the State Fairgrounds located on the south side of Murphy Avenue.

August 29, 2018 10:52 AM

A crowd of 222,194 visited the Minnesota State Fair Saturday, which from a population standpoint would rank the fairgrounds the third-largest city in the state.

That's a lot of people, and a lot of sewage.


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So what happens to all that waste when it is flushed down toilets at the State Fair's 24 public restroom facilities or at other locations on the fairgrounds?

Brian Hudalla, the deputy general manager of the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, said the State Fair maintains its own sewer system, including around 5 miles of main underground sewer mains.

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From there, the sewage flows into the regional system operated by Metropolitan Council Environmental Services, and into the wastewater treatment plant operated by MCES in St. Paul.

MCES senior information coordinator Tim O'Donnell said officials believe the State Fair may account for perhaps a 2 or 3 percent increase in wastewater flow into the system. But, he said the system is only using 70 percent of its total capacity anyway.

"The system is big enough to handle special events, even those as large as the State Fair," O'Donnell said.

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Yet, the sewage will keep coming.

A new restroom facility featuring 54 toilets, 32 sinks, 22 urinals, 18 family restrooms, eight drinking fountains and four bottle refill stations opened this year on the south side of Murphy Avenue between Underwood and Cooper Streets.

It's the sixth new restroom facility built on the state fairgrounds in the past 10 years, according to fair officials. Hudalla said those have primarily replaced older, outdated facilities.

The new building was earning high marks from fairgoers Monday.

"It was very nice," said Jay Mickelsen, who splits his time between St. Paul and Hackensack. "I came through the gates and walked right in. There's a lot of room. It's clean. It's a very nice facility."


Frank Rajkowski

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