City filing suit over pumping of groundwater into Chain of Lakes

The Minneapolis City Council has authorized a lawsuit against an Uptown building owner over the illegal discharge of groundwater into the Chain of Lakes. At issue is an apartment and retail building called 1800 Lake on Calhoun, located at 1800 Knox Ave. S. The lawsuit seeks to stop the discharge of water from the building’s underground garage into the Chain of Lakes, which is having an impact on the environment and public safety.

The building owner, Lake and Knox LLC, is currently pumping water into a storm sewer at a rate of 170 gallons per minute. The storm sewer empties that groundwater into the lagoon between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun. The developer does not have permission from the City of Minneapolis or the State of Minnesota to pump groundwater from its property into the storm sewers or into the lagoon.

The effects of the illegal discharge came to light last winter when it thinned ice on the lagoon, jeopardizing the safety of cross-country skiers on the lake. The continual flow of groundwater has also prevented routine maintenance on the storm sewer, causing other adverse environmental impacts.

Despite demands from the City, Lake and Knox LLC has failed to stop its illegal discharge. This has prompted the City Council’s decision to authorize litigation.

Published Oct. 21, 2013