Gov. Walz tours Water Treatment Plant

Photo: Gov. Tim Walz and Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht. Photo by Scott Williams.

Gov. Tim Walz made a visit to Bemidji Thursday morning at the site of the currently-under-construction water treatment plant near the Bemidji Regional Airport.

Gov. Walz emphasized that as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, investments like $10.1 million one in Bemidji’s drinking water will help the economy.

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht said the bonding dollars will go toward building the second phase to increase the capacity of the plant. 

The first phase of the water treatment plant is scheduled to be up and running by the end of January, with the second phase scheduled to be in design next year, with work expected to be complete in 2022.

The plant is designed to treat the city’s water of a chemical known as PFAs, which is believed to have contaminated the water via the use of a firefighting foam at the Bemidji Regional Airport decades ago.

The bill requesting the $10.1 million in funding from the state includes language that if litigation against the manufacturer of the foam, 3M, is successful, the city would reimburse the state $4 million.

Bemidji Now News Correspondent Scott Williams contributed to this story.

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