The District considers cost-benefit when deciding which project to implement; not all potential projects are necessarily good investments.

Calculating Cost-Benefit

The District evaluates the cost-benefit of every project it undertakes. Phosphorus is a major nutrient affecting water quality in Minnesota lakes and streams, and is therefore a high priority factor for which the District evaluates cost-benefit. Most of the project pages on this website indicate a phosphorus reduction cost-benefit (i.e., cost per pound of phosphorus removed over the lifecycle of the project). The estimated cost takes into consideration the cost of project development/design (e.g., staff time), construction (e.g., labor and materials), and post-construction operations & maintenance (e.g., cleanouts and equipment replacements). The estimated annual phosphorus reduction is multiplied by the number of years for which the project is expected to function, in order to get a total life cycle phosphorus reduction (e.g., 100 pounds per year x 25-year lifecycle = 2,500 pounds removed over the project lifecycle). Divide the total lifecycle cost by the total lifecycle phosphorus reduction to get the lifecycle cost-benefit (cost per pound).

A cost-benefit below $1,000/lb is generally considered acceptable. Most of the District’s capital improvement projects have a phosphorus reduction cost-benefit below $500/lb and many are even below $100/lb.

Projects are implemented from upstream to downstream within the District. Moody and Shields Lakes are the headwaters; water flows downstream through Bone and Forest Lakes and ends up in Little Comfort and Comfort Lakes. As upstream lakes improve, downstream lakes improve as well.

Topic Contact

Blayne Eineichner

Project Coordinator

Learn more about our staff