GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 3(
City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics
City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.
Indoor light upgrades from incandescent or halogen to LED have been done in the Civic Plaza Art gallery, theater and council chambers. Weather stripping and exterior expansion joints on City Buildings and Fire Stations are inspected annually and repaired as needed.
Demand based controls that measure CO2 levels have been installed to manage the large air handling units in the Civic Plaza. Where applicable occupancy sensors have been installed to control lighting in offices, park buildings and vehicle storage garages.
2 star - Action 5: Conserve/protect drinking/groundwater resources by creating a water-wise landscaping ordinance/guidance, WaterSense purchasing program, or guidance on rainwater harvesting and home water softener use.
The City of Bloomington provides guidance to residents with information on use of rain barrels. Additionally, the City of Bloomington draft 2017 water supply plan reports that the 2011-2016 five year average residential per capita water demand is 73.9 gallons per day.
Additionally, in 2017 the City of Bloomington lowered the threshold for residents to move into Tier 2 water rates, to encourage conservation.
South Loop District Wayfinding (2011, 2015-16)
Increased efficiency of existing roadway network by balancing traffic on the routes within the District, delaying or eliminating the need for geometric improvements. Joint effort by City of Bloomington, Mall of America, and MnDOT.
EECBG Signal Timing Optimization (2010-11)
Reduced average fuel consumption and emissions by improving traffic mobility, decreasing travel times, traffic delays, and the number of vehicle stops at 37 signalized intersections. Estimated annual savings of 112,600 gallons of gasoline, estimated annual reduction of 9,900,071 vehicle stops, estimated annual reduction of 113,137 hours of vehicle delay. Overall project benefit to cost ratio of 24.
PRO (Parallel Route Optimization) (2010-11)
Reduced average fuel consumption and emissions by improving traffic mobility, decreasing travel times, traffic delays, and the number of vehicle stops along the parallel routes to I-494 in Richfield and Bloomington. Joint effort to optimize traffic signals by Cities of Richfield and Bloomington, MnDOT, and Hennepin County.
We have a number of sign systems that rely on solar power. The most common of those are the pedestrian activated rectangular rapid flashing beacon systems installed at crosswalks all over the City. These rely on solar power for both the flashing beacons and the wireless communication. The City also uses electronic radar speed display signs for awareness, and all components of those signs are solar powered.
Bloomington continues to replace HPS and mercury vapor lighting with LED in parking lots and along trails. When applicable, two level lighting controls, motion detectors and automatic dimming technology is incorporated into the new systems.
2 star - Action 2: Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.
The City of Bloomington has a MN River Valley Strategic plan and contracted Great River Greening to develop a MN River Valley Natural Resources plan. The plan inventories the MN River Valley's ecological features and the Planning Department and Sustainability Commission are currently reviewing the plan to set priorities for maintenance, enhancement and restoration.
2 star - Action 5: Adopt climate mitigation and/or energy independence goals and objectives in the comprehensive plan or in a separate policy document, and include transportation recommendations such as becoming an EV-ready city.
The City of Bloomington is currently developing a Partners in Energy Action Plan, in partnership with Xcel Energy. The draft plan has been developed and will be reviewed by the Sustainability Commission in March 2018 and City Council in March or April of 2018. The draft plan has clear goals to reduce electrical, gas and transportation emissions; the goals are in the categories of municipal, commercial, residential and transportation.
Bloomington has a number of zoning districts that allow for much higher density than 15 unites/acre, near commercial zoning districts and transits nodes. An excellent example is the City's South Loop district, near the Mall of America.
3 star - Action 1: Conduct a Natural Resource Inventory or Assessment (NRI or NRA); incorporate protection of priority natural systems or resources such as groundwater through the subdivision or development process.
2 star - Action 6: Conserve natural, cultural, historic resources by adopting or amending city codes and ordinances to support sustainable sites, including roadsides, and environmentally protective land use development.
In 2011 the 86th Street Corridor (3 1/2 miles) was one of the first to be modified under the Complete Streets Policy (draft at the time this project was planned and completed). The project modified a 4-lane undivided roadway with curb-walk into a 3-lane roadway with bike lanes. This roadway improvement project provided one vehicle lane in each direction, a center dual left turn lane and a bike lane in each direction. It helps to connect cyclists from the South Loop District to the east all the way across town to an on-road bikeway network that connects to Hyland Regional Park to the west. The bike lane also provides separation between the vehicles and pedestrians to improve the walkability of the corridor.
In 2016 we did a project on W 98th Street between Nesbitt and Normandale that included many elements listed. The project was to reconstruct the existing parkway and in that project we narrowed the road (reduced amount of pavement) and increased the green space in the center of the parkway and added on-street bikeway by eliminating one vehicle lane in each direction.
The City of Bloomington has worked with Bloomington Public Schools to develop a Safe Routes to School Plan for all K-8 public schools in the District. The plans are active and identify walking areas, available infrastructure and targeted infrastructure improvement projects and school goals for encouraging walking and biking to school. There is also an active SRTS committee with members from the City and School District that meets twice a year.
The City has established administrative practices to purchase recycled-content office paper and other office supplies to reduce waste. Additionally, the Finance department has determined purchasing standards for investments such as maintenance equipment, fleet vehicles, and appliances to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency.
The City of Bloomington follows the latest MnDOT specifications and intend to use the updated 2018 specs. Most of the City's projects incorporate RAP, recycled plastic manhole adjustment rings and MnDOT compost specs. We also follow MnDOT specs for RAP and shingles in asphalt.
On public projects Bloomington’s engineering division uses MN DOT standards to develop specifications to ensure proper soil composition and plant installation. Guidelines for tree and shrub planting on private development projects are in Chapter 19 section 52 of the City Code. Bloomington City staff maintains a gravel bed nursery with a diverse mix of 15 tree species. This system allows staff to plant trees during optimal seasons and encourages extensive root growth that leads to successful establishment and long term survival. The diversity is intended to add resilience to the urban forest and reduce the impact of future invasive pests.
In preparation for EAB Bloomington has funding budgeted for the removal and replacement of 8000 public ash trees in parks. The activity started in 2013 and will ramp up over the next 11 years. Other activities funded in this budget include the City’s Arbor Day tree sale where residents are allowed to pre-order bare root trees to be planted in their yard. To increase diversity the species of trees made available are adjusted each year.
Bloomington has developed and maintained a variety of streetscapes and pocket parks since the 1980’s. Elements included in these areas are sidewalk tree plantings using structural soil, rain gardens, pervious pavements, benches, public art and place making.
Bloomington’s ordinance pertaining to tree preservation during single family residential development can be found in Chapter 19 Section 53 of the City Code. The ordinance outlines many varied ways that preserved trees protect the natural environment following development.
Native Landscaping is covered in Chapter 10 section 38 of the City Code where it is allowed as part of an approved landscape plan or on a residential lot it does not exceed 50% of the pervious surface and is set back from the property line. Maintenance in the form of annual mowing or prescribed burning is also required under the ordinance.
Bloomington has an urban forestry plan and program that manages DED, OW and EAB on public and private property. Inspectors are also available to help residents with various other private tree issues. Credentials include State Licensed Tree Inspector, Pest First Detector and ISA Certified Arborist.
a) The standard city street width is 32-feet. However it is common practice within the city that when conditions allow (low ADT, no parking issues, bike lanes, etc) street reconstruction projects will reduce street width to the extent practical. There is nothing in city code that prevents the city from reducing street widths from the standard 32-foot design to 22- or 24-foot widths.
C)City code section 11.31 has language regarding the use of sewers and section 12.03 has language regarding Public Nuisances and prohibiting the discharge of specific items into a street, storm sewer, or water resource. Updated ordinances in 2015 to more clearly prohibit non-stormwater discharges, define additional terms, and more clearly outline exemptions to the discharge prohibition. In developing the updated language staff reviewed the EPA model ordinance to prepare an ordinance properly prohibiting non-stormwater discharges.
Bloomington has a credit program in which a user can provide documentation of the on site stormwater treatment and the city can recalculate the stormwater utility fee based on the information provided.
This Surface Water Management Plan for the City of Bloomington has been developed
to meet local watershed management planning requirements of the Metropolitan Surface
Water Management Act (Chapter 103B) and Board of Water and Soil Resources Rules
8410. It has also been developed to be in conformance with the requirements of local
Watershed Management Organizations and Districts, Metropolitan Council requirements,
Hennepin County goals and applicable State and Federal laws. This document and its
referenced literature are intended to provide a comprehensive inventory of pertinent
water resource related information that affects the City and management of those
The City has implemented guidelines for all of the listed practices.
In 2008 Bloomington adopted an Alternative Transportation Plan with a goal to increase use of non-motorized transportation in the City. Since that time the City, in collaboration with other agencies (Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Three Rivers Park District, and others), has initiated a number of planning and implementation projects to further pedestrian and bicycle transportation in and around Bloomington. Highlights of these efforts include the 86th Street Multi-Modal Traffic Study, plans for the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail, the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge reconstruction, Hyland Trail Project, and the 2012 adoption of a Complete Streets Policy. The Alternative transportation plan was updated in 2016.
The City of Bloomington is fully developed, so the focus has been on developing parks and trails where redevelopment is planned. In recent years, the City has developed two parks (Lyndale Green Park and Bloomington Central Station Park) in collaboration with adjacent residential and commercial developments. Also, a much needed trail connection was obtained across the Bethany Church property.
36% of Bloomington is Park and open space, this includes lands managed by Three Rivers Park District, USFWS and the City of Bloomington. With close to 100 separate parks sites over 90% of the residents live within one-half mile of protected public green space.
a. Low maintenance turf management; native landscaping; organic or integrated pest management; pollinator/monarch-safe policies.
In an effort to be more sustainable both Park Maintenance and the City’s Golf courses have converted traditional turf areas to native plantings that include a wide variety of flowering plants desired by pollinators. Examples are wetland buffer strips maintained throughout the Park system, rain gardens and the plantings at the Civic Plaza and Public Works Buildings.
b. Recycling/compostable collection.
Bloomington offers garbage and recycling collection containers at all developed park sites and is installing two organic collection stations that will be staffed by volunteers where residents can drop off household organic waste to be recycled.
2 star - Action 7: Document that the operation and maintenance, or construction / remodeling, of at least one park building used an asset management tool, the SB 2030 energy standard, or a green building framework.
Bloomington uses a software asset management tools to track work orders, service requests and preventive maintenance activities on all of its park buildings. Each building is assigned a facility condition index that considers building condition and energy efficiency factors. This leads to optimized capital planning by allowing us to quantify and consolidate facility condition data, evaluate and prioritize different improvement project scenarios.
The Bloomington Park and Recreation Division has a volunteer coordinator on staff that works with residents in our Adopt a Park Program. Bloomington organizes an annual Buckthorn Bust event where City staff and residents work together to remove the invasive plant from park areas. Bloomington has recently coordinated tree donation and planting efforts with civic organizations like the Rotary and Lions Clubs as well as corporate groups from TORO and United Properties. In the past four years these groups have donated and planted 400 trees in Bloomington Parks.
The city is active at the annual Public Works open house and also at the every other year Home Improvement Fair in reaching out to the community to promote improving water quality. Additionally the city promotes water resouces opportunities through the website and social media. The city actively partners with local water shed districts, Clean Water MN and other agencies to provide training and community outreach events related to water resource topics ( Storm drain stenciling, Adopt-a-storm-drain program, Pop-up Education cart)
The Wetland Vegetation Treatment Policy provides the basis for treatment of wetlands for algae and aquatic vegetation and establishes incentives for property owners around the wetland to take steps that protect water quality of wetlands.
The Utility has a CIP in place that programs regular well and pump/motor rehab work. When energy efficiencies can be gained, older motors are replaced with new high-efficiency motors or variable frequency drives are retrofitted. CIP #SW-01-011 identifies well rehab projects but does not specifically detail energy components.
. To date Bloomington has participated in three MCES I&I grant programs and received just under a half a million dollars for this war against I&I. It’s estimated that Bloomington’s I&I reduction efforts have removed roughly 63 million gallons of annual flow. At the current rate for wastewater treatment paid to the Met Council, the City realizes an annual savings of $157,000. Historic records show a reduction of over one billion gallons, or a 27% decline in annual sewer flow between 1993 and the present. While much of the reduction can be attributed to system wide conversion to low flow plumbing fixtures, a comparison of Bloomington’s annual water use and sewer flow historic trends shows a more pronounced reduction in sewer flows. The extra reduction in sewer flow rates is thought to be a result of the I&I reduction work. One additional benefit of the I&I improvements is that it adds 40 to 70 years of additional life to the affected infrastructure items.
• In 2017, Bloomington hired Barr Engineering Co. to re-evaluate the City’s Comprehensive Sanitary Sewer System Hydraulic Model. The work included evaluation of data from temporary monitoring throughout the city and recalibration of the sanitary sewer model. The analysis of the system indicated very low infiltration and inflow rates throughout the City.
• City Utility Crews now inspect about 200,000 feet of wastewater collection mains annually, via closed circuit television cameras. Any leaks or defects are recorded and scheduled for appropriate maintenance.
• In 2008 the City began a manhole inspection program to collect measurements and evaluate manhole condition. This information is used to schedule and prioritize needed maintenance, repairs, or replacement. Each year Utilities has budgeted roughly $300,000 for manhole rehabilitation within the Street repair project areas. The primary goal of this rehabilitation is to reduce I&I.
• Bloomington’s standard detail for wastewater collection manholes now includes installation of internal chimney seals. The chimney seals are routinely being installed on all manholes located within the City’s annual Street repair project areas.
• To reduce inflow, Bloomington prohibits the discharge of storm water, ground water, roof runoff, surface water, unpolluted drainage, unpolluted industrial cooling water, or unpolluted industrial process water to any public sanitary sewer per City ordinance (City Code Section 11.31(b)(3) see appendix D through G).
• As part of Bloomington’s Time-of-Sale Housing Inspection Program, Utilities Customer Service is notified whenever an illegal sump pump connection is discovered. Staff then works with the owner to eliminate this source of inflow.
• The City of Bloomington closely reviews new parking ramps and garage construction to assure that rainwater is directed to the storm sewer, not floor drains connected to the sanitary sewer.
• The City monitors MCES M500A wastewater flow rates in conjunction with precipitation events.
• The City evaluates lift station performance via SCADA records in conjunction with precipitation events.
• The City will continue to educate property owners on the need for eliminating infiltration and inflow (via public communication) and require the elimination of infiltration and inflow from private property.
• And finally, the City has used Cured-In-Place-Pipe, (CIPP) to repair damaged and leaking wastewater collection mains. Both short, spot-type repairs as well as full manhole to manhole repairs have been completed. (Between January 2003 and December 2009 over 47,500 feet of sewer mains were repaired with CIPP at a cost of just over $1.4 million.) The City continues to monitor TV inspection records searching for potential additional CIPP projects.
The WTP lighting was upgraded from high bay metal halide to LED high bay fixtures in the fall of 2015.
The metal halide lighting was never turned off due to the nature of the type of light. If the lights were powered off and we turned them on, it would take 5 minutes for the lights to become fully lit. Meaning we never shut these lights off due to how long the light took to power back on. This was a huge energy hog and most of the time no one was in the room. By changing over to the LED, not only were the lights lower in wattage, they were brighter, and we were able to turn the lights on with instant lighting. The lighting in these rooms today are normally off and have a motion sensor to turn back on when needed.
Pending - Action 6: Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).
. The City’s tiered water rate structure is in place to help encourage efficient water use. The water and wastewater rates are in City Code and can be found here:
The City’s tiered water rate structure is in place to help encourage efficient water use. The water and wastewater rates are in City Code and can be found here:
1 star - Action 1: Report to landowners suspected noncompliant or failing septic systems as part of an educational, informational and financial assistance and outreach program designed to trigger voluntary landowner action to improve septic systems.
. As part of our outreach, the homesteads on private systems were notified of the requirements for compliance with the Minnesota Administrative Rules, Chapter 7080. In order to be in compliance with the Rules, their systems must be pumped by a licensed pumping service, repair or replace the system to meet the current rules, or hook up to a municipal sewage system.
The City’s efforts began in 1991 and have continued through today. With the Collaboration of different Divisions within the City and the residence of Bloomington, the total number of active ISTS systems has reduced to less than 40 households. These systems are currently monitored by the City of Bloomington’s Utilities Division and the Hennepin County Environmental Health Management group.
City’s ordinance, section 11.26 also required all households connect to the City’s wastewater system within two (2) years of availability. The City took an active role in bringing these systems into current compliance. Each household was evaluated on a case to case basis, but there were no additional funding track or sources dedicated to help homeowners connect to the City’s system.
1 star - Action 6: Work with homeowners and businesses in environmentally sensitive areas and areas where standard septic systems are not the least-cost option to promote innovative waste water systems, including central sewer extensions.
The City through its development plan review process ensures proper collection of wastewater. The City’s NPDES MS4 program addresses and prohibits non-stormwater discharges in environmentally sensitive areas. https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/eng/storm-water-pollution-prevention-program
The City of Bloomington ordinance requires rental properties to have access to curbside recycling and garbage collection (Chapter Article VII, Division C. Regulations, Sec. 14.580 (f)). Furthermore, the City follows the International Code Council requirement for multi-unit dwellings to provide recycling collection.
The City of Bloomington follows the 2015 Minnesota Statute 115A.151 to ensure all commercial entities provide recycling collection of 3 or more recyclable materials. There will be more emphasis on education and enforcement in the future.
3 star - Action 7:
Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.
The City of Bloomington organized garbage, recycling and yard waste collection in October 2016. This program is provided to all Bloomington residents who live in single family homes. Collection is handled by a six member consortium, the Bloomington Haulers, LLC. Program administration and billing is handled by the City of Bloomington Public Works and Finance departments.
The prices for garbage collection differ by cart size. The smallest cart at 35 gallons is $10.14/month, medium 68 gallon is $13.67/month and a large 90 gallon container is $17.18/month. These prices are less than the average price a Bloomington resident was paying before organized collection.
The City of Bloomington Sustainability Commission was formed in April 2017. The Sustainability Commission advises the Bloomington City Council, Bloomington City staff, and the Bloomington community on policies, practices, procedures and proposals that relate to the sustainable use and management of environmental resources that include air, water, energy, land and ecological resources, and waste. The Commission helps to ensure that such resources will be sustained and continue to provide for a high quality of life for present and future generations. They will be responsible for lead, coordinate and report on the implementation of best practices.
The Sustainability Commission develops an annual plan with goals and outcomes. Annually, they will report progress to the City of Bloomington City Council, available on public television. The report will also be posted on the Sustainability Commission website.
The City of Bloomington Sustainability Commission works to make recommendations to City Council related to programs to measure and report sustainability progress. Specifically, the City of Bloomington participates in the Regional Indicators program, is committed to tracking data through GreenStep Best Practices.
The Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau has a website that promotes a number of outdoor activities and attractions within Bloomington. Additionally, the Mall of America includes outdoor activities and attractions surrounding the mall in their visitors guide.
Explore Minnesota has a search function that offers multiple categories so tourists can find a variety of activities, and the website includes an option for attractions that are accessible to visitors with special considerations.
All sites promote public transportation such as light rail, buses, and shared rides as methods of getting around town.
City of Bloomington coordinates a Farmer's Market that incorporates a number of local businesses beyond farms and bakers. Among the vendors include home decor, clothing companies, pet food businesses, toys, arts and crafts, and beauty/healthcare items.
In addition to promotion on the City of Bloomington website, it is also promoted by Minnesota Grown, which features farmer's markets across Minnesota, as well as Facebook and other online sites.
The City of Bloomington updated solar codes in 2013 (see 21.301.11). The standards are very favorable to promoting solar installations and making the approval process simple. Solar panels, whether roof mounted or freestanding, can be administratively approved.
Fire Chief Ulie Seal is in charge of developing the Continuity of Operations Plan that provides the structure for responding to significant business interruptions that may last 48 hours or more. Within this plan are a number of Emergency Support Functions assigned to different city departments, which are then responsible for developing plans to address possible emergency scenarios.
City of Bloomington uses an All-Hazards emergency plan approach consistent with National Response Framework (NRF) and National Incident Management System (NIMS), which creates a scalable system that can be adapted to each scenario. This is more efficient than creating individual plans to address every possible scenario that might occur.
Every 5 years, City of Bloomington conducts a Jurisdictional Risk Assessment (JRA)/Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA) with input from hospitals, public health, and local business to identify and understand potential scenarios that are more likely to happen and to develop possible responses.
Bloomington has identified six languages in addition to English that its residents regularly use in conducting business with the City. Some documents and resources are routinely available in these languages on the City website. In emergency scenarios, City of Bloomington uses translation services provided by Language Line or Garden & Associates. Additionally, targeted emergency communication is coordinated with ECHO (Emergency, Community, Health, and Outreach) Minnesota, which is a service of Twin Cities Public Television. This program provides a series of emergency communications via television, telephone, radio, internet, and other media, translated into languages used across the metro region.
City of Bloomington participated in a workshop series to identify opportunities to build resilience related to local climate change. Recommendations are being developed to include in the Bloomington Comprehensive Plan update, estimated for completion in 2018. See attached file for specific details.