Uncategorized $7 million needed to fix wastewater issues

$7 million needed to fix wastewater issues

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OSAGE CITY—Representatives of Burns and McDonnell presented an update to the ongoing study of the city’s wastewater system during the Dec. 23 meeting of the Osage City Council.

“The cost we came up with is around $6 million for a mechanical wastewater treatment plant,” said Jeff Bernard. “All of the options are expensive. There’s no inexpensive way to do wastewater treatment.”

The engineers study includes the existing collection system and treatment lagoons. Bernard suggested a mechanical treatment plant with the lagoons as a backup, opposing expensive irrigation systems, lagoon expansion, and lagoon-treatment combination systems.

“The lagoons historically haven’t met their permit limits,” Bernard said. “That’s no fault of the operation staff. It’s the fault of the lagoons not being designed to take on limits that KDHE put on them in 2010. The lagoons are still in 1988.

“The intent of my study was to take a look at lagoons, and see what we can do to comply with the permit limits, and anticipated permit limits, well into the future.”

Bernard also informed the council of a mounting need to remove sludge from the lagoon, which he priced out at $500,000.

“We’re talking about processing that sludge ourselves,” Bernard said.

The second part of the presentation involved the collection systems in the northeast part of the city.

“The issue we’re having, and what drove the consent order, was the overflows at the pump station, “ Bernard said. “The combination of the extra flow along with the restrictions downstream are causing the problems we’re having with the pump stations.”

Bernard said the first step would be to fix the downstream interceptor.

“We’re looking at $500,000 to $1 million,” he said. “We talked about taking 2015 to focus on that interception downstream – get that taken care of first, then move into the private property.”

Bernard identified private property sump pumps as the primary infiltration and inflow issue. He suggested using the next year to educate the public on the issue, as well as cost assistance from the city to remedy the inflow. Inspection could then begin in 2016.

The representatives also discussed the time frame for the projects, as well as financial options for the city, which they will meet with state agencies to discuss.

“We’re working with these guys, trying to set up a five-year plan,” Bernard said. “That way we can stretch those costs out over that time.”

The first report is due Jan. 15, with an engineering report pinned for April 1. An extension for the final completion of the project has already been granted.

“We got the permit adjusted,” Bernard said. “Originally, it had a date of 2017 to get new infrastructure built. We said we needed to leave it open ended, so they gave us until 2019. That gives us quite a bit of time.”

In other business, the council:

• conducted a budget hearing for amending the sewer fund to accommodate $214,000 toward EPA remediation previously approved by the council. The council approved the budget and public comment was received.

• authorized Quintin Robert, mayor, to execute an agreement for KLINK resurfacing between Fourth and Seventh streets, as approved Oct. 4.

• received notice from Terri Fultz, city clerk, that the filing deadline for city offices is Tuesday, Jan. 27. Candidates with expiring terms are Quintin Robert, mayor; Edward Berends, councilman, first ward; Duane Peroo, councilman, second ward; Linda Carson, councilwoman, third ward; and Leroy Stromgren, councilman, fourth ward.

• adopted Ordinance No. 1584, amending the city code to require a minimum five-inch extension on monument for military and civilian markers, benches allowed in place of a headstone, and decorations causing maintenance problems be subject to removal by the city.

• requested planning and zoning members attend the council’s Jan. 6 work session, following an extension request for a public hearing.

“We want to be able to have somebody that has a spare lot to be able to build an accessory building of some sort on that lot, and be able to use that accessory building, so we would be able to tax them for that accessory building,” Berends said. “An accessory building taxes a lot higher than a bare lot. People buy these bare lots with the assumption they can build something on them, then they find out they can’t. I’ve got several people that want me to call them when they find out when this public hearing is going to be held.”

• held a 10-minute executive session with Rod Willis, city manager, to discuss non-elected personnel.

• heard from Willis that additional money may be authorized for additional dredging of the city lake.

“If you did the whole thing, it’s another $1 million,” Willis said.

Council also discussed issues with dirt from the dredging being hauled to an alternative site.

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