Monday, October 14, 2019
     
"An investment in Knowledge pays the best Interest."

Ben Franklin's words still ring true today. So we pick out the most appropriate articles in current events and news regarding the Water Industry both nationally and in Kansas to filter the most pertinent information for you.

Weekly News - Oct. 7, 2019

10/07/2019 - Weekly KRWA E-News

KDA/DWR to Host Public Meetings in St. John
The Division of Water Resources last week announced plans to host two public meetings in St. John, both on Oct. 21, to present information pertaining to their upcoming action responding to an impairment complaint by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on behalf of Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Water rights owners in the area were sent notices last week detailing DWR's plan to administer water rights. The meetings will review the anticipated regulatory actions and the ongoing work with local stakeholders to develop a Water Conservation Area (WCA), which could provide flexibility in water use for those regulated water rights. The agency also plans to livestream the presentations and archive them on their website. More information related to the impairment complaint and investigation findings, the planned water administration, and plans to develop a WCA to provide flexibility can be found at agriculture.ks.gov/Quivira. Questions can also be directed to DWR’s Stafford Field Office at (620) 234-5311. [source

 

Wichita Mayor Alleged to have Steered Water Plant Contract to Friends
Wichita's plan to construct a new water treatment facility is at the center of a controversy that made national headlines last week and appears to have sparked an investigation by the office of the Sedgwick County District Attorney. The city plans to spend about $524 million to build a new drinking water treatment plant. A city selection committee unanimously recommended awarding the contract to Jacobs Engineering, one of the nation’s leading design firms that specializes in water treatment plants. Instead, at Longwell’s urging, the City Council gave it to Wichita Water Partners, a group that has less experience designing large water plants. An ethics expert who has spent decades providing guidance to local officials said the way the city awarded the project could damage public trust and raises “big red flags.” In an article published by the Wichita Business Journal on Monday, Mayor Longwell said building and maintaining positive relationships in Wichita's business community is "an essential part of my job." "Wichita is a tight-knit community, and during my time as mayor — and before, I have built relationships with many local business owners and leaders," Longwell's statement said. "Public-private partnership is an ideal model for city development and is one that is embraced by cities across the country. While these relationships help to build trust, my personal relationships don’t influence my decisions to do what is right for our city." Wichita's 80-year-old plant could fail at any moment, officials have said, leaving 500,000 people without water. How the project is handled will affect how much residents pay for water — and the quality of that water for generations to come. “The district attorney has not reached out to me to show me what the concern is,” Longwell indicated late last week. “Naturally I will cooperate with any request for information.” [source

 

Wichita City Council Approves Emergency Modifications to Water System
Wichita last week also authorized $350,000 in repairs to patch their old water treatment plant to meet KDHE requirements. Emergency modifications were required for the disinfection process. "The process control system for chlorine and ammonia basically automates the correct dose for disinfection for the water.  With the current system in place, when it's run in automatic mode those disinfectant dosages can be inconsistent," according to Don Henry, Assistant Director at Wichita Public Works and Utilities. [source

 

Emporia Approves Agreement with Lyon RWD No. 2
The Emporia City Commission last week approved a $35,000 purchase of a portion of waterlines and territory from Lyon County RWD No. 2. The district approached the city about taking over the territory and waterlines due to KDOT's upcoming expressway project, which would separate the territory from the district's service. "As KDOT is paving their expressway and extending it further west, the natural growth will happen by industries or by residential," said City Engineer Jim Ubert. "The Rural Water District does not have ability to provide sanitary sewer service." There are currently 12-15 residential customers in the service area who will pay rural water rates on the City of Emporia water system. The revenue should pay off the purchase in about two years. Emporia ordinances require that the area also be annexed. [source

 

Retired Caney City Clerk Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement  
Carole Sue Coker last week pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release. Coker, who served as city clerk for about 40 years, admitted she took money from payments made to the city in the form of cash and checks.  As part of her plea deal, Coker agreed to pay more than $150,000 in restitution. Sentencing is schedule for Dec. 19, and she faces up to 20 years in federal prison. [source

 

Corps Announces First Contract Award for Kansas River Levee
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $33.3 million design-build contract in the first construction contract to be awarded as part of a much larger federal investment in the Kansas City's Levees Program. Improvement projects are just now getting underway some 26 years after the flood of 1993 prompted the improvements to be undertaken. Project design will begin in October 2019 and construction is anticipated to commence in the fall of 2020. The Program includes improvements to approximately 17 miles of existing levees and floodwalls along the Kansas River in Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. Projects will improve the reliability and reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses located behind the levees within the Kansas City metropolitan area. While the project took decades to get moving after the 1993 flood, Corps Levees Program Manager Scott Mensing said it would help prevent possible future catastrophes. [source]

 

Levee Repairs Daunting as Rising Missouri River Again Threatens to Undo Work
A home is surrounded by floodwater on March 22, 2019 in Craig, Missouri.Meanwhile, about 350 miles of levees in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas were damaged in this spring’s historic Missouri River flooding, said Brig. Gen. D. Peter Helmlinger, commander of the USACE Northwestern Division. Along the full length of the river and its tributaries, an estimated 1,000 miles are affected. Ten times as many levee breaches occurred with this flood as happened in 2011. Outside of the enormity of the task, the biggest obstacle has been the ongoing, record wet weather. A succession of rainstorms this spring and summer in the Missouri River basin has caused fresh flooding that has washed out repairs at least twice — in May and August. For the most part, the corps is “just” plugging holes and then moving on to the next breach. Rarely are levees being repaired back to their full height and width. There’s too much work to get done before flood season returns. Returning levees on the Missouri River to their pre-flood condition will cost about $1.1 billion, Helmlinger said, with most of that money going toward levees between Omaha and Rock Port, Missouri. So far, $125 million has been spent. Officials in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska last week teamed up to submit a draft study proposal to the USACE. The analysis, which could take up to six months to complete, would identify constriction points such as levees, roads or bridge embankments that can increase the river’s chances of flooding. Federal, state and local officials then could come up with alternatives as part of a regional approach to reducing the damage from future floods. [source

 

KRWA Training Calendar

 

October 8: Hiawatha
Wastewater Lagoon Operation and Maintenance

 

October 9: Leavenworth
Competent Person for Trenching and Excavation and Confined Space Training 

 

October 9: Newton
Water Distribution Workshop

 

October 10: Miltonvale
Wastewater Lagoon Operation and Maintenance

 

October 15: Hays
Process Control Instrumentation for Chlorine Analysis

 

October 16: Garden City
Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Exams

 

Drought Monitor
Many locations in Kansas experienced one of the warmest Septembers since records began, with monthly average temperatures from 6 to 9 degrees above normal. According to the National Weather Service, Wichita, Salina and Chanute tallied their 2nd warmest September, and Russell its warmest. Early last week, much of Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma continued to experience above normal temperatures that were 6-12 degrees above normal. Precipitation was varied over the High Plains, but conditions remained dry in southwestern Kansas. While a mid-week cold front brought cooler temperatures and much needed precipitation to the region, dryness and drought remain a concern. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates no significant changes in dryness or drought conditions in Kansas last week. Just to our west, abnormally dry conditions were expanded over southeast Colorado.  
Kansas portion of the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Oct. 3, 2019.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas

 

E-News is compiled and edited by Ken Kopp, KRWA. Subscribe to this weekly newsletter by e-mail to krwa@krwa.net with subject "subscribe krwa e-news."