Saturday, February 27, 2021
     
"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.

E-News for Feb. 22, 2021

02/22/2021 - Weekly KRWA E-News

Rural Water Responds to Historic Winter Weather
State Rural Water Association’s and rural water operators throughout the region dealt with extreme winter weather conditions last week and Kansas was no exception. Wastewater Technician Charlie Schwindamann and Circuit Rider Greg Metz were on site last week to assist the city of Republic with a lift station issue. Schwindamann assisting the city of Republic, Kansas with a water main break.They assisted the city in -21-degree temperatures with a vacuum pump on a Smith and Loveless pump that had not been working. The city’s water tower had frozen up and then encountered a six-inch water main break. The Circuit Rider and Wastewater Technician assisted the city with replacing 15 feet of water main that had split, set pressure reliefs to run the system in bypass mode, and restored water to the customers. [source

 

Oil Spill Drains into Salina Municipal Golf Course System
Salina Parks and Recreation Department Director, Chris Cotton was doing his normal rounds last Wednesday, when he found oil running down a hill at the Salina Municipal Golf Course. The constant below-freezing weather along with the low record of 13 below zero on Tuesday caused the main outlet on a nearby gun barrel to freeze causing the oil to overflow. “When it gets this cold for this long it froze down below so the salt water could not drain from the tank and so all of the production was just pushing up and it pushed the oil right out of the gun barrel,” said Greg Eves, a pumper for Oil Partners, who takes care of the well. Oil spill at Salina golf course.Salina emergency crews, Oil Partners, Pat Zink, with Brackeen Line Cleaning and Keith Karlin, an Environmental Compliance Regulatory Specialist at Kansas Corporation Commission, worked together to find out the best way to clean up the environmental catastrophe. [source

 

Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District Receives Grant
The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding a $92,026 grant to Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 3 to better manage irrigation in 12 southwest Kansas counties by building a database to provide annual water management reports to every irrigator in the District. It is part of a $15.4 million investment for 18 projects in the west to prepare for and respond to drought. The WaterSMART Drought Program funding will leverage $54.9 million in non-federal cost-share to complete projects in seven Western states. [source

 

Federal Agencies Launch Probe into Power Outages
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last week announced they will launch formal probes into problems with natural gas deliveries and the performance of nuclear facilities during the historically frigid winter weather. That probe will involve review of actions by SPP, ERCOT and the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator, which also directed some members in Texas, Louisiana and Illinois to conserve power. "Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions," said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who also called on the state's legislators to investigate ERCOT's operations during the event. More than 4 million Texas consumers have faced service disruptions since Sunday. The power outages and rolling blackouts were also contributing to water-pumping problems and telecommunications and internet outages in many areas. [source

 

KCC Emergency Order to Ensure Adequate Natural Gas, Electricity
In a special meeting last week, KCC issued an emergency order directing utilities under its jurisdiction to do all things possible and necessary to ensure adequate amounts of natural gas and electricity to meet the needs of Kansas customers including interconnected non-jurisdictional utilities that depend on them for power. Monday's order also authorizes every jurisdictional electric and natural gas distribution utility that incurs extraordinary costs associated with ensuring its customers continue to receive utility service during this cold weather event to defer those costs to a regulatory asset account for future review by the Commission. [source]  

 

Water Supply Problems Mount Across Texas Amid Power Outages 
Conditions have improved over the weekend, but many Texas water treatment plants appear to have been under-prepared for the loss of power and extreme cold last week. About 7 million people in Texas, including residents of Houston, Arlington, Fort Worth and Tyler, were told to boil their water. "As of noon today, there were 332 local water systems reporting impacts in 110 counties across the state, 276 issued boil water notices," Toby Baker, who heads the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said during a Wednesday press briefing. Officials in Abilene, Texas, a city of 123,000 people, announced Monday night that all city water services had been shut off due to the historic winter storm and subsequent power outages. The city water services were shut down at 7 p.m. local time "as a result of power outages from both power sources at all three of [their] water treatment plants," the city said in a statement. Less than two hours after warning customers that the supply was limited, firefighters were forced to watch a house burn as the lack of water prevented them from extinguishing the blaze. Power was restored to one of the city's water treatment plants by Tuesday. Water Utilities Director Rodney Taylor said he is going to recommend the city install a back up generator systems at the water plants. [source

 

Kansas Forest Service Prepping for Busy Spring Fire Season
Eric Ward, an assistant fire manager officer with the Kansas Forest Service, said his agency is preparing for what could be an active spring for the state’s 600-plus fire agencies and more than 10,000 firefighters. A swing to drier weather patterns and higher winds this spring is likely to increase the risk of wildfires in parts of Kansas, according to a recent report from officials with the Kansas Mesonet, a network of 70 weather stations throughout the state. Chip Redmond, the manager of Kansas Mesonet, added that the expected weather conditions combined with an above normal amount of grass loading – or fuel – has increased the potential of fire in south central to northwest Kansas. “The weather pattern is anticipated to transition toward La Niña and become conducive to dry frontal passages by early March,” Redmond writes in a recent forecast of the potential for spring wildfires. “With recent drought in the western part of the state, these areas are likely to expand because precipitation trends statewide are below normal through most of spring, a time of more critical importance for annual moisture totals.” [source

 

Researchers in China Say Blasting Soundwaves Into Sky Shows Promise in Increasing Rainfall
In a weather manipulation experiment conducted on the Tibetan Plateau last year, researchers say they recorded increases in rainfall of up to 17 per cent, by pointing a giant loudspeaker at the sky. The sound energy might have changed cloud physics, but the cause of the phenomenon would require further investigation, the researchers said in a peer-reviewed paper published in Scientia Sinica Technologica in January. But the study and its findings are not without skeptics. [source

 

KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training
Feb. 23: Safety Matters - Training for Water and Wastewater Operators (ONLINE)
Feb. 23-24: Cross Connection - Backflow Prevention - Topeka
Feb. 24: Activated Sludge (ONLINE)
Mar. 2: Water and Wastewater Utility Preventative Maintenance - Garden City
Mar. 4: Water and Wastewater Utility Preventative Maintenance - Hutchinson
Mar. 10: Chemical Feed and Disinfection (ONLINE)
Mar. 16: Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Training (Great Bend)
Mar. 17: Math Made Easy (ONLINE)
Mar. 24: Distribution Tools and Practices (ONLINE) 

 

Drought Monitor
While slight improvements were noted last week in portions of northeast and north-central Kansas, the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook indicates drought persistence or intensification is expected throughout the existing drought areas all across the High Plains Region. In particular, last week's update notes that the expected warm and dry spring, along with antecedent conditions slightly drier than normal, point toward drought expanding across south-central Kansas by the end of spring.
Latest Seasonal Drought Assessment released Feb. 18, 2021.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas