E-News for May 3, 2021
05/03/2021 - Weekly KRWA E-News
KRWA Works with the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) to Develop Water Experiment for Classrooms
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, KRWA received grant funds from NRWA, which originated from the US Dept of Agriculture, to conduct youth outreach and educate young people about the importance of the water and wastewater industry, including careers as water and wastewater operators. Then COVID hit and KRWA Apprenticeship Coordinator, Monica Wurtz, had to figure out a way to provide youth outreach without being able to enter any schools. Monica contacted Laura Downey, the Executive Director of KACEE, and Rachel Wahle, the Kansas Green Schools Coordinator. Laura and Rachel worked to develop a lesson plan titled, "Sparkling Water" that would teach students about where drinking water comes from and the importance of cleaning or treating wastewater before it is released into the environment. The lesson plan includes links to virtual treatment plant tours and directions for a water filtration experiment. The lesson works for students that are learning in the classroom or at home (virtual). KRWA purchased enough materials for 40 classrooms to be able conduct the experiment. If you know a teacher that would be interested in a "Sparking Water" lesson plan and experiment kit, please have them contact Monica Wurtz at (785) 262-7301 or email@example.com.
Vermillion Develops New Water Source
The city of Vermillion has commenced a water system improvement project by choosing an engineer, a groundwater geologist and a water well drilling contractor. Last week, a test well was completed through the aquifer known as the Atchison formation, a very fine sand, silt and clay deposit, which was likely formed in a glacial lake. Samples of the formation have been collected to help design the well. Associated Drilling, Inc, of Olsburg, Kansas is drilling the wells. Ned Marks of Terrane Resources is supervising the well drilling and design. CES Group of Marysville, Kansas, is the engineer. Funding for the project is primarily from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG). Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced in February that 32 rural communities were recipients of nearly $14M of federal grants. For more information about the Atchison Formation, see this bulletin from the Kansas Geological Survey.
Kansas Groundwater Study Announced
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Fort Hays State University are beginning a two-year study to collect water samples from private domestic drinking water wells in the valley aquifers of Beaver, Sappa and Prairie Dog Creeks, in northwest Kansas. This study offers private drinking water well owners the opportunity to have their wells tested for free for common mineral contaminants and allows KDHE to understand the extent of the mineral levels in the area and inform the public of the condition of their drinking water. Test results will be provided back to the well owner and used in the broader study to determine overall regional groundwater quality. [source]
Water Bill May Open Spigot
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 authorizes about $35 billion over five years to improve leaky pipes and upgrade facilities, and is widely supported by lawmakers and their states back home. Senators overwhelmingly approved the measure, 89-2, in what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called "a great example" of what's possible in Congress. Supported by a broad range of interest groups, the bill enables water and wastewater systems around the to country use the money to fix leaky pipes, construct storage tanks and improve water treatment plants, to name just a few uses. The bill also includes an array of grant programs, including to reduce lead in drinking water, turn waste to energy and make water systems more resilient to flooding and other extreme weather events. More than 40% of the bill’s investments are targeted to low-income and rural communities. [source]
Chlorine Shortage Stands to Wreak Havoc on Summer Pool Season
Summer pool season may be over for many before it even started, provided one wants to take a dip in sanitized self-contained body of water in their backyard. Goldman Sachs analyst Kate McShane last week warned in new research that the chlorine shortage building steam across the country is hardly improving. The problem — in terms of chlorine availability and prices —stems from Hurricane Laura causing a fire last August at one of the country's largest chlorine tablet makers BioLab. McShane notes that chlorine prices surged 37% year over year in March due to the supply shortage. Prices are seen spiking 58% year over year from June to August, McShane points out, right smack in the middle of pool using season. McShane continued, "When asked about whether the cost and availability of chlorine have improved in the last month or so, several respondents noted that while the supply of chlorine has improved somewhat, cost has not." [source]
Contamination Cleanup at Old Salina Air Base to Begin in Just a Matter of Months
A 22-year effort to clean up environmental contamination from the former Schilling Air Force Base in Salina will turn into a massive cleanup beginning this fall. Schilling operated from 1942 to 1965. The KDHE says it is now used for the Salina Regional Airport and industrial, aviation, military, and educational facilities. KDHE says contaminants that have been found and exceed EPA levels include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds, and metals. The Salina Airport Authority says cost of the cleanup is covered by a $65.9 million settlement approved by the U.S. District Court. [source]
Land Gifted For Public Park Along Saline River
A plan for a new public park for picnics, camping and fishing near the Saline River just south of Lincoln, is moving forward. Steve and Marion McReynolds last week transferred the deed for approximately 4.7 acres, near the river dam and site of the old Rees Mill, to the Board of Lincoln County Commissioners. This gift from the McReynolds family to the County will allow for a new waterfront park for outdoor recreation called “McReynolds Park.” The proposed McReynolds Park would offer easier access to the river for fishing and a large green space for activities and parking. The park may also accommodate three primitive camping sites with tent pads, picnic tables and mounted grills. [source]
LEMAs Slow to Catch On, But They Can Work
An acronym standing for Local Enhanced Management Areas, the voluntary program is designed for irrigators and other significant water users to self-regulate in this state. Various states have hatched ways to combat the decline beyond economic attrition. Kansas attacked the problem more aggressively this century with a cocktail of technology. Included were upgrades of irrigation equipment and techniques; farming practices such as innovations in reduced tillage or no till; developing crop varieties with more drought tolerance; and searching for choices that offer higher cash value, among them melding animal agriculture into farming operations. State regulators stepped in with alternatives as well, giving farmers the choice in irrigation intense groundwater management districts in western Kansas to voluntarily reduce pumping, or allow the government in by designating intensive groundwater use control areas. LEMAs are a “ground-up” solution, said Brownie Wilson, water data manager at the Kansas Geological Survey. Eight years since the first LEMA was approved in Sheridan County—known as the Sheridan 6, which is comprised of 99 square miles, mostly in Sheridan County and one township in Thomas County—there is proof that it works in one of the areas of highest of decline in GMD 4. [source]
Nemaha RWD 4 Seeks District Manager
Find details about this and other listings of open job positions as well as people seeking employment at the KRWA Watering Hole.
KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training
May 4: Water System Distribution Tools and Practices (ONLINE)
May 5: Water and Wastewater Utility Workshop: Operations & Management (Fort Scott)
May 5: Water System Distribution Tools and Practices (ONLINE)
May 6: Wastewater Lift Station Operation & Maintenance (Salina)
May 12: Competent Person for Trenching and Excavation (Haysville)
May 13: Confined Space Training (Haysville)
May 19-20: Basic Electrical Maintenance & Troubleshooting (Independence)
Dry conditions expanded in southwest and south central Kansas last week, with a one-class degradation, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Those abnormally dry conditions spreading may be a harbinger of actual drought to come without beneficial moisture.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central Region, Southern Plains Region and State of Kansas