Saturday, January 22, 2022
     
"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 Jan. 10, 2022

01/10/2022 - Weekly KRWA E-News

Program for the 2022 KRWA Annual Conference & Exhibition Mailed - Online Registration is Open
The program for the 2022 KRWA Conference & Exhibition for water and wastewater systems has been mailed and is available online. "Making Every Drop Count" is this year's theme, whether it's "drops" or "people" — everyone counts. KRWA 2022 Conference and Exhibition BrochureThe KRWA annual conference offers a wide range of training sessions and special guest speakers in order to become more informed and make a positive impact on their local utilities with more than 80 expert presenters, including pre-conference sessions on Tuesday, and breakout sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. The KRWA annual conference also features the largest assembly of vendors in the Midwest as they showcase materials and services with more than 350 exhibit spaces. All these features, combined with great food, entertainment, along with prizes and drawings make the KRWA Conference the "place to be," March 29 - 31, at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita. [more

 

As Western Kansas Dries Up, Legislature Revisits Water Policy
This legislative session, House Water Committee members will look to reorganize the Kansas agencies that deal with water and identify long-needed funding for projects. In Kansas, 16 state agencies — from the Adjutant General’s Office to the Kansas Forest Service and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment — have overlapping authority over water quality, research, flood management and other issues. On top of those, federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Army Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction over water. Committee Chair, Ron Highland, says that creates the potential for substantial overlap and confusion for citizens. One of his priorities for the Water Committee will be restructuring the state departments to streamline water policy. Beyond that, he notes that water priorities in Kansas had been underfunded to the tune of more than $70 million in recent decades. [source

 

Kansas Resident Sues U.S. Air Force Over PFAS Contaminated Domestic Well
Mary J. O’Brien last week filed suit against the United States in the District of Kansas, alleging that her domestic well has been contaminated with Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), by activities of the U.S. Air Force. Nearby McConnell Air Force base, the complaint claims, has various training areas, all of which use Aerosol fire-fighting foams, containing PFAS compounds. The chemicals are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since if they enter a water system, they have the capacity to “cause human health effects to system users if they are ingested above a specified level for a long period of time,” per court documents. While the plaintiff apparently could be served by the city of Derby, she indicates USAF has discouraged this connection because they do not want to pay for the alternative water source. Her complaint states that the contaminated groundwater ruined the value of the property on top of causing “annoyance, inconvenience, and loss of peace of mind to the plaintiff.” O’Brien is seeking judgement in the amount of $350,000 in addition to other costs and relief. [source]

 

De Soto Hopes to Strike Deal to Remake Former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant
Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, water towers.De Soto officials are laying the groundwork for Johnson County's largest contiguously owned site to effectively house a new town. It will be a years-long challenge involving a defunct Army ammunition plant that has already sat empty and contaminated, for decades. The De Soto City Council will consider establishing a tax increment financing (TIF) district that includes just over 6,000 acres of the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, located southeast of a bend in Kansas Highway 10 in western Johnson County. The council voted in November to annex about 6,376 acres — the vast majority of them part of the 9,000-acre former ammo plant — and signed a pre-development agreement with Sunflower Redevelopment Group. The proposed TIF district will allow 100% of property tax increases to be captured for 20 years in each of four planned project areas, with 80% of funds earmarked for private cleanup and infrastructure projects and the rest for public infrastructure. In exchange for its incentive, Sunflower will give the city rights to utilities along Sunflower Road, including water and sewer lines and water wells, and fund public improvements with TIF reimbursements. The site is inundated with environmental contaminants, distributed throughout about 2,200 deteriorated building structures and foundations, 50 miles of industrial sewers, multiple landfills and contaminated ponds. Cleanup costs are pegged around $248 million, and remediation efforts are anticipated to take until 2026. But not everybody is happy with the proposal. Nearby property owners have filed a petition to stop the industrial park portion of the proposal which would rezone 370 acres of the property to light industrial use. The City Council plans two meetings later this month to address plans to create the TIF district that would support the proposed redevelopment. [source]

 

Larned Council Nixes CDBG Project Price Increase
After considerable discussion, the Larned City Council last week refused to grant a price increase for the community’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) waterline replacement project after contractors in charge of the project requested an additional $49,107, due to the higher cost of materials. Work on the project was put on hold last summer at the request of contractors due to difficulty securing project materials. The council was concerned in part that the project was near the CDBG match cap of $600,000 and the city might not be reimbursed for additional increases. [source]

 

Water Conservation Efforts Expected to Continue Along Missouri River
Communities along the Missouri River can expect below normal flow in the river for the foreseeable future. The U.S Corps of engineers reiterated last week that minimum releases from the Gavins Point dam in South Dakota will be made throughout the winter season. Kevin Low, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service, says snowpack levels near the Rocky Mountains remain below normal. Pair this with persistent drought conditions, and Low says Water Year 2021 was one of the driest on record. "The majority of the basin is dry to extremely dry, and the latest drought monitor puts 84% of the basin as being classified as 'abnormally dry or worse,'" Low said. "Water Year '21, which covered the period from October 2020 through September 2021, was the 17th driest on record for the basin in 126 years." Corps officials have also noted that 2021 was the 10th lowest annual runoff for the Missouri River Basin in 123 years of record keeping. [source]

 

Kansas Leopold Conservation Award Seeks Nominees
Know a Kansas farmer, rancher or forestland owner who goes above and beyond in the care and management of natural resources? Nominate them for the 2022 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. [source]

 

KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training
Jan. 11-14: Backflow Prevention - Cross Connection Control (Topeka)
Jan. 11: Chemical Feed Pumps & What They Deliver (Online)
Jan. 12: Distribution - Practical Methods Worth Utilizing (Online)
Jan. 25-28: Backflow Prevention - Cross Connection Control (Lawrence)
Jan. 25: Groundwater Technologies and Chlorination (Colby)
Jan. 27: Groundwater Technologies and Chlorination (Lakin)

 

Drought Monitor
While two winter storm systems brought limited short-term relief to some parts of Kansas, the overall snow water equivalent was not enough to have a significant effect on long-term drought-stressed rangeland and streamflows. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates conditions continued to deteriorate in Kansas with at least a 1-class degradation over parts of south-central and southwest counties. More than half the state is now in some classification of drought, with another quarter of the state in a precursor to drought.
Kansas portion of the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Dec. 4, 2022.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas