Sunday, October 2, 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 Sept 19 2022

09/19/2022 - Weekly KRWA E-News

Water Emergency Issued for Town in Southeast Kansas
A water emergency is in effect for the city of Caney in Montgomery County. Town officials said water stopped flowing over the Little Caney River’s dam last week due to the ongoing drought. The town’s only water supply is what remains behind the dam, leaving only enough water for six weeks. Schools and businesses remain open in town but everyone is looking at ways to conserve water. [source

 

EPA to Begin Free Lead Testing in Cherokee County
Map of Site BoundariesThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will offer free residential lead testing, as part of a new sitewide assessment at the Cherokee County National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Site (site) in southeastern Kansas, within the site boundary. Residents located within the site may sign up to have residential yards, private drinking water wells, agricultural land, and other areas (such as parks, playgrounds, streams, and mine wastes) tested for heavy metals associated with historic mining, such as lead, zinc and cadmium. Lead is the primary contaminant of concern. The Cherokee County NPL Superfund Site covers approximately 115 square miles and includes the Kansas portion of the former Tri-State Mining District (TSMD), a 2,500-square-mile area in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. At one time, the TSMD was one of the world's largest producers of lead and zinc. [source

 

New Cheney Lake Watershed Manager Named as Lisa French Retires After 20 years
Chloe Gehring has been hired as the new project manager for Cheney Lake Watershed to replace Lisa French, who will retire on Oct. 1. French is retiring after 20 years as the project manager for the watershed. The organization originally formed to address the bad taste and smells of Wichita’s municipal water being drawn from Cheney Reservoir, French said. The issue was tied primarily to algae blooms in the reservoir and blamed on agricultural runoff. “At the same time, farmers in the watershed were concerned about bank erosion,” she said. The effort, which first began with a task force, took a while to get going, French said, but it picked up once money became available to address issues. The group secured funding from the city of Wichita and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. “The project always had strong farmer involvement,” French said. “Farmers were leading it and encouraged other farms to do things. It was a nice example of a partnership between farmers and urban areas.” The funding helped farmers implement conservation practices at little cost to their farms. Initially, they were more conventional conservation practices, like terraces and protecting waterways. Over the last 10 to 15 years, French said, the focus has moved more to soil health and implementing things like cover crops, no-till farming, and moving cattle away from streams. [source

 

WaterPACK Files Appeal in Hays R9 Ranch Ruling
The Water Protection Association of Central Kansas (WaterPACK), a non-profit organization of irrigators in south-central Kansas, has filed an appeal to a district judge's ruling pertaining to the state’s approval of applications to change irrigation water rights at the Edward's County R9 ranch to municipal use for the cities of Hays and Russell, who purchased the ranch and the water rights in 1995. The district judge’s decision last June affirmed the DWR Chief Engineer’s 2019 approval of the cities’ change applications. "It's their legal right to appeal the ruling," said Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty. "We don't think they'll be successful. We're more perplexed with the tactic and stance they're taking because it could have bigger ramifications to water right owners and ag-industrial consumptive uses of water, conversions of water from irrigation to another use." The cities have voluntarily agreed to use the water resource sustainably. By converting the R9 to municipal use, less water would be used than it was when farmed and fully irrigated. [source

 

Osawatomie's New Public Works Director Enjoys Serving Community
Director of Public Works Michele Silsbee has been on the job about two months, tackling the city of Osawatomie’s infrastructure goals. [source

 

City of Belle Plaine Shuts Down Water System for Repairs
The city of Belle Plaine restored water service to residents last Thursday after a water main break required service to be shut off so repairs could be made. [source

 

Water Main Break Forces Chase County Schools to Call Off Classes
A water main break between Cottonwood Falls and Strong City forced school officials to call classes off late last Thursday. Just before 1 a.m., Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office notified residents that a 16-inch water main was found to be the broken line - located parallel to Kansas Highway 177 between Strong City and Cottonwood Falls. By 6:10 a.m., officials were able to repair the break and began restoring service. [source

 

KC Parks and Rec Shuts Down Four Fountains Early Due to High Water Bill
Kansas City residents who frequent the the city’s many parks may have noticed a few of the 48 fountains have been turned off earlier than usual this year. KC Parks and Recreation says the cost to maintain and run the fountains have gone up due to rising water fees. Some residents are unhappy to see the fountains closed early. [source

 

EPA Inspector General to Probe Mississippi Capital Water Woes
An independent watchdog in the Environmental Protection Agency said last week it's being brought in to investigate the troubled water system in Mississippi's capital city. Water is flowing again, but the city of 150,000 is in the seventh week of a boil-water advisory. The Office of Inspector General is independent from the EPA, with a mission of detecting fraud, waste and abuse. The office issued a memo Tuesday saying it will look into the response to the crisis by EPA's regional office, as well as city and state officials. [source]  

 

Drowning in Plastic: Jackson's Water Crisis Results in Another Impact 
As the city of Jackson Mississippi recovers from the water treatment crisis that made water unusable even for bathing, another is stacking up in piles of empty plastic bottles. The city has distributed hundreds of thousands of water bottles in the past six weeks. Churches, businesses and other groups have rallied to bring truckloads of water to the capital. In the state’s first week of aid, it distributed about 5 million bottles, Gov. Tate Reeves said last week. Making things worse, the city ended its curbside recycling program in August 2019, saying the lack of interest and cost made it an impractical endeavor. Keep Jackson Beautiful is working with private recycling companies to collect empty bottles at some water distribution sites. Keelan Sanders, executive director said the group already was working with the city and Jackson Public School District on exploring ways to bring back some sort of recycling program. "The water crisis has basically expedited what we’re trying to do because we saw the need, especially with all the water bottles we are being inundated with now," he said. [source

 

Kansas Coalition for Open Government Sponsors KORA/KOMA Training in Hoxie
A training workshop for information about the Kansas Open Meetings Act and the Kansas Open Records Act will be held on Sept. 22, in Hoxie. The speaker will be Max Kautsch, Kansas Press Association attorney. He will teach about KOMA/KORA and answer any questions attendees may have. [source]  

 

Drought Takes Toll on Kansas Corn Crop
The dry, hot summer is devastating corn crops across Kansas. The extreme temperatures and lack of rainfall caused many plants in the western part of the state to shrivel up and die before they even grew a cob. Lucas Haag, a KSU agronomist based in Colby, says a tremendous amount of corn acres in that region will end up being abandoned because there’s nothing left to harvest. And that’s going to hurt the state’s agricultural economy this fall. “We're talking, you know, millions and millions of dollars. The (crop) reductions that are going to be due to drought, you know, we're talking huge sums of money," he said. More than half of the state’s corn is listed in poor or very poor condition by the USDA. That’s up from just 19% at this point last year. [source

 

Wichita Area Lawn Wells Running Dry
With the extreme drought expanding, there are now reports of well water drying up across south-central Kansas. “I started this company five years ago and this has definitely been the worst. Seeing these 100-degree temperatures day after day, even if you have an irrigated yard with water,” said Weed Man Wichita Owner and Operator Zach Whitehurst. [source

 

Hutchinson Fire Officials Warn of High Fire Danger
Due to the extremely dry conditions in the region, the Hutchinson Fire Department is asking residents to avoid using backyard fire pits or outdoor fireplaces. For the year, Hutchinson has received just 17.4 inches of precipitation, which is nearly 8 inches or 30% behind average. “We just want to try to get ahead of it,” said Hutchinson Fire Marshal Michael Cain in issuing the warning. “We want to try to get people to think about being safe until we get some kind of moisture.” [source

 

Drought Continues to Affect Missouri River Levels
Prolonged drought across the region has pushed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lower Missouri River levels from Nebraska City to Kansas City by a full foot. The lower levels will affect boat traffic and could impact municipal water supplies and other utilities that rely on the river. Missouri River Basin Water Management Director John Remus  says conditions have been getting worse since the drought first began to emerge in July of 2020. [source

 

New Job Postings on KRWA Website
The Kansas Rural Water Association's "Job Postings" web page includes openings that have recently been submitted by:

  • City of Derby: Senior Utilities Operator (Wastewater)
  • City of Lucas: Maintenance/Street Supervisor
  • Osage RWD 8: Full-time Certified Water Operator

KRWA provides this service at no charge. Job openings to be posted should be e-mailed in a Word or text document to krwa@krwa.net or ken@krwa.net. 

 

KRWA Sponsored Water & Wastewater Training

Sept. 20: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions and Chlorination (Webinar)
Sept. 21-22: Competent Person in Trenching & Excavation and Confined Space Training (Newton)
Sept. 22: Lead and Copper Rule Revisions and Chlorination (Webinar)
Oct. 4: Wastewater Lagoon Operation & Maintenance (Pamona)
Oct. 5-6: Competent Person in Trenching & Excavation and Confined Space Training (Manhattan)
Oct. 11: Lead/Copper Rule Revisions and SCADA Technologies (McPherson)
Oct. 12: Lead/Copper Rule Revisions and SCADA Technologies (Burlington)
Oct. 13: Lead/Copper Rule Revisions and SCADA Technologies (Leavenworth)
Oct. 18: Water Operator Training for Operator Certification (Great Bend)
Oct. 18: Wastewater Operator Training for Certification (Great Bend)
Oct. 20: Wastewater Lagoon Operation & Maintenance (Seneca)
Oct. 26-27: Understanding and Troubleshooting Motors and Variable Speed Drives (Garden City)
Nov. 1-2: Understanding and Troubleshooting Motors and Variable Speed Drives (Ottawa)
Nov. 29-30: Rescheduled Advanced Electrical Schematic Reading & Troubleshooting (Great Bend)

 

Drought Monitor
All categories of dryness and drought expanded across Kansas last week, as depicted on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. August ranked as the 7th driest since 2000, according to Assistant State Climatologist Matthew Sittel. The previous month, July, ranked as the 7th driest out of 128 years of state records. In Kansas and Nebraska, the latest 7-day streamflow levels were trending well below normal. While the USDM focuses on broad-scale conditions, your local conditions may be much worse or much better than depicted. For instance, Lincoln County is only shown as Abnormally Dry (D0) on the latest USDM but some parts of the county are reportedly chopping failed corn, dead soybeans and burned-up milo. You can use the Condition Monitoring Observer Reports (CMOR) system to report your local drought-related conditions and impacts. It will then become readily available to the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor and the media.
U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, released August 18, 2022.
U.S. Seasonal Precipitation Outlook, released August 18, 2022.U.S. Seasonal Temperature Outlook, released August 18, 2022.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central RegionSouthern Plains Region and State of Kansas