Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sewer plant study on tap

August 25, 2005

With $5 million or more hanging in the balance, Basehor city officials want to avoid an expensive mistake when deciding on the sewage treatment plant's future. To prevent a costly pitfall, city council members are taking steps to ensure they have accurate information before making a decision.

Earlier this month, Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia, city attorney John Thompson and city engineer Joe McAfee met with representatives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. A topic discussed during the meeting was how the city safely could plan for expansion of the treatment plant.

State health officials advised, and city council members agreed, it would be prudent to hire an independent engineering firm to study the treatment plant's capacity.

"We need someone to say, 'I agree with your numbers' or 'I disagree with your numbers,'" Garcia said. "We need to get this, once and for all, answered."

This week, Garcia was scheduled to begin contacting engineering companies regarding a treatment plant study. The project will not be let for bid, Garcia said.

Earlier this year, Basehor city superintendent Gene Myracle told council members that the treatment plant was nearing its first-phase capacity. Between 75 to 100 new connections separated the treatment plant from its optimum use, Myracle said.

City officials are considering a project that would increase capacity from treating 535,000 gallons per day to up to 2.4 million gallons per day.

In July, engineers from Professional Engineers Consultants estimated the treatment plant expansion could cost the city between $5.5 million and $6 million. The cost estimate was based on what construction costs and materials could rise to by January 2006, engineers said.

Garcia said the council's desire to have an outside firm study the plant capacity is an effort to confirm the estimates released by Myracle earlier this year.

"I don't think we want to just jump into this thing," Garcia said. "I think you want to make sure those numbers are accurate. ... Again, it's another top priority -- to get these questions answered."

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