Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Basehor council searching for treatment plant answers

October 13, 2005

With future growth hinging on it and between $5 and $6 million hanging in the balance, expanding the city's wastewater treatment facility is a decision that none among Basehor's decision makers wants to bungle.

"We know that we've got to do something," Basehor mayor Chris Garcia said. "I think we're looking for any answer we can find at this point."

In a continuing effort to find those answers, City Council members met Monday night with the Leavenworth County Commission and representatives of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to formulate a plan for expanding the city's sewage treatment.

In recent months, the City Council has discussed an expansion project for the treatment plant, which is nearing its phase one capacity of treating approximately 560,000 gallons per day. The project under consideration entails expanding the plant to its phase four maximum capacity of 2.4 million gallons per day.

City superintendent Gene Myracle reiterated the city's need to expand the treatment plant Monday night.

"Don't think I just want to build a new plant," Myracle said. "The only thing I can tell you is what the plant tells me. ... No matter how I run it, that plant is hitting a wall."

While indicating he believes something needs to be done to expand the treatment plant and the city's capability to treat sewage now and in the future, City Council president John Bonee said he wanted the city to explore "something between here and $7 million."

Of those options, or "buffers," thrown out for discussion Monday was whether adding lagoons, or similar components short of a full-fledged treatment plant expansion could plug holes for the city on a short-term basis.

"Let's think ahead and make practical, logical steps toward our goal," Bonee said.

The city is awaiting results from Larking Group, a private firm hired to analyze the treatment plant and confirm the city's findings that it is reaching capacity.

Results of Larkin's analysis should be completed in 30 to 45 days.

Rod Geisler of the health and environment department said that 700 to 800 lagoons are in use across the state, typically in towns that have populations below 3,000. However, he said "it's really not unusual when large communities above 5,000 have a lagoon" in use for a few days a month.

He also said "the type of treatment plant you have now is appropriate" and called Basehor's facility "one of the best in the entire state."

No decision was made during Monday's exploratory meeting. Garcia said more discussions will take place once the results of Larkin's study are completed.

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