Archive for Thursday, November 1, 2007

Sewer plant plans advance

November 1, 2007

Basehor City Council has decided to move forward with the design phase of the wastewater treatment plant with Burns and McDonnell, but not before members discussed some other options.

At their meeting Monday, some council members were concerned that flow figures given were inaccurate. City Superintendent Gene Myracle presented average flows for several different months out of the year, and they all varied. Myracle said this was most likely due to the city's sizeable inflow and infiltration problem where stormwater seeps into the treatment system.

"There's always some margin of error," City Administrator Carl Slaugh said. "We feel the estimates we've made are accurate. If we cut our standards too tight, we're really eliminating our potential for growth."

It was suggested that the city focus on fixing the inflow-infiltration problem, which might eliminate the need for an expanded plant.

In a previous work session, Jeff Keller of Burns and McDonnell had told council members in a previous work session the city needed to do both. "It's unlikely you'll address so much I and I that you don't have to build the plant. You might delay it a year," he said.

The city already made has plans for both by budgeting about $4 million to expand the plant from 560,000 gallons per day to 1.1 million gallons per day and about $400,000 to address the inflow-infiltration issue for just the year 2008.

More funds will be added to address inflow-infiltration on a yearly basis, Slaugh said.

Council member Iris Dysart said she thought it was unwise for the city to continue putting money into this wastewater treatment plant that had been placed in a less-than-ideal position -- on a hill. She suggested continuing to look into connecting onto Bonner Springs' system.

While the ideal situation is not to be pumping sewage uphill to the plant, Keller said, the city is under a time constraint from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"I thought we analyzed all of that stuff a year ago when we were talking about different options," Council President Terry Thomas said in response to Dysart's comments. "The issue for us tonight is whether to get the design plan done or not. We need to take a step forward. We've got to get the design started in order to meet the KDHE deadline."

The council approved the next phase of design for the wastewater treatment plant, 3-1, with Dysart opposed and Keith Sifford absent.

KDOT indicates plans to deny access

A recent meeting between the Kansas Department of Transportation, Slaugh and Ed McIntosh with Benchmark Management proved to be disappointing for the future of the Wolf Creek Junction, a development on the northeast corner of U.S. Highway 24-40 and 155th Street.

McIntosh has said in previous interviews that having a right-in, right-out access on 153rd Street from U.S. 24-40 into his development is crucial to its success, especially for the grocery store that is planned for that area.

Construction on the grocery store has been put on hold partially because developers are waiting to see if KDOT will grant the right-in, right-out access upon completion of the 24-40 Corridor Study.

While the study is in the final stages of completion, Benchmark Management requested the meeting to gain some insight on what KDOT's decision would be.

"They had some pretty convincing arguments as to why they're going to deny the right-in, right-out because of safety issues," Slaugh said. "They also consider the distance between 150th Street and 155th too close to put in another access."

McIntosh said he planned to continue to push for the 153rd Street access.

"I will still work on getting it," he said. "And I would appreciate the support of the city. Just because they said no once doesn't mean it will be no forever."

The 24-40 Corridor Study was created to develop a 30-year future land use plan along a two-mile wide strip of U.S. 24-40 from Kansas Highway 7 west through Tonganoxie.

In addition to the 153rd Street access, Slaugh said future signal lights in Basehor also were discussed in the meeting with KDOT.

While the safety of the U.S. 24-40 and 158th Street intersection is a concern for several residents, Slaugh said KDOT indicated that if the city wanted a light to remain at 155th Street, a signal light would not be put in at 158th Street.

Slaugh created a resolution for the council's consideration stating that the council requests the signal light at 155th Street remain, along with additional full-access intersections at 142nd, 147th, 158th and 166th Streets as the city develops and the need exists. He said the purpose of the resolution was to put more emphasis on what the city wants for its future.

The council approved the resolution, 3-1, with Jim Washington opposed.

City plans for possible future trails

Two plans for walking trails within the city have been discussed because of possible grants available through KDOT.

One of the trail plans calls for a 10-foot-wide trail that runs from 155th Street through the Tomahawk Valley subdivision, which is currently undeveloped, across 158th Street, connecting with a trail in the Prairie Gardens subdivision that will lead south to the new Basehor Community Library.

The other plan is a trail that runs from Basehor Elementary School along the south side of Klamm Street to Basehor City Park. Slaugh said some of this trail will be the standard 10 feet wide, while other parts of it will be considered more of a sidewalk at 5 feet wide because it goes through an already-established residential area.

"They are supposed to fit in with a trail the city has already adopted," Slaugh said about the criteria for the KDOT grant. "Our Tomahawk Valley trail fits the criteria better. The Basehor Elementary trail is a little further off as far as the ideal trail, but we're still going to try to get funding on it."

The Basehor PRIDE groups are also assisting with the BES-to-City Park trail plan because of a grant opportunity through K-State Research and Extension.

The PRIDE groups were to think of a project that would promote healthy lifestyle habits and submit the plan for a chance at the $3,000 grant. Slaugh said if this grant is awarded, it will go toward additional trail needs, such as signage rather than construction.

The KDOT grants would fund 80 percent of the construction costs for the trails with the city picking up the remaining 20 percent. Preliminary estimates show that the Tomahawk Valley trail would cost the city about $119,475 while the BES-to-City Park trail will cost about $35,533.

The grant applications are due by Nov. 7 and the item will be put on the next council agenda for approval. The city will find out if it has been awarded the grants in summer 2008.

Stricter grease trap regulations proposed

A sewer line back up in Wolf Creek Junction caused by a large amount of grease that was first brought to the council's attention at the Sept. 6 meeting, has city officials thinking about revamping the city's regulations regarding grease traps.

A property owner mowing the lawn noticed reported the back up to the city, Myracle said. A flush company was brought in, eventually cleared the backup and repaired a manhole, costing the city about $2,000.

Officials said it was fairly clear that neglected grease traps at Casey's General Store caused the grease blockage since the business and one resident are the only ones using that particular sewer line so far.

"After we found it was stopped up, we told them (Casey's) that the grease trap had not been cleaned out," Slaugh said. "They said they haven't cleaned them out since the store opened."

The city has some regulations on grease traps, Slaugh said, but codes do not indicate how often businesses are required to clean them out. However there is a city ordinance that prohibits dumping anything in the sewer that might damage or block the lines.

Slaugh said the city sent the almost $600 bill for flushing out the sewer line to Casey's. While Casey's was not willing to admit responsibility for the blockage, Slaugh said, it offered to pay for half of the bill.

Creating stricter regulations on grease traps such as how often they are monitored and emptied, Slaugh said, would help protect the city against future blockages.

While some council members argued that having such regulations would make the city seem hostile toward future businesses, Slaugh said several cities are creating or changing their regulations because blockages in sewer lines caused by grease is becoming such a problem. It may not seem like a big deal now, Slaugh said, but once that area becomes more developed, such blockages could damage homes or other businesses costing the city thousands of dollars.

"We're not interested in making a big deal over $600," Slaugh said. "We're just trying to protect ourselves from grease backups."

In other action Monday night, the council:

  • Approved, 3-2, with Dysart and Washington opposed and Mayor Chris Garcia breaking the tie, an ordinance annexing property at 18701 153rd St., Briarwood subdivision.
  • Approved, 4-0, a replat of Lot 1, Block 6 of the Honey Creek Farms subdivision.
  • Approved, 4-0, the revised final development plan for The Medicine Store.
  • Approved, 4-0, authorizing the mayor to sign renewal agreement for Special Traffic Enforcement Program.
  • Set, 4-0, a notice of hearing date for 7 p.m. Dec. 17, for the owner, agents, lien holders of record and occupants of the structures (15411 Parallel Road, 1104 N. 150th St., and 2805 N. 155th St.) to appear to show cause why such structures should not be condemned and ordered repaired or demolished as unsafe or dangerous structures.
  • Approved, 4-0, the repair of 125 horsepower Smith & Loveless pump to be used as spare for Falcon Lakes lift station.
  • Approved, 4-0, an interlocal agreement with Jeff Theno for wastewater upsize fees, Victory Crest subdivision.
  • Met in executive session for 60 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel and acquisition of real estate.

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