Archive for Thursday, October 4, 2007

Council puts off treatment facility decision

October 4, 2007

While the Basehor City Council is feeling the urgency to move on with the wastewater treatment facility plans, members nonetheless have decided the decision should not be rushed.

The council voted, 4-1, with Keith Sifford opposed, to table approval of the next phase of design for the wastewater treatment plant with Burns and McDonnell during Monday night's meeting.

Jeff Keller from Burns and McDonnell spoke at the meeting to revisit the scope of the plant expansion, first introduced to the council in August, as well as the schedule for the project.

Improvements to the wastewater system will begin at the primary 163rd Street lift station that goes into the plant. While the lift station has two pumps, Keller said, a third pump is needed in case one of the pumps fails.

"The city owns the third pump, but it has not been installed," Keller said.

Other improvements to the lift station include the installation of three variable frequency drives, which control the speed of the pumps, a screening vault, which blocks large pieces of debris, and a chemical feed system, which controls odor.

"You put in (chemical feed) before you get to the plant, so it controls the odor before it shows up," Keller said.

A chemical feed in the 163rd Street lift station will also help prevent further damage to the headworks building, or the first building within the wastewater treatment plant. Keller said odor has caused corrosive gases to build up and eat away at electrical systems within the building. While the structure itself may be salvageable, most of the internal equipment will need to be replaced.

More improvements within the plant include an upgrade to an existing treatment basin, as well as the addition of a new basin, upgraded final clarifiers, an expanded UV disinfection and the creation of lab space.

Keller said the expansion also would include future plans to add additional processing equipment to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus in the water.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment verbally agreed to allow the city 8 milligrams per liter of total nitrogen and 1.5 milligrams per liter of total phosphorus. While these levels are higher than the current water standards at the plant, it is the lowest tier of stringency that KDHE can place on new or improved wastewater treatment facilities. However, as time goes on, those standards are expected to rise.

"Not only are we increasing the size of the plant, but the state is going to, as the years progress, require higher and higher water quality standards," Keller said. "We're making room for that."

As for a timeline, if the authorization for the design phase, bid phase and construction phase is approved in the near future, Keller said they will start the design phase this month with completion in April. The project should then be ready to bid by April or May 2008, with construction to begin July 2008 and completion in fall 2009.

While the draft authorization was set for approval Monday evening, some council members said they did not have enough time to look at the document since they just received it Friday.

"I haven't had the time to go through it in the type of depth that I'd like," council member Jim Washington said.

Council president Terry Thomas agreed, suggesting the council add a discussion about the document to next Monday's work session. He also pointed out some items that needed to be clarified in the document to Keller.

Other council members disagreed.

"In my opinion, if we have another work session on this with these gentlemen from Burns and McDonnell, are they going to tell us anything different?" Sifford asked. "It's just two weeks that we're delaying this project. As far as I'm concerned, I'm ready to pass this thing tonight and move on."

City Administrator Carl Slaugh said that as long as the decision was not delayed more than two weeks, the city should still be in good shape.

"In terms of impact on the community and cost, we need to put in the time so everyone feels comfortable," he said. "Two weeks won't hurt us if we want to add it on for the work session."

The council is set to vote on the matter at the Oct. 15 meeting.

In other action Monday night, the council:

  • Denied, 4-1, with Sifford in favor, the consideration to waive the sewer connection fee for property at 18701 153rd St., Briarwood subdivision.
  • Approved, 5-0, renewal of the contract for the 2007 audit with Lowenthal, Singleton, Webb & Wilson.
  • Denied, 4-1, with Sifford in favor, the consideration to waive delinquent fees for property located at 15525 Walnut Court.
  • Approved, 5-0, the renewal of maintenance agreement with Tyler Technologies for support of FundBalance software.
  • Met in executive session for approximately 35 minutes for non-elected personnel matters.

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