Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Basehor-area sewer districts have had a troubled existence

September 5, 2007

Editor's note: Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh says a story in last week's Sentinel confused issues because it mixed references to two different sewer districts. He wrote this piece to set the record straight.

Carl Slaugh

Basehor City Administrator

Within the Basehor growth area are two sewer districts operated by Leavenworth County. Sewer District No. 3 covers the Glenwood Estates subdivision and includes Glenwood Ridge Elementary School. This sewer district discharges into a lagoon south of the subdivision. The lagoon is overloaded and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has notified Leavenworth County that the permit for operating the lagoon will not be renewed. Leavenworth County has been given an order to work with the City of Basehor to deactivate the lagoon and connect to the Basehor sewer system.

Sewer District No. 7 covers Cedar Lakes and the new subdivision Cedar Falls, both outside the city limits. The City of Basehor signed an agreement with Leavenworth County to allow the subdivisions to connect to the sanitary sewer system. Before the infrastructure for the Cedar Falls development was completed the developer filed for bankruptcy and the property was sold at a sheriff's sale.

Two lots in Cedar Falls were issued building permits by mistake and one of the completed homes began to discharge into a sewer system that had not been completed; the lift station did not have electricity. Note that for subdivisions outside the city limits building permits are issued by the county after sewer connection fees are paid to the City of Basehor.

The first home was completed the end of September 2006 and the owners moved in without water and sewer, surviving using bottled water and a porta-potty in the front yard. A second home was completed before the sheriff's sale and purchase by Mutual Savings; but they paid for water service to be connected to their house and began discharging into a sewer system that had not been completed.

A meeting was held with Leavenworth County Public Works, the City of Basehor and a representative from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to discuss options for dealing with the property owner in Cedar Falls because the sewer was about to overflow a manhole and discharge on top of the ground. The City was reluctant to try to force the contractor, MEI, Inc., who put in the sewer system to finish the work because he had not been paid and was embroiled in a law suit against the developer for payment. (MEI, Inc was never paid for their work because the sale price on the subdivision did not cover their lien on the property) A decision was made at the meeting in City Hall to hire a company to clean out the manhole until the sewer system became operational and the county agreed to pay the bill.

What was thought to be a one-time pumping of the manhole turned into a several month process. The issue was not resolved until the Cedar Falls development was sold at auction to Mutual Savings in Leavenworth and they hired a company to finish construction on the sewer system and activate the lift station, which was accomplished July 2, 2007.

A joint meeting will be held Sept. 10 between the City of Basehor and the Leavenworth County Commission to review the proposed plan to connect Glenwood Estates to the Basehor sewer system. The discussion will include the possibility of requiring annexation of Glenwood Estates and Cedar Falls subdivisions.

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