Switch to sewers to be costly for residents
Property owners in Glenwood Estates learned they may have to pay dearly to hook into the city of Basehor’s wastewater treatment system after the state-ordered decommissioning of the subdivision’s sewage lagoons takes place later this year.
Representatives from the city of Basehor and Leavenworth County met with residents Tuesday night to discuss the decommissioning of the lagoons.
County engineer Mike Spickelmier said property owners might have to pay as much as $1,000 more per household every year during a 20-year period to pay off costs associated with the switchover.
“I have to estimate high, as an engineer,” Spickelmier said. “It might be lower, but I have to tell you the high end right now because we just don’t know yet.”
Leavenworth County District 3 Commissioner John Flower opened the meeting, saying the purpose was to explain what was going on with the lagoons.
“We wanted to be able to convey to you what will transpire and to let you know why it’s happening that way,” Flower said.
The Glenwood lagoons were put in as a temporary wastewater solution when the city of Basehor determined its existing wastewater plant was not equipped to handle the added waste. Now, the lagoons are too small for the amount of sewage in the subdivision, and the subdivision must be connected to the city’s wastewater treatment. Basehor’s new wastewater facility, which is under construction, has been designed to take on the subdivision’s sewage.
One of the most important things the county wanted Glenwood residents to understand was that the decommissioning process absolutely had to occur.
David Van Parys, Leavenworth County counselor, said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had ordered that the lagoons be shut down and that the subdivision be connected to Basehor’s wastewater system.
“They will no longer allow us to use those lagoons,” Van Parys said. “They’re overloaded.”
Van Parys said KDHE had given the county an extension on the order but something had to be done by 2010.
“If we don’t take immediate action, the KDHE reserves the right to fine the sewer board directors daily until the problem is corrected,” he said. “That’s something we all don’t want.”
Spickelmier said the sewer project must be complete by the end of this year.
“KDHE said that we cannot use the lagoons past Dec. 1, 2009, so we have to have this done by the end of the year.”
The decommissioning, Van Parys said, is not something that anyone is thrilled about doing, but it is necessary.
“I realize that no one is happy about the prospect of paying for this, but we really don’t have a choice in the matter,” he said.
The city and county have worked to create a conceptual drawing of the sewer plan, but until the process moves further, a definite plan will not be in place. Flower said residents could expect at least three more meetings, including public hearings, about the matter. During those meetings, he said, city and county representatives would be able to answer questions about how specific properties would be affected.
John Forslud, Leavenworth County deputy director of buildings and grounds, gave some cost estimates for the decommissioning project and associated work. Design and engineering fees will be about $150,000, construction of a new sewer line will run around $1 million, connection fees to the city will be about $450,000, and fees to expand the Pinehurst lift station, which is where the subdivision waste will be pumped, are expected to be approximately $40,000. The whole project, Forslund said, will most likely cost nearly $1.7 million.
“Bare in mind, these are just estimations,” Forslund said. “We will know exact numbers later on.”
McAfee, Henderson Solutions has been selected to engineer the project, and Flower said construction would be conducted by the lowest bidder. Flower said the county would give local bidders a 5 percent preference, so if a local company came within 5 percent of the low bid, that company would get the project.
The Glenwood Estates lagoon decommissioning will be addressed further at future city council meetings, to be announced at a later date.