Weekly News - Apr. 15, 2019
04/15/2019 - Weekly KRWA E-News
Hays and Russell Hope to Use R9 Wells by 2022
The cities have promised the state of Kansas they will draw much less from the sandy soil than when the ranch was used for agricultural irrigation, according to Hays City Manger Toby Dougherty. “We told them we had no desire to use this source in an unsustainable manner, and so we’ve actually agreed with a 30 percent reduction in our available water rights in order to get this done,” he told the Ellis County Commission last week. While the DWR chief engineer has granted contingent approval to the cities' change applications, the next phase will be the Kansas Water Transfer Act, a series of statutes and regulations that kick-in when water in excess of 2000 acre feet is being transported more than 35 miles. A three-person panel of state officials will convene hearings, gather information and rule on the transfer request based on 28 criteria. The question is whether the transfer is good for the state of Kansas: Does the benefit of allowing the transfer outweigh the benefit of not allowing the transfer, he said. The city is working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism on walk-in hunting at the former ranch. It will be the largest tract of walk-in hunting in about a hundred-mile radius, Dougherty said. [source]
Senator Moran Thanks KRWA
The KRWA conference was highlighted last week in U.S. Senator Jerry Moran's April 8 newsletter. Senator Moran thanked the Association for bestowing the “Friend of Rural Water" award during the conference and KRWA General Manager Elmer Ronnebaum for his distinguished leadership of the organization as well as the many members, employees and board members who make an important contribution to the quality of life in Kansas. He further indicated he would continue to support USDA Rural Development and EPA water programs, that he would continue his work to reduce the regulatory burden on public water and wastewater utilities and would continue to prioritize ways to secure a safer, more affordable water supply for rural Kansans.
States, Military Clash on Cleanup of Toxic Chemicals
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have burst onto the national radar in recent years as a contaminant of concern as an increasing number systems near industrial manufacturing sites have detected the substances in their source water. Originally produced by companies 3M and DuPont, the chemicals are used in everything from Teflon pans to food packaging to water-resistant clothing. The chemicals were also included in firefighting foams used widely by the military during training and emergencies since the 1970s. Scientists have linked some PFAS chemicals to health effects including ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, reproductive issues and some cancers. Because the EPA has yet to set any formal PFAS regulations, an increasing number of state environmental agencies are taking matters into their own hands, creating their own standards to compel polluters to begin cleaning up the chemicals within their borders. In Pennsylvania, where some of the nation's highest PFAS levels have been discovered in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, regulators recently announced they would create a state drinking water standard, and lawmakers are mulling legislative solutions. New Jersey is further ahead, with regulators preparing to implement the lowest PFOS and PFOA drinking water standards in the country. But in several cases where states already acted, the military is resisting or even taking the issue to court. [source]
Aging Workforce Hits Water Plants Especially Hard
Local wastewater and drinking water facilities across the country are feeling the stress of their eroding workforces, and officials are recognizing the need to entice a younger generation. William McKeon, who teaches classes geared to prospective operators at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Pennsylvania thinks public interest in plant operator jobs is low because public understanding of the job is poor. The public doesn't realize the job's importance and its roots in science, he says. Normally, when people think about water or sewage treatment, they think of something dirty, of someone just watching over a sewer pipe, said student Michael Bensinger. "But it's not like that. It's actually a lot of fun. There's a lot of math and science behind it. I love working with the microbiology, and it's something new every day." The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) announced last week that it has partnered with California State University at Sacramento, Office of Water Programs (OWP) by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recognizing the school's Office of Water Programs Operator Courses as quality training that may be utilized in the NRWA Apprenticeship Program. “This agreement is a natural partnership between OWP, as operator training developer, and NRWA and State Associations as training delivery organizations,” said Dr. Ramzi Mahmood, long-time OWP director. [source]
Are Dams on the Missouri River to Blame for Major Flooding Event?
Many people who live near the Missouri River believe the Corps isn't doing enough to prevent floods or is placing too much emphasis on other priorities, such as protecting endangered species and preserving barge traffic. Much of this concern dates back to 2004, when the Corps initiated a management change partly to protect endangered species, including the pallid sturgeon, a seldom-seen, bottom-feeding fish. The Corps defended the way they have handled this spring's flooding. John Remus oversees the dams, including Gavin's Point Dam, for the Corps. "There was far more water coming into Gavin's Point than we could hold," Remus said. And the National Weather Service's Kevin Low said significantly more water poured into the Missouri River from downstream rivers with no dams in Nebraska and Iowa, so officials couldn't regulate the flow from those. Low said the Platte River peaked at over 170,000 cubic feet per second of water on March 17. Most other rivers that feed into the lower Missouri crested around the same time after heavy rains helped melt lingering snowpack that flowed right into rivers because the ground was still mostly frozen. Buchanan County Emergency Management Director Bill Brinton said a dam failure to the north sent a surge of additional water into the river, worsening an already bad situation. "That dam failed and you had billions of gallons of water," Brinton said. "I don't see how you can blame the Corps. But I seem to be in the minority." [source]
Kansas Takes Number One Spot for Wind Energy Production
The American Wind Energy Association's 2018 Annual Market report shows Kansas passing Iowa to claim the number one spot. It shows 36.4% of the state's total electricity is produced by wind power in 2018. According to the report, the estimated annual state and local tax payments by wind projects in Kansas for 2018 totaled nearly $28 million. [source]
Reminder: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, Apr. 27
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. When flushed into wastewater systems, these compounds and drugs can be detected in treatment outflow and can end up in creeks, streams, and rivers. The long-term implications for wildlife and human health are largely unknown. Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose. During the previous National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Oct. 2018, a record-setting 457 tons of unwanted medications were collected by DEA at almost 5,839 sites. Consider setting up a collection site in your community. [more]
KRWA Training Calendar
Apr. 16: Hays
Exam Prep for Certification Exams: Water/Wastewater
(Exams Apr. 17 by KDHE)
Apr. 24: Chanute
Water System Components: From Source to Faucet
Apr. 24: Pratt
Basic Math & Water Chemistry; Drinking Water Regulations; Design and Construction of Water Wells
Apr. 30: South Hutchinson
Process Control Instrumentation for Chlorine Analysis
Another powerful low pressure system traversed the central plains last week bringing blizzard conditions to parts of Colorado, Nebraska and northwest Kansas. Meanwhile, the storm spawned showers and severe thunderstorms in north central Kansas and high winds elsewhere. The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for several counties in western Kansas last week due to the high threat index for wildland fires associated with the system. At the direction of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas National Guard deployed six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters on Tuesday in key locations to expedite wildfire assistance, should they be needed during high winds and hot temperatures. Overall, drought conditions continue to improve nationwide as depicted on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Kansas remains drought-free. However, drought conditions continued to degrade in parts of north Texas, which missed out on recent rainfall and where precipitation and soil moisture deficits continue to build. El Niño continued during March 2019, as above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to the NOAA/CPC/NCEP/NWS update released last week the "Great Puny El Niño of 2018-19" will likely remain through the summer and possibly continue into the fall.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central Region, Southern Plains Region and State of Kansas
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