Weekly News - May 13, 2019
05/13/2019 - Weekly KRWA E-News
Wichita ASR Proposals Covered by National PBS Ag Program, Market to Market
Wichita ASR AreaChris Beightel, a KDA/DWR Program Manager, Joe Pajor, Wichita's Deputy Director of Public Works and Bill Carp, a central Kansas farmer and member of the not-for profit group Citizens for the Conservation of the Equus Beds, were all interviewed for a recent segment that aired on PBS' syndicated agriculture program Market to Market to discuss Wichita's proposals currently under review by the Kansas Department of Agriculture's Division of Water Resources. Opponents say Wichita’s request to change the rules saying the move could harm the aquifer. The entire video segment is also available online. [source]
Secretary of Agriculture Declines Review of Hays/Russell Change Approvals
Following the KDA/DWR Chief Engineer’s March 28, 2019, contingent approvals of water right change applications submitted by the cities of Hays and Russell to convert the irrigation rights at the R9 Ranch in Edwards County to municipal use within the two cities, six requests for administrative review were received by Secretary of Agriculture Michael Beam. On April 24 and 29, Secretary Beam declined administrative review for all six requests for review of the chief engineer’s order. Those seeking administrative review have 30 days to request judicial review. If none is received, the water transfer process will proceed. [source]
Larned Considers Options for New Pool
It was standing room only at the Larned City Council Chamber last week as citizens voiced their concerns that the city pool may be sidelined in favor of more pressing infrastructure issues, specifically the city’s aged and failing water lines. The city would need roughly $800,000 to $1 million to update the existing pool and likely more for a new pool. Mayor William Nusser spoke for the council when he said they were heartened by the passion shown by the community for the pool, and that seeking alternative funding for a pool project was a positive development the council would like to see harnessed. He explained the challenges of funding the needed infrastructure improvements and the swimming pool. He noted that the focus of the existing council in recent years has been to do the work necessary to ensure that, going forward, the city’s infrastructure is once again sound. [source]
Salina Environmental Clean-Up to Cost $95 Million
Officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) estimate it will cost $95 million to clean up soil and groundwater pollution at the former Schilling Air Force Base in South Salina. According to the KDHE website, contaminants of concern include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds, and metals, which have been identified in soil and groundwater above their respective EPA maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and KDHE Risk-based Standards for Kansas (RSKs). The pollution was created more than 50 years ago when personnel at Schilling Air Force Base, which was operated by the U.S. Department of Defense from 1942 to 1966, used toxic chemicals to clean airplanes. Those chemicals ended up in the soil beneath the base. KDHE Site Remediation Unit Chief Daniel Newman noted that the water used for Salina’s water supply hasn’t been affected. [source]
KDHE Cautions Kansans to Avoid Flooded Streams and Waterways
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment last week cautioned residents to stay out of Kansas waterways following flooding and associated unsafe water quality conditions. KDHE reports that in addition to a greater chance for pathogens in storm runoff, numerous wastewater systems have had to bypass sewage into local streams. Individuals are advised to avoid contact with waterways and to restrict pets and livestock from entering streams and allow flood waters time to recede. [source]
EWG Releases New Map and Database of Emerging PFAS Contaminant
A new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University shows that PFAS contamination of public and military water drinking sources is more pervasive than previously reported. Based on public water utility reports and DOD data, the groups report that 610 locations in 43 states have PFAS contamination, impacting an estimated 19 million people. PFAS chemical compounds have been linked to cancers and birth defects. While PFAS are found in everyday items such as teflon and fast-food wrappers, the chemicals are concentrated in the fire-fighting foam that military bases, ships and commercial airports have used for decades. Military bases and the communities surrounding them report some of the highest levels of contamination -- much higher than the EPA’s 2016 recommendation of a maximum exposure level of 70 parts per trillion. [source]
In Memory of Kathleen M. Ronnebaum
Many people make up the Kansas Rural Water Association ...and many people work in many ways to support the Association. Their efforts are not because it's a job -- but instead for the sheer enjoyment of being part of a mission to help others.
One such giving person who has helped enhance KRWA for the past 35 years was laid to rest this past Saturday. Kathleen (Kate) Ronnebaum gave support to KRWA for many of the Association's events, from the days of helping proofread mailing lists with the advent of computers in the early 1980s to the thousands of hours making 100 quilts that were given as door prizes at KRWA conferences, helping with conference and other training session registrations, etc., etc.
Kate suffered from ALS for the past three years. She was diagnosed with "onset Bulbar ALS" .. which first affects speech, then losing the ability to swallow and eventually, breathing becomes impossible. ALS becomes a mental imprisonment.
Her obituary is posted at the following link.
KRWA Training Calendar
May 21-22: Concordia
Programmable Logic Controllers
May 22: Oakley
Distribution System Operations, Water Well Maintenance
May 22: Kingman
Competent Person for Trenching and Excavation
May 23: Kingman
Confined Space Training
May 29-30: Garden City
Basic Electrical Maintenance & Troubleshooting
June 5-6: Tonganoxie
Programmable Logic Controllers
Very wet conditions have continued in Kansas, resulting in flooding across the state, especially in south-central and southeast Kansas. Gov. Laura Kelly issued an emergency disaster declaration for 15 counties on Thursday. Local disaster declarations have also been issued in several other counties. According to the National Weather Service, the most significant flash flooding occurred during the night of May 8, when areas southeast of Wichita received between 7- to 10-inches of rainfall during a 24-hour period. Numerous water rescues took place across Mulvane, Augusta, Wellington and Rose Hill. Several miles of the Kansas Turnpike (Interstate 35) were closed on Thursday from just south of Wellington to 15 miles north of the state line, with water over the bridge on Slate Creek. Moreover, the U.S. Corps of Engineers continues to store water within the flood pools of several Kansas reservoirs in an effort to reduce flood impacts downstream on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The water level in Tuttle Creek Reservoir, for example, has risen to 1123 feet above sea level and continues to climb, with significant inflow and limited outflow. So far, Corps officials are not concerned about a repeat of 1993, when the Tainter gates on the emergency spillway were opened. "For an extremely long duration, flooding on the mainstem rivers is expected to continue. The mainstem Missouri and Mississippi rivers will see several peaks into June," said Wendy Pearson with the National Weather Service in Kansas City. "We are expecting the wet weather pattern to continue," she added. Meanwhile, a significant area of abnormal dryness that had been shown on last week's U.S. Drought Map has been erased following significant rainfall in that area. However, a small area of abnormal dryness is now shown in far northwest Kansas, resulting from short-term precipitation deficits and low streamflow in those areas. The current weather pattern we are experiencing is likely the result of a lingering El Niño. During April, above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) persisted across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. According to forecasters, there is a 70% chance that the current weak El Niño will continue through the summer, and a 55-60% chance it will extend 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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