Weekly News - Aug. 12, 2019
08/12/2019 - Weekly KRWA E-News
Frontenac Moves Forward with Water Project
After hearing a wide range of concerns and comments from residents about its plans for water system improvements, the Frontenac City Council voted Monday to move forward with seeking funding for their multi-million dollar project. Recent water quality sampling indicated Frontenac’s water supply exceeds the maximum contaminant level for radium, which along with past samples found to contain unacceptable radium levels, has triggered violations of the city’s water supply permit. The city’s water treatment plant and infrastructure require upgrades, including its chlorine feed system, wastewater pumps, filters, deteriorated piping, exhaust fans, and chemical storage building, among other things. The city also is contemplating construction of a new 250,000 gallon elevated storage tank. Previously, the city was planning to fund the project through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program funding with interim funding from KDHE’s State Revolving Fund (SRF). [source]
KDHE Secretary Making Push for Emphasis on Quality of Kansas Drinking Water
The top environmental and health official in the administration of Gov. Laura Kelly says understandable public attention on sustaining sufficient quantities of water in the agriculture-heavy state led to lack of focus on the quality of drinking water. “One of the things that gets all the attention is water quantity, but I think we can’t turn a blind eye to water quality,” said Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. He said KDHE was collaborating with other state agencies on a two-year program to collect new data in areas adjacent to the Arkansas River and along surface irrigation canals in Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray and Ford counties. In addition, the project includes an offer for free testing of drinking water drawn from domestic wells in the region. Water sample kits will be first distributed in Hamilton County starting Aug. 19. [source]
Can a Large Pile of Cash Reduce Lawrence’s Proposed Water Rate Increases?
Lawrence city commissioners last week gave initial approval to the city’s 2020 budget, which would hold the property tax rate flat and increase utility rates, parking rates and commissioner pay. But while water rates are set to go up 8% next year, the city is sitting on a huge pile of cash in its utility fund. So much cash that city officials aren’t entirely sure where it all came from. [source]
DWR Expands GCC Water Conservation Area
Chief Engineer David Barfield announced last week the approval of a significant expansion to an existing Water Conservation Area for the Garden City Company. A Water Conservation Area is a simple, streamlined and flexible tool that allows any water right owner or group of water right owners the opportunity to develop a management plan to reduce groundwater withdrawals in an effort to extend the usable life of the Ogallala-High Plains Aquifer. Prior to the expansion, the GCC WCA covered 7,170 acres. Approval of the GCC expansion adds an additional 15,580 acres to the program. The expansion also is expected to save 2,900 acre-feet per year or a total of 14,720 acre-feet of water over the 5-year WCA terms of both plans. About 80,827 acres currently are enrolled in WCAs across the state, saving an estimated16,043 acre-feet (AF) per calendar year. [source]
Douglas County to Treat Lone Star Lake with Herbicide
The county plans to treat Lone Star Lake for Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive species native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa that forms dense mats on the water's surface and is found in waters less than 20 feet deep. Crews will use the herbicide Navigate, which is a granular substance that sinks to the bottom of the lake, according to the county. The county treats the lake every year to cut down on the spread of the plant, which can grow rapidly. Although a county resident protested the treatment, Commissioner Michelle Derusseau said the treatment was necessary to ensure the safety of swimmers. While the county will continue to use Navigate, it will stop using another herbicide that’s believed to be killing about 20 trees at the lake. The herbicide Ecomazapyr had previously been used by the county to kill vegetation growing through the riprap along the shore and dam. The county consulted with Tom Buller, a horticulturist from KSU's Douglas County Extension Office, to assess the trees. The riprap was last treated in 2018. [source]
NRWA Collecting Information About Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances
The National Rural Water Association is bringing together utility systems from across the country that have concerns or have been affected by PFAS contamination. NRWA has set up a page on its website (NRWA.org/initiatives/PFAS) for systems to enter their information. This information will allow NRWA to arrange a free evaluation of the system and provide more details about efforts to recover costs for remediation and treatment from PFAS contamination. Visit the NRWA PFAS website to learn more and be a part of future efforts to recoup costs from PFAS contamination.
Kansas in Recovery
The Docking building in downtown Topeka is an exaggerated but emblematic example of what has happened to Kansas state government in recent years. To students of state politics, the failed Kansas experiment with deep cuts to corporate and income tax rates -- which GOP Gov. Sam Brownback promised would lead to an economic flowering, and which instead led to anemic growth and crippling deficits -- is well known. What is not as well understood, even within Kansas, is the degree to which years of underfunding and neglect have left many state departments and facilities hollowed out. [source]
KRWA Training History
Did you know that a database of KRWA training sessions is maintained on the KRWA website? Since consistent records started being kept in 1976, there have been 2,816 KRWA sponsored training sessions with 183,378 attendees. The database is searchable by location, date or title. KRWA staff are always trying to ensure that the training that systems want and need is provided. If anyone has a specific need or interest in a topic, contact the KRWA office and we will work to accommodate that topic by setting up a local or regional session. KRWA will continue to bring the training to local areas in an effort to reduce costs and time for those who want to attend. [more]
KRWA Training Calendar
August 28: Great Bend
Competent Person for Trenching and Excavation
August 29: Great Bend
Confined Space Training
September 11: Colby
Competent Person for Trenching and Excavation
September 12: Colby
Confined Space Training
September 17-19: Enterprise
Cross Connection - Backflow Prevention
Broad expansion of abnormal dryness has been depicted by the U.S. Drought Monitor across central and southern Kansas, where conditions have continued to rapidly deteriorate. Prior to the Tuesday cut-off for the weekly drought assessment, much of central and south-central Kansas had received 0.5 inch or less of rainfall over the last 30 days. Rainfall later in the week during an ongoing active weather pattern, is expected to improve conditions here. Just to our south, however, areas of moderate to severe drought have been depicted in Oklahoma and Texas and are likely to persist. In eastern Kansas, the other extreme persisted with more heavy rainfall resulting in flash flooding. Meanwhile, a Final El Niño Advisory was issued last week by the NOAA/NWS/CPC. According to the advisory, the persistent weak El Niño has transitioned to ENSO-neutral, which is expected to continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-2020.
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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