Kansas Rural Water Association > ONLINE RESOURCES > News Article
Monday, December 11, 2023
"An investment in Knowledge pays the best Interest."

Ben Franklin's words still ring true today. So we pick out the most appropriate articles in current events and news regarding the Water Industry both nationally and in Kansas to filter the most pertinent information for you.

E-News Jan. 3, 2023

01/03/2023 - Weekly KRWA E-News

KRWA Scholarship Invites Applications
KRWA sponsors an annual $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior of a son, daughter, or dependent of an employee of a KRWA-member system or Association employee. The Scholarship is named in honor of Dennis Schwartz, a long-serving KRWA and National Rural Water Association director.  Applications need to be returned to KRWA by February 1, 2023.  Click on “Scholarship Application” to download the application.

Kansas Governor Kelly Imposes TikTok Ban on State-Issued Devices
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has become one of the first Democratic governors to ban the use of TikTok on state-issued devices. The recent action by Governor Kelly to restrict the popular social media app came five days after Congress approved the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices for employees. Republican governors in at least 15 states have imposed such restrictions. In Louisiana, the state's commissioner of administration, a Republican appointee of Democratic governor John Bel Edwards, imposed restrictions with the governor's approval. Governor Kelly cited the same concerns that other officials have about security and the privacy of users' data. [SOURCE]
Invasive Black Carp Found in Midwestern Rivers
The black carp, one of four invasive species of carp in North America, has been discovered in the Mississippi River basin. A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey found that wild populations of the invasive black carp are sustaining themselves in areas of the Mississippi River and its tributaries including the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers. Biologists with the USGS say the invasive fish poses a real risk for native mollusks because many of North America's mussel species are already listed as threatened or endangered. The black carp is a large-bodied species of fish endemic to parts of east Asia, typically growing over 3 feet long and weighing more than 100 pounds. The fish was deliberately brought to the states during the 1970s as pest control for aquatic snails in fish ponds. [SOURCE]
EPA and Army Corps Finalize Rule Establishing Definition of WOTUS and Restoring Fundamental Water Protections
KRWA staff member Jason Solomon was selected as a representative for one of the nine regional roundtable groups chosen to provide feedback to EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers about the Waters of the United State Rule (WOTUS).   EPA and the Corps say they will use the feedback from the series of regional roundtables on WOTUS implementation to help regulators address geographic differences. While Solomon agrees with protecting the Environment and what he feels is the most valuable resource there is -- water --, he also says the final ruling may become burdensome and a bit of an overstretch of the intended purpose of the Clean Water Act. Solomon commented: “The finalized rule and its implementation will come down to interpretation of the ephemeral stream. By definition nearly every ditch in the eastern side of the state of Kansas could be considered an ephemeral stream. I commend the EPA for acknowledging geographic differences despite the definitions in the WOTUS finalized rule." A total of nine roundtable groups were selected from across the country through an extensive and highly competitive application process. The panel Solomon was chosen to be on was coordinated by the Kansas Livestock Association; it included panelists from Minnesota, Iowa, and Kansas, representing various constituencies. The roundtable was held on June 6, 2022 and can be viewed at this LINK.

New WOTUS Rule Adopts Longstanding Tests for Federal "Waters" Jurisdiction; Supreme Court Ruling Pending
A new rule defining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act maintains longstanding exemptions for farming activities but also trims back an exclusion for prior converted cropland that had been in the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The 514-page rule released by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday is the third attempt by a presidential administration in seven years to come up with a definition of WOTUS that can stand the test of time. The Obama administration issued a rule in 2015, which the Trump administration repealed in 2019 and then replaced in 2020. But both rules were struck down in the courts, and the Biden administration returned to “pre-2015” regulations and guidance when it took office. “The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015 under the Clean Water Act for traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters,” the two agencies that jointly administer the Clean Water Act say in a joint news release. “As a result, this action will strengthen fundamental protections for waters that are sources of drinking water while supporting agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities. Under the new rule, those protected waters include ephemeral streams, which flow in response to precipitation. The Trump administration's 2020 rule categorically excluded ephemeral streams from regulation. “There is overwhelming scientific information demonstrating the effects ephemeral streams can have on downstream waters and the effects wetlands can have on downstream waters when they do not have a continuous surface connection,” the rule says  The rule takes effect 60 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register. [Source]
Hiawatha Sewer Rate Increase Approved
Sewer rates are going up for customers of the city of Hiawatha. The City Commission recently approved an ordinance increasing rates, effective February 1, 2023. The minimum charge for customers inside the city limits will increase approximately $14 a month to $45.80, while the minimum charge for customers outside the city limits will increase about $17 a month to $55.87. In addition, customers inside the city limits will pay a user charge of $42.67 per 1,000 cubic feet of water and those outside the city limits will pay a user charge of $85.34 per 1,000 cubic feet of water. The last sewer rate increase was in 2017. The Hiawatha Commission also recently approved a water rate increase for 2023. [SOURCE]
City of Atchison Mandates Water Conservation due to Record Low Water Levels in Missouri River
With record-low levels in the Missouri River, water conservation efforts are now mandatory for Atchison-area residents. According to KAIR Radio, the call for voluntary water conservation for city of Atchison water customers became mandatory on Tuesday. A release from the city of Atchison says mandatory water conservation measures are being implemented because of record-low levels in the Missouri River. The low levels have limited the city’s ability “to draw a sufficient amount of water to meet the normal demand from domestic, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers,” the release said.On Tuesday, the city of Atchison said the Missouri River level is expected to stay at record-low levels for two to three days as a second ice jam makes its way downstream from Nebraska. KAIR reports that the primary intake at the present time can’t pump any water because of the river level, so the city is utilizing an auxiliary pump which doesn’t have the capacity to move as much water as the primary intake. The release called this “a critical time because any complication ... can have a tremendous impact” on the city’s “ability to supply and store water at this reduced capacity.” Forecasts show that “normal low” river levels will resume by the middle of next week, allowing the city to switch back fully to the primary intake and lift the water conservation measures. [SOURCE]

Upcoming Water & Wastewater Training Sponsored by KRWA

Register for sessions on KRWA's Training Schedule. (Additional Sessions Will be Post This Week).

New Job Postings on KRWA Website
The Kansas Rural Water Association's "Job Postings" web page includes openings that have recently been submitted by:

  • City of Wichita (Director of Public Works)
  • City of Downs (Maintenance Worker)
  • Kansas Department of Corrections (Facility Maintenance Supervisor at Norton)
  • City of Wichita (Accounting Manager)
  • City of Gardner (5 positions - Asset Management Coordinator, Maintenance Worker, Wastewater Plant Operator, Engineering Technician II, Meter Technician. Note -- salaries are also posted)
  • City of Newton (Wastewater Plant Operator)
  • City of Newton (Water/Wastewater Maintenance Worker II)
KRWA provides "job postings at no charge. Job openings to be posted should be e-mailed in a Word or text document to krwa@krwa.net.

From Leak Detection to Chlorinator Repairs, Energy Assessments and Source Water Plan Development, KRWA provided assistance to the following 49 water and wastewater systems during the week of December 26: Atchison Cons. RWD 5, Atchison RWD 1, Cherokee RWD 1, Cherokee RWD 1, Cherokee RWD 2, Cherokee RWD 8, City of Bennington, City of Bentley, City of Buffalo, City of Caney, City of Clifton, City of Corning, City of Erie, City of Esbon, City of Goessel, City of Havana, City of Hiawatha, City of Holton City of Inman, City of Kirwin, City of LaHarpe, City of Leon, City of Lyons, City of Marquette, City of Newton, City of Nortonville, City of Osage City, City of Portis, City of Pretty Prairie, City of Raymond, City of Sabetha, City of Scammon, City of Silver Lake, City of Osawatomie, `City of Speed, City of Spivey, City of Troy, City of Valley Center, City of Weir, Elk RWD 2, Jackson RWD 1, Jefferson RWD 10, Jewell RWD 1, KS Dept. of Transportation,  Marias Des Cygnes Public Utility Authority, Marion RWD 4, Marshall RWD 3, Morris RWD 1, Neosho Cons. RWD 1, Neosho RWD 2, Rock Springs 4-H Center, Shawnee Cons. RWD 3 and Shawnee Cons. RWD 4.  

In the prior week during the extreme cold weather, KRWA helped numerous systems that experienced freeze-ups of storage tanks, rises, control devices, etc. The photo at right shows what happened at the City of Esbon.  During temperatures that had windchill at -40 or more during the week of December 19, numerous water systems experienced freeze-ups of storage tanks, riser pipes and control valves, not to mention meter setters. This photo above shows the storage tank in Esbon, Kansas. The riser pipe froze causing the supports of the riser to fail. The riser pipe then pulled apart and fell.  Esbon is located in north-central Kansas in Jewell County. The town provides water to 87 services. Other small towns that have low flow and that experienced problems with freeze-ups included Portis and Speed. Water systems with low flow should adjust the storage tank levels during extremely cold weather conditions to help ensure a change in the water in the tank. Several other systems, including larger cities, had fire suppression lines inside buildings  freeze and break.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - photos by KRWA Circuit Rider Greg Metz.