Archive for Friday, September 11, 1992


September 11, 1992


Lawrence city commissioners will consider getting the ball rolling Tuesday on a revenue bond issue of up to $3 million to revamp the city's water and sewer systems.

The systems are faced with increased demand, rust and the need for updating to meet new regulations, city officials say.

The commission's Tuesday meeting will begin at 6:35 p.m. in the city commission meeting room at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

The $3 million bond issue is part of a planned multi-million dollar water and sewer system renovation plan that could run as much as $8.5 million, said Roger Coffey, utilities director. The city would issue water and sewer revenue bonds for the project, which would be paid off with utility customer fees, City Manager Mike Wildgen said.

"The work involves everything from the source of the water to the lines in the street, from plant expansion to replacement of lines," Coffey said.

IMPROVEMENTS are needed to handle increased demand on the systems as well as keeping up the current lines and facilities, he said.

"We have problems with recurrence of leaks (in water lines). A lot of old lines are sources of rust, and a lot of them simply aren't the size we'd like to have to meet fire protection needs and still provide water for residential use," Coffey said.

Wildgen emphasized that the improvements do not include constructing water and sewer lines for new residential developments.

"That is 100 percent the cost of the developer," Wildgen said. "Most of this is related to distributing the water sending it out and then cleaning it up when it comes back through the sewers," he said.

In addition, the utilities department faces changing state and federal regulations every year that require improvements to some equipment or new facilities altogether, Wildgen said.

FOR EXAMPLE, Coffey said he expected the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to ban discharge of hard water sludge into the Kansas River.

When the city softens the water from the Kaw for residential use, it takes out hard water solids and dumps them back in the river.

Work plans call for $53,000 in engineering consulting services to develop sludge handling facilities in case KDHE bans sludge discharges.

Commissioners will consider approving a resolution Tuesday declaring that the water and sewer systems need improvements and that they intend to shape up the system at a cost not to exceed $8.5 million. It also announces the city's intention to issue bonds for a portion of the project not to exceed $3 million.

The resolution is a legal formality needed before the city issues bonds for the project, Wildgen said.

"IN ORDER to issue those revenue bonds, you have to say, `This is what you're going to do with it,'" Wildgen said.

City officials still are working out which projects would be covered in a fall bond issue, Coffey said.

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