Archive for Friday, August 4, 2006

Sewage treatment site recommended

Location east of U.S. Highway 59 preferred for proposed $80 million plant

August 4, 2006

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The city's new $80 million sewage treatment plant should be built east of U.S. Highway 59, a team of city workers and consultants concluded.

"This will be a very important facility for Lawrence, not just simply for this decade and the next, but really for the rest of the century," acting City Manager David Corliss said.

The site would cover 530 acres, which the city will try to acquire from four property owners, Corliss said.

The city had been studying two possible primary locations south of the city near the Wakarusa River.

The preferred location, announced Thursday by Corliss, is bounded on the north and east by the Wakarusa River and Coal Creek, on the west by East 1600 Road, and would have a southern boundary between North 1175 and North 1100 roads.

The City Commission still must approve the site. And a public hearing on the issue will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in the commission chambers at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St. Residents in the area will have a chance to express their opinions and ask questions of city staff and consultants. Some city commissioners also may be there.

Sometime after the public hearing, commissioners will decide whether to approve the recommended site.

Less expensive

The city initially studied seven sites and earlier this year narrowed that list to two. The second site was west of U.S. Highway 59, east of East 1200 Road and south of the South Lawrence Trafficway. That site would have been more expensive and might have required relocating two residences, according to a consultant's report.

Estimated cost for the plant at the recommended site is about $80 million. The deadline for getting it built is 2011.

"The facility is needed because the community continues to grow," Corliss said. "We want to make sure that we have adequate infrastructure in place to support that growth."

When the plant is built, it will initially have the capability of handling 7 million gallons of sewage per day. Its capacity will be increased as the city grows up to 150,000 people. The current plant on East Eighth Street east of Haskell Avenue can operate at 12.5 million gallons. It will continue to be used even when the new plant is built.

Concerns met

Mayor Mike Amyx and Commissioner Boog Highberger said they thought the recommended site was the best.

"This is obviously just the starting point, but everything I've seen, it meets the concerns I've had about a site," Amyx said.

Highberger predicted the commission would decide soon after the public meeting.

"I think given all the facts we've had to consider, it looks like the best site to me," he said. "I think the process has been pretty thorough."

The site is outside the city limits but in the urban growth area, an area around the city where future annexation is expected. If the southeast site is approved, it will be annexed into the city.

The site also fits the preferences of the Douglas County Commission.

"It's a city issue," County Commission Chairman Bob Johnson said. "We concurred that it would be best south of the (Wakarusa) river and east of Haskell (Avenue) and the Baker Wetlands. It sounds like it makes sense."

The city has conducted property appraisals and is beginning discussions with owners about purchasing the land at the site. Corliss identified the landowners as Peggy Flager, Norman Leary, Idessa Riley and Michael Coyne. Some properties may have joint owners, he said.

The neighbors

Though a final decision has yet to be made, some residents and landowners in the area are resigned to the city doing what it wants. Their main concerns are whether their well water and property values will be affected.

"They (the city) have assured us that the well won't be affected," said Nancy Othic, who has lived in the 1100 block of East 1550 Road for 30 years.

Residents also had initial concerns about odors from the plant, she said, but the city has told them that shouldn't be a problem.

Violet Walker, who lives near the Othics, noted that the site has flooded in the past. Corliss said the city would take flooding into consideration in building the plant.

The brunt of the cost of the plant will fall on rate payers, Corliss said. On Tuesday, the City Commission will discuss those rates.

Those who can't attend the Aug. 14 meeting can contact Assistant City Manager Debbie Van Saun, 832-3400, or dvansaun@ci.lawrence.ks.us for additional information. A draft of the Wakarusa Water Reclamation Facility Design Report can be found online at http://www.lawrenceutilities.org/wwrf/index.shtml.

Comments

HDcustom 9 years ago

Youl have a heck of a battle putting your treatment plant along the Wakarusa river and destroy it like the Kaw river. Be ready for a long long many year battle trying to send your crap to Eudora. You think your bypas battle broke your city, YOU AINT SEEN NOTHIN YET !! Best raise your sales tax 7% more now to afford this. The money is allready being readied to stop any project along the Wakarusa that will harm it.

cowboy 9 years ago

these are wetlands , you can't touch them !

Lets see here , the city hippocrits now are going to take peoples land , wetlands , and put in a city plant. I expect to hear all the outrages voiced that were put forward over the SLT routes.

cowboy 9 years ago

Oh just tee me up first thing in the morning , that ground floods after each heavy rain , is full of deer , turkey , coyote , fox , nesting heron , canadian geese , and will obviously devalue some of the nicest ground in Douglas County. Why dont we put it behind Corliss's house , or in Boog's neighborhood. Let the battle begin !

Jean1183 9 years ago

Let's see...........the city lies north of the Wakarusa. The city commisioners want to pump sewage ACROSS the Wakarusa to a treatment plant on the south side, then the "treated" water will be released back into the Wakarusa.

Makes sense as usual.

prioress 9 years ago

Hey, ya wanna poop, it's got to go somewhere. MIMBY is a common American chant, particularly by those who already have the money. You don't want it there, suggest somewhere else......or put up an outhouse.

aeroscout17 9 years ago

Sorry prioress, I am guessing outhouses in the city limits are against health ordinances ;)

OK, so now here is my question: Isn't this right where the second choice alternative for the trafficway is supposed to go?

Rhoen 9 years ago

Another fact that could be interesting, but which was omitted, would be to name the property-owners whose 530+ acres are going to be taken for this project.

And it will no doubt need to be fenced. Hopefully, the bidding process for components of the pricey project and the decision-making will be more transparent that other projects of this type have been in the past.

hipper_than_hip 9 years ago

The seventh paragraph from the bottom lists the property owners.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. If you don't like being downstream from Lawrence, you can always move. It's not like Lawrence can move. The Wak is a slow moving stinky little river; I can't imagine that treated waste water is going to make it smell any worse.

bd 9 years ago

So thats why everybody in Lawrence hates Topekans! They live upstream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jayhawkrider 9 years ago

I'm always struck by how easy it is for a city to just deem annexing property into the city "for the greater" good, but it's the annexed landowners who see increased property taxes as a result...and have no say in the matter. Our city services (i.e., city police, connections to the treatment unit, ambulance response timess, road maintenance, etc.) will be 10-20 years behind despite paying for them, as well. I guess the fact that you're putting a disgusting treatment unit will probably save us from the increased taxes by lowering our property values as a result. So maybe we should thank Lawrence instead?!?

cowboy 9 years ago

Where is the commish's great concern at , hippocritical yuppie BS is what is at work here. As I looked out over this ground this morning with a beautiful mist that smelled so fresh and imagined the wafting crappile that the city wants to place there , well its just too much to contemplate , hell I'd take a little trafficway any day !

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

"Let's see...........the city lies north of the Wakarusa. The city commisioners want to pump sewage ACROSS the Wakarusa to a treatment plant on the south side, then the "treated" water will be released back into the Wakarusa."

As I recall, the new plant had to be located south of 6th Street so the untreated sewage could flow "downhill," thus saving lots of money on pump stations. It is to be located on the south side of the river because on the north side are the wetlands. This is all found in the reports that B&V prepared and was discussed at the town meetings.

If you have not attended the public hearings, I don't see how you can now complain. There were ample opportunities at these hearings. And there is one more (I believe) on the 14th. The Black & Veatch staff are there - the ones who did the design - and will be able to help you with your questions. I've found them to be very helpful and accommodating.

There is a state health law that requires the effluent to be cleaner (have less poop) than the existing river water, so guess what - it may actually help the river! Wouldn't THAT be nice!

shanefivedyes 9 years ago

If we didn't have so many A$$holes in Lawrence, we would not need a new sewage treatment plant.

Nonsense 9 years ago

Do they have to do any type of environmental impact study?

Jean1183 9 years ago

"It is to be located on the south side of the river because on the north side are the wetlands."

Have you actually seen these "wetlands"? I believe if you will drive along the road just north of the Wakarusa and east off of Haskell (also east of 1600 E) you will see "croplands" not "wetlands".

Rationalanimal 9 years ago

Where are all the Lawrence hippies to defend the Wakarusa from sewer? The Baker wetlands must be more "wetland" than the Wakarusa.

Can we at least put an over-pass going over the 5 gazillion acres this is going to be and get the SLT done. The sludge from the cars will drip down into the sewer treatment. When it gets dumped into the Wakarusa, groundwater system and ecosystem in general, it will be clean as a whistle.

Kelly Powell 9 years ago

Like I have said before....I really want a job at this plant, for one thing I know is lawrence will never run short of poop.....that's job security baby!

Linda Aikins 9 years ago

MacHeath - it is in the article:

The city has conducted property appraisals and is beginning discussions with owners about purchasing the land at the site. Corliss identified the landowners as Peggy Flager, Norman Leary, Idessa Riley and Michael Coyne. Some properties may have joint owners, he said.

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