Archive for Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Neighbors not keen on new sewer plant

August 15, 2006


If and when the city builds the new Wakarusa water treatment facility, certain things will travel.

The smell. The flood water.

Monday night, residents got the chance to ask: Where will it all go?

"That water's got to go somewhere," nearby property owner Debra Green said. "Where's it going? On my property?"

The questions flew in an open-house style meeting Monday night when city staff and consultants from Black & Veatch explained the project so far and listened to residents' concerns.

The proposed treatment plant site - whittled down from seven possible sites north and south of the river - would sit on about 530 acres bound by the Wakarusa River and Coal Creek on the north and east, and by East 1600 Road on the west. The southern boundary would fall between North 1175 and North 1100 roads.

The city would acquire the land currently owned by four different residents, which is farmland rather than homes. The estimated cost at the site is about $80 million, with a deadline of 2011.

"We're committed to making this project meaningful," acting City Manager David Corliss said. "We want to be a good neighbor."

Mike Orth, the project director for Black & Veatch, then went over the details of why they chose the site over another site west of U.S. Highway 59 and south of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Orth also expressed some of the same concerns as residents, considering the proposed site would sit squarely in the Wakarusa River floodplain.

"There are some significant concerns, and rightly so, with flooding along the Wakarusa River," Orth said.

After a brief explanation covering why that site was chosen - lower cost, better gravity flow and existing infrastructure among them - Orth and other Black & Veatch consultants opened the floor into three concern areas: flooding, smell and property acquisition.

The 20-or-so residents and property owners at the meeting split up among the three posts, asking questions about how the project would affect their land.

The prospect of farmlands and homes flooding drew heavy concern.

The proposed plant would pump about 7 million gallons of sewage per day at the onset. But down the road, the total could be much more. The construction of the facility and infrastructure will raise river levels somewhat, officials said Monday.

Green, whose property sits at 1670 N. 1100 Road, said the facility would displace too much water and create hazards for nearby residents.

Orth understood the problem but wasn't yet sure what steps the city would take.

"We have to mitigate that effect," he said.

There are options, including replacing the lost ground in the floodplain, improving the channel flow and excavation in the area. Some of those would have environmental impacts, Orth said.

The smell also was a concern for residents, who questioned if the city would eventually dump waste on the buffer around the site.

But Black & Veatch staff said instead, the waste would likely be shipped to the existing wastewater facility on East Eighth Street, where they have equipment to help dispose of it.

City staff and others took note of residents' concerns at the meeting and will transcribe them for city commissioners before they make a decision on the site.


LogicMan 11 years, 6 months ago

Seems like the site-study and P.R. were done very well, and all things considered, the best site is being recommended. Now it's time to build!

cowboy 11 years, 6 months ago

They are minimizing the flooding issues , this ground is under water a couple times a year , 7 million gallons ? The Wakapoopa will overflow !

average 11 years, 6 months ago

Haskell street... the biosolid highway!

Steve Mechels 11 years, 6 months ago

I live north of there just a couple of miles. I guarantee, if it stinks and lowers the property value of the house I purchased a year ago, I will be the first to file a class action lawsuit. I spent too many years smelling the stench of IBP (now Tyson) meat packing.

bigun539 11 years, 6 months ago

wastewater plants have to be somewhere. North of the Kaw river? Get real...The pipe to flow 7 MG of flow would be a large cost. You go by the lay of the land for a cheap way to flow the lumpy water, and where the growth is. Everyone makes waste, but no one wants a plant by you? It needs to be by a flowing creek or river, and with today's technology, the effluent (water going out) should be a lot cleaner than what flows down the Wakarusa from the lake.

prioress 11 years, 6 months ago

Everyone wants to s*it, but no one wants the byproducts in their back yard...........

Steve Jacob 11 years, 6 months ago

Funny when everyone complains, but once it gets done, they will build house all around it.

kg52 11 years, 6 months ago

My husband builds sewer plants for a living. I am sure much preparation will be done so that these things don't happen on people's property. He has supported our family for 30+ years doing this - obviously the need is there and I am sure that any reputable company knows what to do to alleviate these kinds of problems. He is around it every day and he doesn't smell when he comes home (other than sweat - a lot lately). There are ways to alleviate most of the odors associated with these plants. An occasional whif will be apparent but nothing could be worse than the smell from the old Dupont Plant east of Topeka that you could smell for miles and miles. I often wondered how those people who lived close by stood it. There again, it provided jobs for many through the years just as sewer plant building does, along with the sheer necessity. You are right, no one wants them next door. Years ago in my neighborhood North of Topeka a petition was going around to "ban double wide mobile homes in our neighborhoods". The controversy was over a very nice one on a foundation with a garage that someone had put up next door to them to take care of their elderly parents. I refused to sign as my feeling was that people have what they can afford. The answer was "it will decrease our property values". My house has almost tripled in value in the 20 years I have lived here.

average 11 years, 6 months ago

I live less than 2000 feet from the current wastewater facility. I'd take the smell here over the "Grand Vista Drive" (the grand vista of the KPL plant and turnpike fumes). The city employees do a fine job.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 6 months ago

It will be just fine. B&V know what they're doing.

hawkwatch71 11 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever been to Atchison, it smells like beer barf.

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