Concerns remain about how a 155-acre piece of industrial ground at the Lecompton turnpike interchange will get access to water, but city and rural water district officials have begun discussions on the issue.
Lawrence City Manager David Corliss confirmed that he met recently with an attorney for Douglas County Rural Water District No. 6 about how the industrial property could receive water service.
Corliss said the discussions have involved altering the contract RWD No. 6 has with the city to provide the water district with treated water. He said the city is not seriously contemplating extending a city water line to the site.
“The City Commission doesn’t have any plans to extend a water line, or a sewer line, to the site,” Corliss said.
The 155-acre piece of ground technically is an island of property that is in the city limits, although the annexation is being challenged in court. But as part of the annexation, city commissioners made it clear that they were not obligating the city to provide water or sewer service to the site within any specific time period.
Rural Water District Chairman Don Fuston has expressed concerns about providing water to the site. He said he believes providing water to an industrial user eventually could create shortages for the approximately 300 homes the district serves northwest of Lawrence.
Corliss, though, said the city is willing to work with the water district to provide it more treated water from the city’s water treatment plant. The city has long been the entity that treats the water for RWD No. 6. The water district’s contract with the city runs until 2019.
Fuston also has concerns about whether the water district’s bylaws would allow it to serve an industrial water customer. But Corliss said he believes the city and the water district can work out an agreement that would allow the water district to serve the property.
“I know the site needs water service, and we still think the logical party to work with is Rural Water District No. 6,” Corliss said.