Wastewater system upgrades approved

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April 9, 2013 - 12:00 AM

HUMBOLDT — Humboldt council members voted Monday evening to spend $100,000 to make improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.
The decision came after a lengthy and technical discussion of the system’s shortcomings by an engineer from BG Consultants, Emporia, which was hired a year ago to make an assessment of wastewater collection and treatment.
Water infiltrating and burdening the system also is a concern. About 50 million gallons of rainwater a year flow into sanitary sewer mains, and then has to be treated the same as wastewater, which mainly comes from toilet flushings. City Administrator Larry Tucker surmised the extra 50 million gallons because Humboldt sells about 100 million gallons of purified water a year.
The rainwater gets into mains in two ways, either through infiltration into flaws in aging mains or through sump pump and downspout discharges from residences.
Vada Aikins, a council member, said that educating the public about the problem might lead to residents redirecting water from sump pumps and downspouts so it would flow into storm sewers, not sanitary sewers.
Bruce Voettcher, the BG engineer, said not dealing with problems within the system would shorten the plant’s life and eventually result in the city having to make substantial investment in repairs or even a new plant. Hanging over the city are state and federal sanctions if treated wastewater flowing into the river doesn’t meet their standards.
Also, Humboldt has nine lift standards that keep wastewater flowing through mains and five of those beg attention, said Roger Vincent, the department’s supervisor. This year’s expenditures will deal with those.

OTHER NEWS, council members:
— Learned the city’s premium for property, liability and worker’s compensation insurance for this year through PSI’s local agency will be $96,098, nearly $11,000 more than the previous year’s $87,034.
— Tabled consideration of a new roof for City Hall until an assessment of damage from Sunday’s hail storm is done.
— Appointed Patricia Sanchez, utility foreman, to be the city’s voting delegate at a meeting May 10 of Kansas Municipal Utilities. Vincent will be her alternate.
— Were reminded the bandstand in the city square will be dedicated April 20. Festivities will start with a band concert at 2 p.m.
— Approved having the municipal pool filled with water later this month so USA Pools, Inc., which will manage it, will have time to train employees before its opening in May.

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