Engineers suggest sewer improvements for 2004
For a little more than half a million dollars, city engineers estimate they can extend the life of Eudora's sewer interceptor line that runs north-south through the city and is bearing the brunt of development south of Kansas Highway 10.
For about $550,000, engineers propose changes could increase the capacity of the sewer that begins near Shadow Ridge and runs north to the main lift station downtown, passing through the soon-to-be Grand Addition neighborhood on its way.
"If you don't look at the system from one end to the other, you have flow that moves too fast on one end and too slow on the other," said city engineer Cecil Kingsley.
Without upgrades to the sewer line, the city could face backing sewage into structures or violating compliance with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. How soon the line would reach that point is dependent upon Eudora's growth rate, but the city's engineers have suggested three improvements for this year.
At a cost of about half a million dollars, engineers recommend:
¢ Upgrading a stretch of the sewer between Shadow Ridge and Eudora High School by increasing pipe diameter
¢ Improving the sewer in the Grand Addition by realigning and increasing pipe diameter
¢ And eliminating the Whispering Meadows lift station.
The engineers also recommend adding a device at the Shadow Ridge site that would regulate the sewer flow. Instead of letting reserves build up and run heavily during peak hours -- such as in the morning when people are showering and getting ready for work and again in the evening when cooking dinner or doing laundry and other housework -- the device would keep the sewage flow even throughout the day.
If such upgrades are made, the middle sewer interceptor should serve the city well until future upgrades are phased in, between 2007 and 2010.
After city engineers Brian Kingsley and Cecil Kingsley presented the information to city leaders during a study session Monday night, members of the Eudora City Council began discussing how to pay for such a project.City Administrator Mike Yanez said the city had funds in water and sewer reserves, but he also suggested a minimal monthly surcharge for sewer customers. Cecil Kingsley said a small monthly fee was one way cities commonly paid for such improvements.
However, he advised against a development fee because instituting it was not only a long process, but depending surrounding communities' fees -- or lack thereof -- it could also slow development in Eudora.
The good news, Brian Kingsley said, was that construction costs had stayed steady during the last few years.
"Right now, contractors are hungry," he said.
Council member Scott Hopson pointed out how work on the Grand Addition and near the high school should be done as soon as possible because the new neighborhood was just beginning construction and because the southern section by the school lay in a field dormant for the season.
Brian Kingsley agreed the Grand Addition portion should be fast-tracked, but he said fast-tracking all three projects wouldn't be prudent, because KDHE would likely be less sympathetic.
Despite the catalyzing effect growth will have on the timetable for the sewer interceptor's future phases, Brian Kingsley put it in perspective by reminding that the future east interceptor sewer and a possible interceptor sewer on Eudora's west side would also absorb the increased usage. Moreover, if Eudora gains hoped-for commercial growth, offices generally generate less sewage than do homes, but some industries and businesses like car washes generate more.
City leaders and engineers also discussed studying how storm water flow was affecting the sewer line's capacity.
Yet Cecil Kingsley said Eudorans weren't as concerned with flow rates and studies as with how the sewer would affect their homes.
"They don't care that it was during a peak flow," he said. "They just care that it's backing up in their house."
The Council may discuss the issue during Monday's meeting but likely won't take action until later this month.