Archive for Thursday, April 3, 2008

City study proposes water quality upgrades

April 3, 2008

Although a study of the city of Eudora's water system found no current pressing needs, it did suggest upgrades could be made to enhance quality and service.

The water study done through BG Consultants to identify future needs of Eudora's water system now is completed.

"We spent time with the actual operators of the water plant and the public works officials to look at our current system to find where it's weaknesses were," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "Engineers even said that a reasonable option right now is to just do nothing, because there were no pressing needs for the city to continue serving the citizens."

However, the study did find water quality and service could be improved.

The main concern, especially on the part of residents, was the amount of lime in the water. Lime makes the water softer, and it is not harmful. But residents have been put off by its murky appearance in their water and residual effects after washing dishes and cars.

As a result, BG investigated ways to correct the problem.

"There's nothing wrong with the lime in the water, but if we can get it to drop out, we're going to make an attempt to find a cost effective way to do that," Beatty said.

Lime improvement can be done through two different filtering systems, but the lime will not completely eliminated.

Beatty said new federal funding that was available for older water systems might pay for most of the filtering system.

"We'll admit that we're never going to be able to make the water softer unless we go into a full fledged water softening plant, which is very costly," Beatty said. "So, we'll still recommend to people if they want their water softer, they have to put softeners in their homes."

In regards to service, water lines are approximately 40 years old in some areas. Beatty said water lines should be replaced after about 50 years, so the lines will need to be replaced within about 10 years.

If lines are to be replaced, engineers said they should be upsized because the lines now are only about 2 to 4 inches wide. They suggested the lines be increased to 8 inches wide so that higher pressure that already exist in system can be used for fire protection and household use,

The study also made suggestion regarding Eudora's water source.

"Right now, we only have one pipeline that comes from under the river to the well system for our water source," Beatty said. "So, we could do one of two things: we either find a separate source of water different from that well field or secure water rights."

BG will start pricing each of the projects so the city can develop a capital outlay plan as well as a capital improvement program plan.

The study can be used to bolster grant applications, as various agencies want to view the CIP as proof that Eudora needs funding for a given project.

"The federal government was asking us a year ago what our long term CIP plan was and I couldn't give them an answer," Beatty said. "The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was also asking for a CIP."

Much like traffic study done on the eastern 10th Street corridor, the study revealed that things are fine now and nothing requires immediate attention.

"None of it is stuff that has to be done tomorrow," Beatty said. "But as far as wise investments go, it will definitely be a wise investment to have a second entry point for the water under the river, it would be a wise investment to secure water rights for the future, it will be a very wise investment to improve any pressures around in the old sections of town simply for fire pressure.

"The study kind of builds a roadmap for new commissioners. This lets each of them know that we're not just guessing."

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