Archive for Wednesday, September 26, 2001

City council hears options for water treatment

September 26, 2001

In the next few months, Tonganoxie City Council members will have some decisions to make about the city's water supply.

During a study session Monday, the council was presented with two proposals that include construction of a water treatment plant one option estimated to cost $7.74 million and another estimated to cost $10.9 million.

Representatives of BG Consultants, a Lawrence firm that serves as the city engineer, outlined cost estimates for a water plant for the city and development of city-owned wells near the Kansas River, west of Linwood.

By Dec. 31, 2002, work on the wells must be complete, according to the Kansas Water Office. A preliminary cost estimate for that project is $715,000.

Presently, the city obtains water from a well in Tonganoxie, and it purchases water that is treated in Bonner Springs and pumped here.

For the first eight months of this year, the city paid $34,000 for water from Bonner Springs, according to City Administrator Chris Clark.

The city treats the water from the wells on a limited basis, Clark said. But water from the river would require more extensive treatment, he said.

"We, right now, don't provide through our one well enough water to the city," Clark said.

So several years ago, the city began the search for an additional water source.

"They drilled several test holes in the county in the Tonganoxie area looking for water that could be usable," Clark said. "They didn't findwater that was usable or they didn't find the volume they needed."

But a reliable water supply was found on land near the river, nine miles south of Tonganoxie.

Tapping into that supply in the future will ensure enough water for the city, Clark said.

"Is the situation critical on water today?" Clark said. "No, because we have Bonner as a backup. But are we self-sufficient on water? No."

According to BG Consultants, the city has two options for a water treatment plant: One in Tonganoxie or one near the Kansas River wells.

The cost difference between the two options is substantial.

If the city were to construct a new water plant near the river, the city would have to transport water through pipes from wells near the city to that plant for treatment and then back to the city for use.

If the new water plant were built in Tonganoxie, the city would have to pay to transport water to the city from the river wells.

Construction of a pipeline between the river and Tonganoxie would cost an estimated $2.88 million, according to BG Consultants. And construction of a water treatment plant would cost an estimated $4.14 million.

So the total cost of constructing a plant in Tonganoxie and laying pipe to transport water from the river to that plant for treatment would be about $7.74 million.

That compares to the estimated $10.9 million it would cost to build the plant at the river site. That option is more expensive because an additional water line would cost about $2.2 million and upgrading electrical capabilities near the river would cost about $1 million.

Pat Cox of BG Consultants said the firm looked at the costs of building the each plant and operating them for 20 years.

"Over a 20-year period, building the water treatment plant in town is $3.5 million to $4 million cheaper than it would be to build it out at the river," Cox said. "In our estimation, putting the plant in town is the cheaper option."

Clark said the city council also must consider whether it wants to be in the business of supplying water to users outside the city as Bonner Springs now does. Further study of the costs of such an option should be completed, he said.

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