Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 2004

State agency fines Leavenworth County

At issue is sewer lagoon system at Cedar Lakes south of Basehor

December 29, 2004

Leavenworth County officials said they intend to appeal a $15,420 fine levied against them by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for violating a permit allowing the Cedar Lakes development to use a three-cell lagoon system for wastewater treatment.

"Yes, the county will file an appeal," said Don Navinksy, Leavenworth County Commission member.

County counselor David Van Parys said the county's appeal would be filed this week and will "take issues with the findings of KDHE."

The department ordered the Cedar Lakes temporary treatment facility -- the three-cell lagoon system -- be shut down and wastewater redirected to the Basehor Wastewater Treatment Facility by Oct. 1.

According to state health officials, the Cedar Lakes Home Association requested a delay based upon a future alternative but was denied the request.

State health and environment officials have received plans for the Cedar Lakes development to connect with the city's treatment facility but state approval of the plan is pending while Leavenworth County searches for financing to complete the connection.

The fine levied against the county includes provisions that Cedar Lakes abandon its lagoon system and direct its sewage to the city of Basehor no later than Feb. 1.

The deadline ordered by KDHE may be difficult for the county to meet.

During a meeting Dec. 20, the Basehor City Council met with Van Parys and reached a general consensus agreeing to an interlocal arrangement with Leavenworth County that outlines details by which the city will accept sewage from Cedar Lakes. However, while council members seemed unanimous in support of the sewage agreement, no official action was taken; the council tabled action until language in portions of the agreement could be reworded.

Van Parys said a revised agreement would be delivered to City Hall this week. There is no timetable on when the City Council will vote on the item.

The agreement is to encompass Sewer District No. 7 -- the district fined by KDHE -- which includes 114 lots in the Cedar Lakes development and another 68 in the proposed Cedar Falls residential development.

As part of the interlocal agreement council members voiced support for, users in Sewer District No. 7 would be charged less than the city's scheduled rates for 2005 connection fees. Next year, new users that live outside city limits will be charged $2,750 for connection to the treatment plant.

A majority of council members support offering Cedar Lakes the 2004 rate of $2,000 per connection.

Van Parys termed the agreement a "turnkey" which means that Sewer District No. 7 patrons will be responsible for installing facilities needed to get sewage to the treatment plant and then turn responsibility of the facilities over to the city for maintenance.

"KDHE has made it abundantly clear that (lagoon) system is to be shut down," Van Parys told city council members.

"That's the goal we have here is to get these folks treated and you've got the facilities to make that happen."

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