Portion of Main closed for sewer line replacement

If you are trying to get down Sabetha’s Main Street, you will have to find an alternate route for the next week to 10 days. Beginning Thursday, Jan. 19, a portion of Main Street — between Third and Fourth Streets — will be closed for sewer line replacement.

According to Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer, this project — along with several others throughout the city — is part of a larger project to correct problems with the city’s inflow and infiltration of groundwater and rainwater.

Inflow is the water that gets in from the direct connection, while infiltration is water that has soaked into the ground and finds its way into cracks.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have required cities to eliminate inflow and infiltration. When KDHE began receiving complaints concerning two of Sabetha’s seven lift stations — Keim and Kellenberger — the city was put under a Consent Order in 2011 to eliminate as much of the inflow and infiltration as possible.

Schwab Eaton, a professional engineering and design firm out of Manhattan, was hired to complete testing on the city’s antiquated sewer system. The testing included smoke testing assessments, sump pump removal, manhole rehabilitations, closed circuit television inspections and replacement of the gravity sewer main.

In 2015, Schwab Eaton identified areas that were Priority 1 and Priority 2 collection system improvements. Priority 1 improvements are very obvious problems and must be repaired, while Priority 2 improvements are not nearly as aggressive.

While the city’s sewer system has historically had a host of problems, the most severe are the areas affected by the Keim, which covers northern part of the collection system, and Kellenberger, which covers the east side of the covered bridge, handles the southwest and west portion of the collection system, lift stations.

Those lift stations have had trouble pumping at the original capacity intended, which has caused several issues with overflowing in the affected areas after extreme rainfall.


Work began in mid-November 2016. J & K Contracting of Junction City was hired to complete the majority of the work. Since November, J & K has been working on several point repairs, which are areas being dug up and repaired. The point repairs are mostly happening on the north side of the city.

Visu-Sewer, Inc., has been subcontracted to complete some of the cured-in-place projects, which are mostly being completed on the south side of the city.

The current improvements are a mixture of Priority 1 and Priority 2. The cost to the city for these improvements is $1,060,649.50.

Next Steps

Shroyer said all the work being completed now should help correct the inflow and infiltration problems. The next step would be to replace lift stations .

“We’re not trying to avoid replacing those lift stations,” Shroyer said. “We are trying to do whatever else we can do first.”

Completing these other improvements now could save the city money in the long run. While Shroyer did not have an exact dollar figure, he estimated a savings of $1 million.

Work to Continue 

Citizens can expect many areas to be torn up over the next several months.

Shroyer said the contract is 300 days for completion, but the contractor feels that if everything goes well, the project will be completed by late spring or early summer.

Krista Wasinger95 Posts

Krista Wasinger is Co-Editor of The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2011. She specializes in city reporting and feature stories, as well as photography and page and advertising design. Krista is a 2004 Fort Hays State University graduate with a degree in communications studies with an emphasis in journalism. She lives in Sabetha with her husband and four children.


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