Rainy Day Blues
Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer says wastewater improvement contract includes repairs to yards and streets.
The streets of Sabetha have been much like an obstacle course the last few months, as crews work to improve the city’s wastewater collection system. Streets have been barricaded as crews continue to work on point repairs throughout the city.
Since November 2016, several point repairs already have been completed. J & K Contracting of Junction City was hired to complete the majority of this work. These point repairs are the areas that are dug up and repaired and are mostly happening on the north side of the city. Visu-Sewer, Inc. has been subcontracted to complete some of the cured-in-place (CIP) projects, which mostly are being completed on the south side of the city.
According to Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer, the point repairs are about 80 percent complete. There are three more areas with point repairs to be complete on Main Street, along with a couple of alleys.
Some of the CIP projects have been complete, but Shroyer said Visu-Sewer still has some projects to complete once J & K Contracting crews have finished their work.
Citizens can rest assured that the streets that are currently torn up because of the repairs will be fixed, Shroyer said.
“The streets will all be fixed,” he said. “That is part of the contract.”
The worst area – a section of 14th Street, from Oregon to Dakota Street – will be replaced. Shroyer said discussion will take place this week to determine when and how this section of street will be replaced. Shroyer thought that the street repair could begin as soon as next week, but property owners will be notified before the work begins.
Other areas throughout the city where trenches have been dug to complete the point repairs also will be repaired. Some will need concrete re-poured or asphalt replaced.
Additionally, some yards have been torn up as a result of the repairs and the contracting crews will be responsible for taking care of fixing these areas.
“Anything that has been disturbed will be taken care of,” Shroyer said.
These repairs are meant to help 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 lift station, which covers northern part of the collection system, and Kellenberger lift stations, which covers the east side of the covered bridge, handles the southwest and west portion of the collection system. 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.
Completing these current improvements will help correct the inflow and infiltration problems and could save the city money in the long run. The city administration is not trying to avoid replacing the lift stations, but is simply trying to do whatever else they can first.
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 Wasinger100 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.