Wastewater system repairs are nearing completion

After eight months of barricaded streets, the end is in sight for Sabetha’s wastewater collection system improvements.

According to Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer, there are two remaining point repairs to be completed — one in the alley in the 900 block of Main on the south side behind Grimm’s True Value, and the other at Paramount and Roosevelt streets.

Since November 2016, several point repairs have been completed by J&K Contracting of Junction City. Point repairs are areas that are dug up and repaired. These repairs have mostly happened on the north side of the city.

Visu-Sewer, Inc., has been subcontracted to complete all of the cured-in-place (CIP) projects, which mostly are being completed in many locations throughout the city.

Shroyer said the larger CIP projects are mostly completed, but there are still some areas that will need to be finished up in the coming weeks. Once J&K Contracting crews have finished their work, Visu-Sewer will be able to complete its projects.

The 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 the water that has soaked into the ground and find its way into cracks.

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 the northern part of the collection system, and the Kellenberger lift station, which covers the east side of the covered bridge, and handles the southwest and west portions of the collection system.

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

Completing these 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.

Shroyer said the repairs that have been made have helped with the inflow and infiltration problems so far.

“We have seen significant improvements,” Shroyer said. “These two (Keim and Kellenberger) lift stations did not bypass during the last rain event we had, which would not have been the case in the past.”

It is important to understand, Shroyer said, that lift stations are mechanical and will have issues that may cause a bypass until repairs are made on them.

“There is no guarantee that they will not run over after a very heavy rain, but so far we have seen an improvement because of this project,” he said.

The contract for the project is 300 days — and that timeline has stayed fairly accurate. The expected completion date for the project is late August to early September.

Not only has an accurate timeline been maintained, but also an accurate cost. The project was bid at $1,060,649.50 and to date, the city has paid $901,096.45 toward the project. Shroyer said it appears the project will stay right at the expected cost.

Clean up

Throughout the wastewater improvement project, streets throughout the city have been torn up and even some yards have been disrupted because of the work.

The contract states that any area torn up as a result of the improvements will be fixed. This includes streets where trenches were dug to complete the point repairs. Concrete has been or will be re-poured and/or asphalt replaced.

Additionally, some yards have been disrupted when contracting crews were working on the repairs. The crews are responsible for fixing these areas. Shroyer said crews are currently working on streets now and will repair the yards as soon as possible and plant grass in the fall.

The worst area — a section of 14th Street, from Oregon to Dakota Street — was replaced earlier this year. A number of other streets already have been repaired or are currently being repaired.

“Anything that has been disturbed will be taken care of,” Shroyer said.

Anyone with a question or complaint can contact Shroyer or City Administrator Doug Allen at 785-284-2158.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have required cities to eliminate inflow and infiltration issues.

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 create a plan from all the data that the City of Sabetha crews compiled after completing the smoke testing and closed circuit televising of the entire collection system. Also completed was an inspection of all residents and businesses in Sabetha to identify any sump pumps that were connected to the sanitary sewer system, which were then disconnected. All manholes were inspected and assessed to determine any sources of inflow and infiltration as well.

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.

In November 2016, crews began repairs throughout the city.

Krista Wasinger74 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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