Marion leaders told chemical response won’t be algae cure

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER & ALEEN RATZLAFF
Treatment for potentially toxic blue-green algae at Marion Reservoir probably will be mechanical rather than chemical, City Administrator David Mayfield told the Marion City Commission Monday.

Mayfield said in a meeting at Marion Reservoir last week, arranged by Senator Sam Brownback’s office, Tony Clyde, limnologist for the Tulsa District Corps of Engineers, said using copper sulfate treatment in the water to kill the algae would cost $300,000 to $400,000.

The copper sulfate would also kill other strains of algae in the water needed for fish habitat through oxygen deprivation, and kill all the fish, he said.

Clyde guessed that use of another chemical, an aluminum algicide, would be prohibitively expensive since treatment of a comparatively tiny 15-acre lake cost $1.5 million.

Mayfield said aeration, a mechanical method commonly used in farm ponds, seemed to be the preferred method.

Continuation of a grant to provide farmers with educational and technical assistance to slow the flow of nutrients into the lake was discussed, Mayfield said.

The Corps also plans to continue monitoring the situation, and participants want further development of nationwide algae cell count guidelines, he said.

Mayfield credited the City of Hillsboro with gathering the beginning information on the algae situation.

Besides Marion and Hillsboro, the meeting also included representatives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the Kansas Water Office.

At a second meeting last week in the Marion City Building, Mayfield talked to the Neosho Basin Advisory Committee about costs and infrastructure the City of Marion installed to deal with the blue-green algae outbreak in 2003.

The commissioners approved writing a three-year contract with Marion County to provide weekly waste pickup from the Dumpsters at Marion County Lake for a charge of $3,892.50. (See the Marion County Commission story elsewhere in this issue for more information.)

Public Works Director Harvey Sanders reported Eisenhower Drive closed for two days to run sewer line across the road to the new assisted living facility.

The commissioners approved a transfer of money from sales tax in the general fund to the bond and interest fund for debt service for $75,323.75.

Mayfield said the funds would pay on the industrial park, and be used to build future reserve in the bond and interest fund.

The commissioners met with City Attorney Dan Baldwin in executive session for 15 minutes at the end of the meeting to discuss personnel.

July 26 meeting

Marion’s Mayor Martin Tice and City Commissioner Larry McLain approved publication of the 2005 budget in the paper and set a public budget hearing for 4 p.m., Aug. 9, prior to the regular commission meeting.

Commission Jim Crofoot was absent.

“We will not need to raise the mill levy if the budget is kept in its present form,” said City Administrator David Mayfield.

After hearing and approval of the budget, it will be submitted to the Marion County clerk prior to Aug. 25.

The commission also approved submitting a bid for servicing the Dumpsters at Marion County Lake.

Mayfield said he had received a bid sheet from Dale Snelling.

The bid for the three-year trash service will call for emptying 30 Dumpsters once a week at the county lake from April through October, and then once a week from November through March.

In response to Mayor Tice’s question about the additional work time required for city employees, Mayfield said the service would require two hours on Wednesdays only.

“(Because city workers) go to the airport to pick up Dumpsters, anyway,” Mayfield said, “it would work out for us.”

The city would agree to maintain the Dumpsters during the contract period. If new ones are needed, the county would purchase them, Mayfield said.

Harvey Sanders, director of public utilities, reported sections of Washington Street had been under water because of all the rain. Sanders said the rain also resulted in the city postponing spraying again for mosquitoes.

City Chief Michel Soyez reported that Dean Keyes attended technology training in Baltimore, Md.

Keyes’ expenses were covered by the program, and $1,200 worth of equipment for the department will be shipped via Federal Express.

Mayfield announced he attended a transportation enhancement workshop the previous week in Wichita.

“The workshop gave us information about how to apply for a grant with an 30/20 match for streetscape, bike and hiking trails and historic preservation,” he said, adding that he thought applying for a streetscape would make the most sense.

The grants must be submitted by November and apply toward funding for the years 2006 and 2007.

Mayfield also said he had mailed information requested by engineers with Professional Engineering Consultants regarding the water plant feasibility study.

“They’ll come down the third week in August to look at it,” he said.

Regarding the ordinance about unpaid utilities, Gary Carlson wants to get concerned landlords together for an open forum at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 in the City Commission room, Mayfield said, adding he will write a proposal to bring to the city commission following the the open forum meeting.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the commission met in executive session to discuss a personnel issue. No action was to be taken.

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