Following a 90-minute discussion with city engineer Brian Foster, the Goessel City Council decided at its July 16 meeting to upgrade the city sewer system
Foster, with BG Consultants of Manhattan, spent considerable time discussing the issue with the council; he also had been at the May meeting. Foster also attended a Kansas Inter-agency Advisory Committee meeting in Topeka, along with Mayor Dave Schrag, City Clerk Jennifer Whitehead, Public Works Director Karen Dalke, and Rose Mary Saunders of Ranson Financial Group.
Foster and Schrag said the meeting went well.
“Brian did an excellent job of representing Goessel,” Schrag said, adding that KIAK representatives also were impressed. “We got real positive feedback.”
Foster described potential grants and loans that might be helpful. He reminded the council about “required revenue,” which is the amount of revenue the city needs to bring in to cover the annual debt payments.
The city receives revenue from the 239 sewer users, and the rate they pay will need to increase in order to qualify for a grant and loan; he said the current rate is not high enough to qualify.
The city is applying for a Community Development Block Grant and a USDA loan. Foster said USDA may have grant funds available as well.
Foster said the current system allows infiltration and inflow, which is water that enters the sewer line through cracks and holes in the pipe. This is extra water that should not be entering the sewer system.
He said the city’s pumps have a hard time when there is a lot of rain, and the extra water puts extra stress on the pumps. Sometimes the pumps cannot keep up, and water backs up into basements.
Foster suggested lining all of the clay pipes, and replacing service taps.
Foster said the city’s lift station was built 36 years ago and is not safe for employees when they have to go deep in a hole to make repairs. Foster emphasized that the system needs to be replaced because of the danger, including fumes and lack of oxygen.
Schrag agreed about the danger. “It’s old equipment,” he said and described how public works employees have to deal with it when the pump shuts down because it has been running constantly.
“If a pump goes down, basements start filling up,” he said. “As it is now, we need a cable to pull a person out if they have trouble,. If a second person goes down, that person could also be overcome with fumes.”
Schrag said employees wear gas masks, but a new system would eliminate the dangerous fumes. Also, it would not require employees to go into a hole; their maintenance work could be done above ground.
Foster said the state will not allow the project to die because the city is out of compliance with state regulations.
Schrag thanked Foster: “I really appreciate the job you’re doing on this…. It would fix a lot of our problems.”
Foster said it would not fix all of the infiltration problems because some of that infiltration occurs on private property that is the responsibility of home-owners; some residents might not be in compliance.
In other business, the council:
• accepted the resignation of Wilma Mueller of the police department.
• heard that a dog had bitten someone and will have to be removed from the city.
• discussed the low-income housing, Sunflower Apartments. Some residents have lived there a long time. The council learned that someone would like to buy the apartments.
• approved Standard Traffic Ordinance 272.
• approved Uniform Public Offense Code Ordinance 273.