Goessel to seek funding for sludge project

The Goessel City Council agreed to seek lagoon sludge removal funding during its Dec. 16 meeting.

Rosemary Saunders of Ranson Financial Consult?ants, who has worked with revolving loans with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment since the early 1990s, encouraged the council to remove the sludge.

Saunders said communities have been penalized for not removing their sludge.

?This is something you do not want to lag on,? she said, ?It?s not something that?s going to take place overnight.?

Saunders said the sludge depth in ?cell No. 1? is 5.86 inches, with a lagoon loss of capacity at 9 percent. The other three cells have more sludge, with cell No. 2 having the most, 16.26 inches, resulting in loss of capacity of 25 percent for that cell.

Saunders said ?having them all cleaned at the same time? would be to the city?s advantage. She said normal sludge accumulation is from 15 to 20 years.

Saunders said it had cost $66,000 to clean the lagoons for a town half the size of Goessel. When Councilor Dean Snelling asked about fines for not cleaning the lagoons, Saunders said she knows of a town that was fined $21,000 a day.

Utility rates

Saunders said water and sewer rates are separate items.

?Each utility needs to stand on its own,? she said. ?We like to see a small increase in your water rates and sewer rates…, We talk about reserves.?

She said that one town sets aside $1 from every meter and puts that money into a reserve account. That town has 300 meters, which means $300 a month goes into a reserve fund.

When there was a major expense there recently, the town ?had the funds in hand? to fix it the problem. Saunders advised the council that if they raise rates a little bit each year, ?you?re going to be OK.?

Goessel has 232 meters.

The council learned that the sludge will be tested to determine its chemical make-up. Then the city will need an agreement with a nearby landowner to inject the sludge into that ground.

The council decided to start the funding process with Saunders and KDHE.

New water rates

The council also discussed water rates, noting that the city is ?always in the hole,? with no money for anything extra.

City Clerk Jennifer White?head said the state average increases by 2 to 3 percent every year. The council noted the need for a reserve fund.

Snelling advised the coun?cil to establish a reserve fund so money would be available if something breaks down. An ordinance is required to establish a reserve fund.

The council approved a water-rate proposal that establishes a minimum charge of $10.34 per month for each 3/4-inch water meter. Use of more than 1,000 gallons of water would cost $2.95 for each additional 1,000 gallons, up to a total of 5,000 gallons. Use of more than 5,000 gallons will be charged at a rate of $3.28 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

The minimum charge for a 1-inch water meter will be 27.54 per month, up to 5,000 gallons of water. The charge will be $2.95 for each additional 1,000 gallons up to a total of 7,500 gallons and $3.28 for each 1,000 gallons after that.

The minimum charge will be $68.14 per month for each 4-inch water meter, up to 20,000 gallons, $2.95 for each additional 1,000 gallons of water up to a total of 40,000 gallons. The charge for use above that amount will be $3.28 for each 1,000 gallons.

Monthly charges for water used by residents who do not live within the city limits will be at a rate equal to twice the amount charged to city residents.

In addition, a surcharge will be established for the purpose of servicing and improvements to the municipal water system and to provide for maintenance and upkeep.

The council also established wastewater charges, with the minimum charge set at $11 per month, with an additional fee for maintenance.

Also, any user who discharges toxic pollutants or other substances that cause an increase in the cost of managing the effluent or sludge shall pay for the increased cost of maintenance or replacement.

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