Towns soon to be notified about pipeline project deliveries

The City of Florence is to get a letter from the Marion County Commission, approved Monday, stating that commissioners have just been notified that Trans?Canada Keystone Pipeline will begin unloading 80-foot lengths of pipe in the next two weeks from railroad cars there for transport up U.S. Highway 77 to a pipe-yard at 290th and Quail Creek Road.

From that point, commissioners said, the City of Lincolnville would also have to be aware of the potential damage to its Main Street as the 80,000 pound loads proceed on west on 290th, also known as the Durham-Lincoln?ville Road.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the county has a new bridge from the railroad siding to U.S. 77 just put in a year ago, ?and we will want to see how they take care of road damage and any repairs needed of the bridge.?

The commissioners approved the company?s request to begin immediate construction of the yard on 40 acres it leased.

Tommy Darnell, Keystone representative, said the company would remove topsoil, then construct berms for the pipe to lay across. He said the field will be restored to original condition for agricultural use when the company leaves.

County Appraiser Cindy Magill told Darnell that Keystone will need to inform the land owner that the change in use could change taxation on the land from agricultural to commercial.

The commissioners granted Keystone permission to build the yard, with the understanding brought up by Tonya Richmond, acting planning and zoning director, that it could lose the money for doing so if a conditional use permit is not granted it at the planning and zoning meeting Dec. 3.

The commissioners also will meet Wednesday night in Abilene with commissions from other counties and their attorneys in an effort spear-headed by Dickinson County for fair charges and taxation with Keystone.

Jim Prescott, a second Keystone representative who joined the meeting by teleconference, said the company ?is ready to go? in construction of the Marion County phase of the pipeline that will transport Candian oil sand across the United States to a refinery in Cushing, Okla.

He said the company will work with Road and Bridge Director John Summerville and Michael Olson, the designated county engineer from the consulting firm of Kirkham-Michael, to have trucks follow designated roads and bridges through the county.

?We want the county to be comfortable with the arrangements,? Prescott said, including immediate arrangement for finance agreements of road repair or reconstruction by the county or by contractors. ?We want the roads restored to the condition we found them in when we are gone.?

Prescott said Keystone has worked with 110 American counties since pipeline construction began at the Canadian line, and has a ?track record of success? with no complaints from any of the counties. He said Keystone is prepared to back its guarantees with escrow funds or insurance bonds, whatever the county wants.

Darnell asked the commissioners to call their counterparts in Nemaha, Brown, Doniphan and Marshall counties to ask if they dissatisfied with Keystone?s actions.

Presscott said Keystone is in the second of three years of construction to build the pipeline that was begun in North and South Dakota. The company works in 125-mile long ?spreads,? he said, with two spreads required to cross Kansas and go into Oklahoma.

Darnell said he would be back in the next two weeks to go over maps of the pipeline route to designate road routes with Summerville.

Commissioner Bob Hein said he would like to know the number of trucks and loads involved in the project.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he is concerned that the two-inch asphalt overlay on the Durham-Lincolnville Road and various chip and seal overlays by the county could be wasted if damage agreements also don?t address destruction of, or dishing out, of road bases.

Holub said the county has spent a lot of money and time in trying to rebuild road bases before overlays to insure roads will last.

He warned that just seeing a pothole to repair isn?t good enough because the pothole can be just the first sympton of greater problems with road base.

?We don?t intend to obstruct commerce, but the plan will need to make sure a problem is fixed now,? Holub said. ?We don?t want to begin fixing problems a year later.?

The commissioners said there are a number of 15-ton weight limit county bridges, and Summerville added that some go clear down to three tons.

County Attorney Susan Robson said all plans and agreements should refer back to Olson as engineer.

Harry Bennett, who lives southwest of Marion, questioned Darnell about how it will be determined whether the pipeline crosses a stream by boring underneath or, if the stream is small enough, by open cut.

Bennett said he owns both sides of a creek downstream from the projected pipeline crossing, and he wants to know if he will face soil washing issues. He said it is his understanding that Keystone won?t allow tree growth over the line, and he wants to know what actions will be taken to hold soil without trees in riparian areas.

Darnell took Bennett?s name to get back to him.

In other road maintenance matters, Summerville said he is getting more public complaints about insufficiency of gravel on roads because of the continual drizzling rains that softens surfaces to mud.

He said he wanted the public to know the county is purchasing $60,000 worth of gravel from the Martin-Marietta Quarry at Marion and has up to seven trucks hauling it.

?But with these rains, we can?t keep even, let alone gain,? he said.

Summerville said post offices and school districts are continually calling for more rock on routes to keep them passable.

He added that he just doesn?t have time for patrons complaining they can?t keep cars clean with the mud.

?Dirty cars are just the cost of living in the country, and you?re going to have to deal with it,? Summerville said.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge transport fuel bid of $19,432 from Cooperative Grain of Hillsboro for 4,500 gallons of clear diesel, 2,000 gallons of dyed diesel and 1,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline over a competitive bid for the same quantities from Cardie Oil of Tampa of $19,552.

Transfer Station, Recycling and Noxious Weed Director Rollin Schmidt said he has received a request from the Dickinson County Commission for a copy of the waste disposal contract Marion County has with the Butler County Landfill.

Schmidt said he guessed the request has to do with establishment of the Waste Not Products solid waste conversion plant to be built north of Herington. He said the company will probably need to receive railroad shipments from a wide area in order to reach the 1,800 tons of waste it needs daily for its end product of coal plant combustible material.

Schmidt said a helicopter spraying weeds for the railroad in Marion County spotted a new invasive reed grass-type weed called phraymites that has the potential to plug waterways. It is not on the Kansas noxious weeds list, so the commissioners will have to determine whether they want him to spray it next spring anyway, he said.

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