Marion council reviews options for single-stream

The Marion City Council discussed at its Nov. 12 meeting three options for getting involved in single-stream recycling before directing the administration to look at a combination of curbside and storage bin.
Roger Holter, interim city administrator, said the third option was keeping the status quo with citizens taking recyclables to the transfer station 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
?Under 15 percent of total (refuge) tonnage is being directed toward recycling,? Holter said. ?Every ton of debris that goes into the waste cycle goes to the landfill by El Dorado.
?In Hutchison, single-stream recycling is cost neutral and impacts the environ?ment (positively).?
Holter said with the county?s portable recycle bins, citizens could take all recyclables 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Councilor Todd Heits?chmidt said that given the population of the community, it might be too difficult for someone to lift the bin on these portable ones.
Holter said the bins are made of steel with a plastic lid and hold about 3 cubic yards.
Even though some council members said a plastic lid would help, holding a huge lid while trying to put materials into it might be too much for an elderly person.
The other option, Holter said, would be to take a pro-active stance and modify the current refuge collection. Instead of twice a week gar?bage pickup, the city would go to once a week for refuge and once a week for recyclables.
?With this one, there does come a price tag,? he said. ?The city would have to have recycling containers, which are $90 a piece per household.?
With slightly more than 700 residential accounts, the cost would be around $63,000, Holter said.
Heitschmidt asked Holter why the city would need to have containers.
?We don?t have to have containers right now for regular refuge,? Heit?schmidt added.
Because of the grinding process involved in single-stream recycling, Holter said, plastic bags will stop that facility.
?We either have to have curbside pickup where we dump the entire container without plastic in it, or propose using cardboard boxes that recyclables can go in,? he said.
?In order to engage in curbside, we need to make sure to take plastic film out of the stream or it would be a penalty for each truckload.?
Councilor Jerry Dieter suggested the option of 30-gallon plastic tubs being used for recyclables and thought once a week pickup was too much.
Polycarts, curbside
After more than 30 minutes of discussion, council members agreed that a combination of the portable bin and curbside needs further study.
People who don?t want to spend the money on polycarts (90-gallon containers) can still recycle with the 24/7 portable bin, and those who want curbside at their homes for recycling can pay the $90 for a cart.
Councilor Jerry Kline said a couple of women told him they weren?t going back to the transfer station for fear of falling or being confused by the process.
According to Holter, those two options would eliminate some people from having to go to the transfer station.
Mayor Mary Olson asked Holter about the standards for putting out trash when other council members were considering use of 30-gallon tubs or the polycarts for recycling.
?Can garbage be put out in boxes, polycarts or will the guys come by and pick up everything?? she asked.
According to the ordinance, containers cannot be more than 30 gallons unless approved by the city.
All containers, it stated, must be windproof, water- tight and tightly fitting with cover or lid at all times.
Heitschmidt said: ?City crews are picking up gar?bage not bagged, which is greatly appreciated.
?But if dogs get into trash bags, they are not picking that up and it will be left for the resident.?
Heitschmidt also asked if the council is ready to enforce the ordinance that night because many of the council members were not in favor of charging for 90-gallon polycarts.
?Hardly anyone in the community has containers with a lid on them,? he said.
Following the discussion, Councilor Chris Meierhoff asked if the council could go back to the issue at hand, which is recycling.
It was decided Holter explore the 24/7 distribution site, check into the availability of smaller recycle bins, do a cost analysis for the project and a cost analysis of manpower necessary for curbside recycling.
Resurfacing project
Darin Neufeld with EBH Engineering presented the final change order to the council for the asphalt resurfacing project from Locust Street to the alley west of First Street.
He said about $15,100 is being held as retainage until the contractor, Kansas Paving, comes back and repaves one-half block or 177 tons of asphalt, a quantity that shows up as being done.
?When it goes bad in a couple of years,? Neufeld said, ?I don?t want this in the state?s corner, city?s corner or my corner.
?This goes against specs on what they did, against the asphalt institute?s recommendations and they said they do it all the time.?
Neufeld said if this is ?done all the time? then he said they should back it up in writing.
?If the Kansas Department of Transportation forces us to pay (the contractor),? he said, ?then we will pay them, but we will only pay after we get a letter (from the state) saying we are making you pay them.?
Neufeld said he is not contending anything else, other than the amount of 177 tons of asphalt, or the $15,100 held as retainage.
The total cost of the project was $201,158.
Jex Addition
Council members were updated on the Jex sewer project by Andrew Brunner of EBH.
?Santa Fe Street is complete, and Vine Street possibly finished by the end of his week,? he said.
Work is also expected to be completed on Garfield and Grant streets this week.
?We do not have time on Billings Street yet because that is a completely separate contractor,? he said. ?Right now, 1,700 to 1,800 linear feet of pipe is in, so we are close to halfway at 40 to 45 percent.?
Neufeld said they were not required to put them on or run a tap to vacant lots or other locations without city service.
?They could be easily tapped into the final manhole, which would be 60 to 70 feet of (a specific) property.
Two houses could be tied in, but Neufeld said they are not running lateral to those properties because neither one are currently with city service.
There are two other locations off Barber Street, he said, which are the last two houses someone sees as they are driving on Main Street.
?The last two are on the west end of Jex Addition,? he said. ?Neither one has city and new laterals are not being run to those facilities.?
Neufeld said there are also two lots in Billings and Jex Addition that have old trailer house set-ups, and if there is a riser there they are tying new lateral into the old riser.
?But some locations in Jex where an old house burnt down years ago and is not hooked up to the city sewer won?t be hooked up.
Mayor Mary Olson asked if in those cases would it be a new project.
?Yes,? Neufeld said.
Holter said a tap could be put at the end of the line or the manhole so that if someone decides to hook up, it would be there for them.
To be in compliance with city code, Holter said, a resident would have to hook up if sewer is available in the area by 100 feet.
?If we put a tap at the end, we are within 70 feet to that property,? he added.
The total cost of the improvements was estimated at about $633,000.
Old sewer lines
The council started discussion on replacing the sewer lines in 2011.
The original sewer lines in the Jex Addition were laid in the 1950s.
According to information presented at that time, sewer gas deteriorates concrete, which meant the lines were no longer functioning adequately to convey the waste water to the treatment facility in a safe manner.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment ranked the city fourth in the state for immediacy of replacing sewer lines and that area was close to being shut down or fined.
The Jex Addition collects sewage from 25 residential properties. The Billings Addition wastewater collection system serves five residential properties and the Beebe Addition serves five residential and three commercial properties.
Another part of the improvements is adding sewer lines along Vine Street, so as septic systems give out on the far west end of town, they will have a place to take the sewage. Right now there isn?t one.
Obsolete system
Christian Pedersen, the city?s electrical supervisor, talked about how the electrical system is quickly becoming obsolete.
?Replacement parts (for the two-phase electrical power system) are going out of production and that means expenses increase exponentially,? he said. ?The transformer would require a custom build.?
Holter said that through Pedersen?s efforts, the outer loop of Marion is completed with 12.5-kV line or two 7,200 volts.
?We have the circumference complete,? Holter said, ?and from that technology, he self-engineered and he and Harvey Sanders made, we can continue to the second phase.?
Consequently, Pedersen said he would recommend the city determine the most cost effective way to convert the city from 2400 volt system to 12.5 kV system
?One-third of the electrical system is on voltage that is obsolete,? he said.
Pedersen said he found a company that would like to build a model showing where the city?s weak points.
?The big concern right now is that we switched a lot over from the old 2400 volt system to 12.5 kV,? he said.
?The problem is we have two substations?one by Marion Elementary School and one by the Marion County Transfer Station and currently with three big transformers at each substation, which is the old 2,400 volts.?
Pedersen said in talking with colleagues involved in the Kansas Mutual Aid Program for Utilities, and the company building transformers, nobody has anything like it because it is so old.
?I?have one spare (transformer), but if lightning struck and it got two of them, we would be without power for a long, long time.?
In the next four to five years, he said, he would like the city to focus on getting rid of the substation by MES and take the three transformers from there and move them to the other substation for spares.
According to Holter, the electric department has been moving all of the larger demand customers into a dedicated three-phase system which is lessening the demand.
?He engineered and had drawings done for the complete electrical system so an outside entity won?t have to go from scratch.
?Actually Christian has taken us further than any other cities our size on this developmental piece.?
In addition, Holter said that modeling is not a drawing, but instead is able to do load factors and prioritize by section which areas Pedersen needs to pull off first because of equipment age.
It would also be able to show what is the demand in an area and even the number of trees, because of line loss that occurs there.
Pedersen said they have done a GIS?mapping which has helped.
?I gave that to the engineer and he has taken it back with him to study,? he said.
However, Heitschmidt said he thinks the city shouldn?t look at the first person who offers to do the work for a certain amount.
The council directed Pedersen to speak with people in the mutual aid group and find out who does this type of modeling.
Once areas are identified, Holter said the city could hire one more person or consider a mutual aid trade agreement so that most of the labor could be handled internally.
?It would be on our timeline rather than an independent contractor?s,? he said.
Answering Heitschmidt?s question regarding how long an independent contractor would take; Holter said: ?One year.?
The work would require taking each home off their old service and putting in new.
?The advantage to customers would be reliability with the actual service being delivered to their home enhanced dramatically,? Pedersen said.
Meierhoff said: ?So what that means is going up and down every alley, and taking down every transformer up there, and putting up a new transformer on every pole that is there??
Pedersen said it is going to be a lot of work.
The cost for an independent contractor would be $380,000 to $540,000.
?I look forward to a proposal that gets this done at a very low cost,? Heitschmidt said, ?and in your three-year period.?
The council directed Pedersen to get bids from other companies for the modeling and to review the costs involved in doing the work in-house.

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