City seeks solution to water woes
A newly-activated waterline could provide the city of De Soto additional options in addressing its water needs.
Mayor Steve Prudden has suggested at past city council meetings that a network of waterlines beneath the eastern section of the old Sunflower Village could provide a link to the city's current water distribution system.
Currently, there is no connection between the Sunflower water treatment plant, which provides water for Clearview City, and the De Soto's distribution system. A city system does, however, connect to the nearby Countryside Learning Center.
City engineer Mike Brungardt said the waterline recharged last Thursday runs from the Sunflower water towers to a meter pit north of Lexington Avenue. It has one leak that would have to be repaired if the line were used.
Brungardt said there was an old waterline and distribution system under the eastern part of Sunflower Village that eventually connects to Countryside Learning Center. But the engineer said making use of that system wasn't as simple as turning on valves.
"Nobody has any maps of that system," he said. "If you want make that part of the city's supply system, you need to turn off lateral lines, fix the leaks and disinfect. Without a map, the only way to do that is to dig up the (supply) line. The cost of excavating is two-thirds the cost of putting a line in the ground.
"I'm sure the maps exist somewhere. I would give my desk to have them," he said.
Digging or installing new lines along the old distribution system would require an easement agreement with property owners, Brungardt said.
The difficulties don't make the rediscovered line useless. The city is already considering installing a temporary waterline that would connect Sunflower to Countryside. To avoid the need to seek easements, the proposed water line would be installed along Lexington Avenue.
The line recharged last week would reduce the amount of new waterline the city would have to install, Brungardt said.
At a De Soto City Council meeting last month, Brungardt said $20,000 worth of improvements to the city's downtown water plant would allow it to produce up to 800,000 gallons a day or enough to meet this summer's anticipated demand.
After reviewing the proposal, Brungardt said he would not recommend the council pursue it as a solution to the city's expected summer water shortage.
"It's such a precise process. If something went wrong, it could adversely affect water quality," he said. "I'm still going to recommend the city make some of the alterations that will improve water quality."
That leaves the city the options of installing a temporary waterline from Sunflower to Countryside or purchsing water from Johnson County Rural Water No. 6 if it is to increase summer water supply. Brungardt said the shortage could be addressed in anoohter way.
"We could ration water," he said. "We chose not to do that last year. That's another option."