Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

De Soto resumes water master plan

August 11, 2005

With the future ownership of the water treatment plant on the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant finally secured, city of De Soto officials are moving ahead with the development of a master plan.

City Administrator Greg Johnson said he and other city staff members met with consultants with Burns and McDonnell to restart the water utility master plan put on hold earlier this year because of unanswered questions about Sunflower's future.

The consultants are to review the city's water options, assess current facilities, evaluate current and future users and service areas and provide estimates of how much it will cost the city to meet its needs. That includes another look at the cost of upgrading the Sunflower water plant, Johnson said.

All that was known last year when the city council approved a master plan. Johnson said the only modification to that scope was a more intensive look at providing service to the west of De Soto, an area into which the city looks to extend sewer service and, thus, encourage growth with the completion of the new wastewater treatment plant in early 2007.

The agreement with Sunflower Redevelopment gives De Soto an irrevocable lease on the water plant pending certification the 12 acres that accompanies the plant are free of contamination as they are thought to be.

The agreement allows the city to continue using the water tower at the plant for a few years while making property available at Sunflower Road and 95th Street for a future city water tower.

It is generally agreed the city needs customers to make the needed improvements to the water plant affordable. The master plan will explore possible water sales to cities and water districts in western and southern Johnson County and those in Douglas and Miami counties.

It was suggested it would take $2.5 million to refurbish the Sunflower water plant to make it a reliable provider of the city's current needs. More expensive upgrades are tied to increase the plant's capacity so it could serve as a source of water for other cities and water districts.

However, some of the work suggested in earlier studies has been done, Johnson said. It was also thought the city should get more current estimates, he said.

Development in Sunflower could create additional customers, but there has not yet been any discussion with Sunflower Redevelopment about such a relationship, Johnson said. Notwithstanding any arrangement for future development, Sunflower Redevelopment will become a water customer when environmental cleanup work starts.

The city's agreement with Sunflower Redevelopment calls for the city to provide untreated water and treated water to Sunflower Redevelopment. Untreated water, used for both the explosive cleanup and remediation of contaminated ground sites, will be made available to the developer at $1 per 1,000 gallons and the developer covering the cost of pumping and diverting the water. The first 30,000 gallons of treated water will be provided free, and any excess of that amount charged at the applicable residential rate, currently $5.85 for every gallon used.

Before the transfer, the city's lease required the city provide water to the Army free for use in the cleanup.

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