Gardner expected to join water study
Add the city of Gardner to those jurisdictions interested in exploring joint production at the Sunflower water treatment plant.
Gardner Assistant City Administrator Melissa Mundt said the Gardner City Council was expected to consider a resolution Monday that would have the city participate in a study exploring the feasibility of joining a wholesale water district supplied by the water treatment plant on old Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.
The city of De Soto invited surrounding jurisdictions to consider such a wholesale water district after the De Soto City Council’s February decision to renovate the treatment facility. The city is to get title to the plant in has operated the last decade when its environmental cleanup in certified.
Johnson County Rural Water Districts No. 6 and 7, which serve much of the western sections of the county, and Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4 had already agreed to participate in a feasibility study of partnering in the Sunflower plant with the city of De Soto. To that end, the city and the two water Johnson County water districts applied Monday for a Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant that would provide half the $25,000 needed for the study.
De Soto city engineer Mike Brungardt said the application would be amended should Gardner decide to participate as was expected. That could increase the scope and the cost of the study, but a fourth partner could lower the individual cost for the current participants, he said.
Mundt said Gardner was in the midst of studying its future water supply options. The city is now in a feasibility study that would increase its water supply from Hillsdale Lake, she said.
The joint studies reflect the encouragement Gardner officials have received from state and federal officials to explore regional solutions to water supply, Mundt said.
Gardner’s current peak use in 3.3 million gallons a day, Mundt said. The city is looking to add another 2 million gallons a day in a timeframe for 2015 to 2018 and 4 million gallons a day from 2030 to 2040.
The Sunflower plant could serve the city’s future growth area because Gardner has an agreement with the cities of De Soto and Olathe that would allow it to annex to the southern boundary of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, Mundt said.
“The critical thing here is the treatment capacity and where it would be treated,” she said.
Brungardt said Gardner’s participation in a wholesale water district would be a game changer.
“It would change the types of things and the direction we would look to go as far and the scope of improvements to the plant,” he said. “We would have to look at the well field north of the river and the river crossing.”
The city is current focusing on improvements to the well field south of the Kansas River because of the expense involved with repairs to the waterline under the river that provides water from the northern well field.
The Sunflower water treatment plant De Soto operates can produce 8 million gallons a day, although the city’s peak use in 800,000 gallons a day.