Archive for Thursday, September 24, 2009

Council awards contract for Sunflower water design upgrades

September 24, 2009

The De Soto City Council members made the first of the decisions last Thursday concerning the Sunflower water treatment plant city engineer Mike Brungardt told them two weeks earlier would be before them in the coming months.

The council agreed to contract with Larkin Group to provide the design and engineering of the first phase of improvements to the Sunflower water treatment plant. In doing so, it acted on the recommendation of a selection committee of Brungardt, city water department supervisor Clarence Brunk, Planning Commissioner Steve Winslow and council members Ron McDaniel and Rick Walker.

The contract is for the design and engineering of a new electrical line to the Sunflower water treatment plant and the installation of new water lines from the plant. Along with an emergency backup generator, the two measurers are considered the most critical of those needed at the treatment plant.

With the decision, the city will negotiate the fee and scope of the study.

Tony O’Malley of Larkin Group said he was eager to get started on the project. He noted the project wasn’t for improvements to the water plant itself put for power to it and waterlines from it. That meant negotiating for easements with Sunflower Redevelopment LLC and working with the power company.

“That’s the only thing I fear because those are thing I can’t control,” he said.

The city has been in negotiations with Sunflower Redevelopment for several months concerning easements for utilities and waterlines. Although, those negotiations are said to be “close” no agreement is yet in place.

The agreement that transferred the ammunition plant to Sunflower Redevelopment requires the developer to provide easements to the city for the water treatment plant’s operation. However, the developer was given five years from the time the transfer agreement was signed before the the city could start condemnation proceedings to acquire the easements. That means condemnation can’t start until August of next year.

Brungardt said the council received last week a draft of the study on the feasibility of forming a wholesale water cooperative supplied by the Sunflower treatment plant. A Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant provided half the money for the $50,000 study and De Soto, Gardner and Johnson County Water Districts No. 6 and 7 — all potential members of the cooperative — provided the remainder. (Douglas County Water District No. 4 would also be supplied by the Sunflower plant because of its agreement to buy water from Johnson County Water District No. 6.)

Representatives of those jurisdictions met once last week to review the draft and were working to develop the cost of producing 1,000 cubic feet of water at the plant once needed improvements were made, a number that will be a key to the cooperative’s feasibility.

“We’re not there yet, but we’re close,” Brungardt said, saying he would report to the council next month.

The city council agreed to pursue the cooperative when it decided in January to upgrade the Sunflower water plant rather than enter into an agreement to purchase water from the city of Olathe. The hope is to spare De Soto water customers the total cost of renovating the Sunflower plant.

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