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Lyons City Council Accepts KDHE Consent Order Related to Wastewater Treatment Plant Issues

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By Lucky Kidd

 

LYONS, Kan. — The Lyons City Council has accepted a consent order from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment related to issues at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and setting out steps to address ongoing issues at the plant. The Council also approved a purchase to help begin addressing some of the problems in the plant.

Thaniel Monaco from BG Consultants reviewed the order for the Council and said short term work will focus on the plant’s oxidation ditch, which currently has to have air injected into it to lower discharge levels which are still above permit limits. Monaco has been discussing issues with KDHE, and said the timelines set out in the order are “doable.”

The Council approved a $23,113 purchase from Landia, Inc., of a rail system which will be attached to a walking bridge over the ditch, that will enable the city to raise and lower the aeration impellers used to circulate wastewater through it.

The second short term issue to be addressed involves removal of a significant amount of sludge in the ditch that has accumulated over the past ten years. The sludge is about two feet deep in the five feet deep ditch, which is contributing to the issues.

Unlike the sludge solids that come out of the plant, what is in the ditch is not a “beneficial product in that it can’t be used for anything. There are a couple of options out there to remove the sludge, which one to be used has not yet been decided upon.

Monaco noted the consent order also will assist the city in terms of being able to obtain grant funds for rehabilitation of the plant. To assure they can be eligible to apply for a Community Development Block Grant this fall, the council approved submission of a contract amendment on an existing housing rehabilitation grant, which still has some funds remaining.

There are some applications pending for those funds, and the amendment would extend from June 14 to the deadline (October 14) to complete that project. It is hoped to have the final projects complete by September 30, as that grant has to be concluded before the city can apply for CDBG funding for wastewater projects.

The wastewater grant would require up to a $150,000 local match, which Monaco said could be provided from a low interest loan to be pursued for the project.

Two items on the agenda for Monday’s meeting were tabled at the request of staff. One of those, tabled to the June 3rd meeting, is a major overhaul of the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinance. City Administrator Eddy Truelove said these changes would incorporate regulations regarding such things as microbreweries and farm wineries, and regulations for temporary permits, and adjust cereal malt beverage regulations to reflect Kansas no longer having 3.2 beer. Extent of the revisions led to the delay request.

The Council also tabled until January 2025 a proposed Web Service Agreement with Apptegy due to budget considerations. John Kimball from Apptegy appeared via Zoom to outline the proposal, which would include development of a new website for the city and addition of an app for wireless devices.

Apptegy had development websites for thousands of school districts around the country and is used by a number of area school districts including Lyons USD 405. They recently began developing websites for cities, and in Kansas they have put online a new site for the city of Cimarron and are currently in the process of on- boarding three other cities including Kingman.

While staff supports contracting with Apptegy, the Council was of the opinion this proposal, which has a first-year cost of $18,000, needed to be deferred for now due to it not being a budgeted item and not knowing how this expenditure might impact other needed items later in the year. This will be discussed during budget considerations this summer.

Truelove reviewed for the council where things stand on development of the city’s 2025 budget. Budget proposals from department heads have been prepared, and the main thing being waited on before further work can be done on it is receipt from the County Clerk of projected 2025 valuations on which the budget and related mill levy will be based upon.

The Council approved a bid from Screed Tech, LLC for the airport hangar project, which Rice County Commissioners approved last week. The approval is subject to concurrence from the FAA on the just over $1.3 million low bid for the mostly grant funded project. There is a ten percent local match for it, with the city responsible for one fourth of it per a long-standing agreement with the county.

The council approved payment of over $139,000 in outstanding natural gas invoices to the Kansas Municipal Gas Agency. Truelove said there had been a change in how an earlier invoice was paid, which was not changed back to the way it is usually paid, and as a result four invoices had not been paid to KMGA. Steps are being taken to remedy this issue in the future.

An issue that it was thought was going to require council action ended up not needing to be done. In April, the city approved purchase of cold mix asphalt from APAC Kansas, and the load ended up being slightly more than what the city ordered. The additional cost involved was not much, $84 to be exact, and the original intent was to re-approve the purchase with the added amount. However, Truelove said APAC officials have informed him the city is only responsible for payment of what it had ordered.

The Council approved the reappointment of Fred Long as Council President. Long had stepped aside from that position temporarily earlier this year due to family health issues, which have been resolved. During the interim period Doug Higgins served as interim president of the Council, the person who presides over meetings in the absence of the mayor.

The Council approved the appointment of Scott Pulley as a volunteer fireman, and of Tina Johnson to fill the one remaining vacancy on the Library Board.