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City keeping an eye on sewers, water treatment
New systems could help prevent water service interruptions
water treatment plan
The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved purchasing a system for the Water Treatment Plant that will allow staff to better monitor contaminates and meet state health guidelines. - photo by Tribune file photo

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Approved the purchase of a new sewer line camera for $77,825 from Mayer Specialty Systems of Goddard. 

• Approved the purchase of a water treatment plant supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system from Hammeke Electric of Great Bend for $148,272.30.

• Approved a contract with P&N Flight and Charter of Marion, Iowa, to be the fixed-base operator at the Great Bend Municipal Airport. 

This follows a prolonged search and subsequent negotiation for a FBO to replace Centerline Aviation, whose contract had expired, airport Manager Martin Miller said. The proposed agreement has the endorsement of the Airport Advisory Committee. 

The company will pay the city 7-cent-per-gallon fuel flowage fee as well as $800 per month rent. They will also pay for all utilities, and for maintenance of the buildings and fuel service system.

This provides for a five-year contract renewable in August 2025.

• Approved a contract with DMA Architects for the construction administration($10,000) and to ratifying the agreements for design services and bidding assistance ($35,000) related to the remodeling of the Great Bend Events Center office complex area.

In April, the city council approved the project. Prior to that time, the city had engaged DMA Architects to provide construction drawings and specifications as, well as assistance with the bidding process. However, those agreements were never ratified, City Administrator Kendal Francis said. Then on awarding of the bid, we needed to enter into an agreement for construction administration, but did not execute that agreement.

“We just recently realized the oversight,” he said.

• Adopted standard specifications and details for paving, drainage, waterline and sanitary sewer improvements, as well as standard details for construction of public infrastructure. City staff has developed the standard specifications. Josh Golka, the city’s on-call engineer with Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, spoke on the standards.

In 2019, PEC began preparing the standards. The primary benefit through this process is consistency with civil infrastructure projects throughout the city.

These will help the city with dispute resolution and warranty questions, he said.

“This is a living document,” Golka said. This sets a baseline, but individual projects may be consider on an individual basis.

• Adopted an ordinance regarding illegal dumping at the compost site.

The Department of Public Works has been experiencing growing problems with the dumping of trash, tires, construction debris and other items at the city operated compost site. Assistant Public Works Director Jason Cauley reports the expenses the city is experiencing are getting larger. 

Additional signage will be placed at the site and the department plans on the installation of more cameras monitoring the activities. This issue has been discussed with the Police Department and violators will be cited and prosecuted. 

This ordinance imposes specific penalties for persons dumping items other than trees, tree limbs and yard waste, said City Attorney Robert Suelter.

• Discussed a draft food truck ordinance. 

The governing body has requested that an ordinance be prepared for the licensing of food trucks operating in the city. City Attorney Bob Suelter prepared the draft for review.

•  Held a discussion of property maintenance enforcement.

At the June 15 work session, the City Council addressed concerns regarding the current processes involved with property maintenance enforcement. They requested changes to the current ordinances regarding notifications and penalties involved, City Administrator Kendal Francis said.

The changes would streamline the notification process, increase fees and stiffen other penalties. A draft document will be presented to the council at its next meeting July 20.

• Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Kendal Francis. He focused on the city’s response to COVID-19, and the importance of filling out Census forms in terms of funding for the city and county.

• Heard an economic development report from Great Bend Economic Development Inc. Board member Barry Bowers.

• Approved tree trimmers licences for Arensman Tree Service (Ben Arensman) out of Kinsley and Gray Tree Trimming (Aaron Gray) out of Russell.

• Authorized the closure of Lakin Avenue from noon to midnight on July 26 for the 2020 Relay for Life of Barton County.

• Heard a report on the Great Bend Oxford Houses. 

Oxford House is a concept in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. In its simplest form, an Oxford House describes a democratically run, self-supporting and drug-free home. There are four houses in Great Bend, three for men and one for women. Several or the house residents gave testimonials.

The first house for men opened in Feb. 2016, said Barb Esfeld, who helped establish the Oxford houses because of addiction issues in her family. Central Kansas Community Corrections Director Amy Boxberger addressed the community need for the recovery program.

• Approved the purchase of a pickup truck for use by the Public Lands Department at city parks. 

Through the capital improvement plan, the city has budgeted for replacement of older equipment. Public Lands Director Scott Keeler said they are trading in a 1999 Dodge Dakota with 172,000 miles for a 2020 Ford F-250 4x4 from Marmie Ford at a cost of $28,702. With the trade-in value of $500, total cost is $28,202.

Marmie Ford had the low bid. 

How the city handles and treats waste water may not sound all that exciting, but they are big deals, Great Bend Assistant Public Works Director Jason Cauley told the City Council Monday night as it took action on related matters.

First, the council approved the purchase of a new sewer line camera.

“The current system the city owns is unreliable due to a software issue,” Cauley said. And, “it does not record video and as such we are not able to document areas of concern.” 

The city received two bids, one from Key Equipment of Bridgeton, Mo., which is Envirosight system, and one from Mayer Specialty Systems of Goddard, which is an Aries system. 

The Key Equipment bid comes in at $92,683 with all the attachments that would be required for our lines, and includes a $10,000 trade in for the existing camera system. The Mayer bid comes in at the $77,825 and that includes the attachments that is necessary to do the job, but there would be no trade. 

The council OKed the Mayer bid.

Next, the council gave the green light to purchase a water treatment plant supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

In 2016 KDHE implemented more stringent criteria for nutrient removal from city water, Cauley said. “The city must now must be able to remove ammonia, nitrate, and phosphorus at levels that we have not been able to before. 

“To achieve this criterion, we must do a delicate dance of adding oxygen through aeration with the mixer, then turning down the mixer to reduce oxygen to cause the proper chemical conversions to reduce these nutrients,” he said. “This is extremely difficult to do manually.” 

Cauley said KDHE has been working with the city through an independent contractor at no charge, to help meet that criteria and help with the process to convert these nutrients for removal.

“We have been trying with little to no success to meet these needs by manually switching on the mixer,” he said. “However, the consultant has recommended automating the system with SCADA to achieve complete success.” 

The SCADA system is also more than just for nutrient removal. SCADA monitors and records real-time operational data on all plant equipment and system hardware, thus providing operators with ability to be notified if a system fails. “This is paramount to the longevity of the equipment and address the needs to prevent a catastrophic event,” Cauley said.

It also allows for remote monitoring, something that would have been helpful when the city lost water service during the storm a few weeks back, he said.

All in all, the SCADA system will help us bring the plant into regulatory compliance and help with running the plant efficiently. “It also helps reduce cost by allowing us to see when a system is not working correctly to take corrective action preventing a minor problem turning in to something larger,” he said.

The system he recommended has unlimited expansion capabilities, which will allow the city to eventually provide controls for the water wells and lift stations. 

Hammeke Electric provided the city with the lowest base bid at $137,522.30. “However, they also provided a bid that, though is more, we feel would be of most benefit,” Cauley said. 

The higher bid for $148,272.30 allows for a more robust remote access system which includes mobile integration, he said. Additionally, it provides system access to more end users without additional costs. Finally, the programming logic code for the wells and lift stations can be written into the system now, at no additional cost.  

“It would be to our benefit to have Hammeke Electric provide this service for us due to the familiarity of our systems, the ability to have quick response times in emergencies, and the relationships that have been already established,” he said.

The higher bid was approved.

Hammeke Electric representatives said this is a state-of-the-art system that can serve the city for possibly the next 20 years or more.

tree burning pic
Because of abuses of the compost site, the Great Bend City Council Monday night approved an ordinance more strictly enforcing the rules.