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Plating Inc. spill update postponed
EPA plans to visit council Nov. 6
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Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

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

• Learned that a report on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund cleanup effort at the former Plating Inc. location near the Great Bend Municipal Airport scheduled for Tuesday night would be delayed until the Nov. 6 council meeting.

• Approved a temporary premise extension for Dry Lake Brewery to hold its annual Halloween celebration. 

Dry Lake Brewery requested the extension on Oct. 29 to host a Halloween party. The event will include food trucks and Pumpkin Smash fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The consumption of alcohol is planned in the proposed space. 

The brewery is working with the State Alcoholic Beverage Control to obtain proper permits for this activity. In order to allow consumption of alcohol on public property, the ordinance had to  be passed to exempt the public property from state statute, City Attorney Allen Glendenning said.

• Approved a three-year contract for Justice Center custodial services with Clean-Smart for $36,000 per year.

During budget discussion, the city budgeted for a full-time custodian salary plus benefits at $65,000. During discussion, the also wanted to look at contracting out to ensure they do due diligence in cost comparison. The city has advertised for this service and quotes/bids were due by Sept. 28, City Administrator Brandon Anderson said.

This was less expensive than hiring someone, so city officials thought it would be a good way to go.

• Heard a report from City Administrator Brandon Anderson. He called on Police Chief Steve Haulmark (who offered an update on the Justice Center). Fire Chief Brent Smith (who discussed Fire Prevention Week next week) and Assistant City Administrator Logan Burns (who offered an update on the Property Maintenance Department, formerly Code Enforcement).

• Heard a report from Great Bend Economic Development President Sara Arnberger. She focused on the Ignite Rural Business Challenge planned for Thursday night.

• Approved abatements for a garbage and refuse violation at 2606 21st.

• Approved a door-to-door license for Daniel Adams of Adams Tree Service, Larned. 

The Great Bend City Council Monday night learned a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 on the Superfund remediation efforts at the former Plating Inc. in Great Bend’s Industrial Park west of town was being postponed. Originally planned for Monday night, it has been moved to the Nov. 6 council meeting, City Administrator Brandon Anderson said.

Clint Sperry, site remedial project manager, with the EPA was going to lead the presentation involving the ongoing EPA cleanup, or remediation, project near the Great Bend Municipal Airport involving the former Plating Inc. location. The issue dates back 35 years. 

With roots in 1988, this is a former chromium and zinc plating facility at 8801 W. 8801 West Sixth St.  Chemicals, including hexavalent chromium, from the now-defunct business have contaminated the surrounding groundwater and are the subject of an ongoing cleanup effort.

Working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, an EPA-approved cleanup plan is expected to be implemented this fall. Anderson said EPA officials were in town Monday taking soil samples. 

Over the next several months, EPA will be conducting cleanup work under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund, said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. In April 2023, Plating Inc. was one of three Superfund sites in Kansas on the National Priorities List (NPL) to receive funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to begin or expedite cleanup projects.

The Plating Inc. Superfund Site dates back to 1988 and sits within the airport industrial area in Barton County, 1½ miles west of Great Bend. An inspection from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment determined that 6,400 gallons of chromic acid was on-site in 2007, along with other acids and hydroxides. 

The secondary containment was inadequate and chromic acid was found to have discharged into the soil, the EPA reported. A two-mile-long groundwater plume of hexavalent chromium has impacted domestic water wells and is moving toward Great Bend’s public water supply wells.

EPA has selected remedial designs for addressing the soil and groundwater contamination.