September Newsline: PA invests in water; US-Mexico sewage scuffle; heavy equipment theme park opens

September 2010 Vol. 65 No. 9

New work to resume on Witchita water project
As reported in the Witchita Business Journal, work on the city of Wichita’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery project is ramping back up after construction was halted in March with the discovery of a financial shortfall in the city’s water department.
The Wichita City Council in June entered into an agreement with Westar Energy Inc. for a $5.8 million job to provide the second phase of the ASR project the power supply it needs.

The ASR project is designed to take water from the Little Arkansas River, treat it and pump it into the Equus Bed aquifer. It’s a four-phase project expected to provide the city with an adequate water supply through 2050. Construction on the ASR is in its second phase, which includes building the treatment plant and pipelines that will ultimately collect the water for storage as drinking water for the city.
Tom Jacobs, senior program manager for the project at R.W. Beck, the Seattle-based consulting firm that’s helped manage the project since 2007, says the next project to come out will be for some of the pipeline work. That, along with Westar getting power to the treatment station, is crucial to meeting the goal of finishing Phase II by the spring of 2012.

Richard Good, director of distribution and substations for Westar, says the company will be building two substations and four miles of new transmission lines to the treatment station near Bentley, KS.

And, he says, local contractors could see some work because of the project.
Westar plans to have the work done by March 2011. Jacobs hoped to have the substations running by the end of 2010.

However, like most of the work on the ASR project, things slowed this year as the city wrestled with the financial problems in the water department.

The city council in June approved an option that would increase rates to build the $275 million second phase to its originally planned capacity of 30 million gallons of water a day.

John Mitchell, a project manager with the company that is overseeing construction on Phase II, ABC Partners, says his group worked closely with the city during its review process and that the delay won’t hold up the final result.

ABC Partners is a joint project between CAS Construction LLC in Topeka, Burns & McDonnell Inc. in Kansas City, KS, and Alberici Enterprises in St. Louis, MO.