GIRARD — The City of Girard continued to discuss solutions for sewer problems at the city’s industrial park lift station at its regular council meeting Monday.
According to City Administrator Chris Weiner, the life of the lift station has been significantly reduced because of debris from the Crawford County Jail coming into the sewer. Clothing, trash and other items flushed from the jail by inmates bind the motors of the lift station pumps, causing extra wear and tear.
Weiner attended the Crawford County Commission meeting last Friday to discuss possible cost sharing options. Monday, he presented the Girard City Council with a proposition from the county, in which the county would pay for a bar screen to be installed by the city to catch debris. Under the proposal, the city would maintain the bar screen and pay back half of the cost by cutting the county’s sewer fees.
First Ward Councilman Sheldon DeLange was not in favor of the county’s proposal.
“I’m kind of from the old school,” DeLange said. “If somebody breaks something, they are asked to fix it.”
However, City Attorney Richard Loffswold said the city has legal issues to worry about. If the lift station fails, sewage will overflow into the ditches, and the city could be fined by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
“If that lift station goes down, inmates will have to be moved, people will be unhappy and it will be a health hazard,” Loffswold said. “It is the city’s sewer, and the city is required by law to fix it.
“The problem needs to be fixed before it fails and you can discuss who pays for what after.”
DeLange agreed, and Fourth Ward Councilman Michael West said he wants to keep a good relationship with the county, but Girard must protect its investment.
A replacement lift station will cost over $80,000, but Weiner said replacing it is useless without a bar screen put in place to keep debris from reaching the station. Because the life of the station has been shortened, the city has not budgeted for replacing it, but will use capital outlay funds to purchase a replacement. The replacement will take six to eight weeks to arrive.
County Commissioner Jeff Murphy attended the council meeting and requested that the city council meet face-to-face with county commissioners to work out the problem. The city council agreed.
Tuesday morning, Weiner attended the regular commission meeting and a special meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Girard City Hall to resolve the issue.
After an executive session, the council voted 4-0 to renew Weiner’s contract for three years.
— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.