Some of Pittsburg’s stimulus projects will end quickly. Others will take a lot longer.



Pittsburg City Commissioners heard an update on those projects Tuesday night from John Bailey, Pittsburg director of public utilities.

Some of Pittsburg’s stimulus projects will end quickly. Others will take a lot longer.

Pittsburg City Commissioners heard an update on those projects Tuesday night from John Bailey, Pittsburg director of public utilities.

Bailey told commissioners that 90 percent of the planning on the Water Treatment Plant had been completed, and estimated that a final review would be conducted around June 10. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment gave the city a $1.74 million grant toward the plant’s renovation — about 20 percent of the facility’s estimated $8.7 million cost.

Bailey said bids on that project should be sent out around August 20. Construction time is scheduled to start around October, with an expected 15-18 month construction deadline.

“(The plant) is moving quite well and into the future,” Bailey said.

One way the plant could be moving into the future would be to add a generator that would allow the city to furnish the electricity to power the city’s plants and wells for a short period of time. That period of time, a cut-off of service from Westar, would allow the city to quickly earn the diesel-powered generator’s pay, Bailey said.

The project was originally set to be funded through the state’s revolving loan funding, with the loan paid back through increases in Pittsburg water rates. But with the city receiving one-fifth of that money through grants, the city won’t have to increase its rates as high.

When it's finished, the project would include some energy-saving features including the utilization of geothermal wells to assist in heating and cooling. Bailey said those wells would pay themselves off within seven to 10 years, and are expected to last 100 years or more. But the main goal is to modernize the 30-year-old plant by incorporating new treatment components while maximizing its potential capacity to about five million gallons per day, about 1.4 million gallons more than it currently holds.

The Water Treatment Plant wasn’t the only stimulus project to receive an update on Tuesday night — Bailey also reviewed the Southeast Pump Station. He said the city received the plans and specifications for the station earlier on Tuesday, and were faced with a quick turnaround — the plans need to be sent back on Thursday. The city also has to file environmental review letters and conduct other small studies for the project.

The project was funded due to its “green” nature, meaning it would result in the forgiveness of 50 percent of the project’s cost, including engineering, through the use of stimulus funding.

Bailey also updated commissioners on the Mall Lift Station, a project that did not receive federal stimulus funding. The final plans for that project were sent to KDHE on May 19.

“We should have a nice, working pump station by the mall at the end of this year,” Bailey said.

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134.