The Sewer Department is responsible for the system of waste collection pipes, lift stations, and the sewer lagoon system. In addition to routine maintenance of the system, the department works to identify infiltration of storm water into the system. Infiltration from runoff leads to higher costs of treatment.
The city has operated a sewer lagoon system on West McKay St. since 1927 which was renovated in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. Lagoons operate very efficiently and at low cost. Due to low operational costs, the city has been able to keep sewer rates low for many years.
When the State of Kansas issued a new wastewater permit to the city in 2018, it included new requirements for the city to treat for phosphorus and nitrogen, both of which are impossible to treat in a lagoon system. Therefore, the city must construct a mechanical plant to properly treat our waste water to meet new requirements. The estimated cost of a wastewater treatment plant is $7,506,430.00, with an additional $310,000.00 per year in operational costs. A 20-year loan through the State of Kansas will cost the city around $430,000 per year. The city’s annual revenue from sewer sales is $478,000.00, far less than is needed to fund such a project, or even the operations. The city still has to fund continued improvements and expansion of our sewer system.
The City Council has been discussing this problem for several years, researching alternatives to treatment, and estimating the costs of various treatment processes. A plan for a Regional Treatment facility was studied extensively. The City Council ultimately chose to construct a mechanical plant in Frontenac which will help control future costs and allow the city to expand.
A project funding plan was presented to the City Council on January 4, 2021. The plan includes increasing the minimum sewer rate by $1.00 from $22.08 to $23.08 and increasing the rate per 100 gallons over the minimum by $0.10 from $0.38 to $0.48. These changes would raise approximately $54,000.00 per year. Increases are expected for at least three years as we evaluate the exact costs. An existing sales tax and reserve funds are also being used for the construction costs. The City Council will continue to evaluate the project and the need for additional rate increases if necessary.
Sewer Rates and Fees
Sewer service is charged based on average water usage for the months of November, December and January.
Residences and Businesses
$23.08 Minimum charge not in excess of 2,000 gallons
$0.48 Charge for each one hundred gallons per month above the minimum of 2,000 gallons
$1.00 Storm Water Fee
$200.00 for a standard sewer tap
$400.00 if it’s necessary to cut or excavate the street of alleyway