Cities Who Care

Garden City

Under the direction of Fred Jones, Garden City’s Water Systems Resource Manager, the city has taken great steps to address water issues head on. Fred is no stranger to water projects, having previously served as the city administrator for the City of Lakin, where he oversaw the financing, permitting, development and construction of Lakin’s reverse osmosis water treatment plant. His expertise has assisted in many exciting projects in Garden City.

The City of Garden City recognizes water as its most important natural resource. Therefore, the City Commission has made it a goal to address water regionally in a manner that preserves both quality and quantity. To achieve this goal, the city is present and active in regional and statewide water policy discussions. In addition, Garden City is working to develop reuse strategies as well as residential water use reduction strategies. The goal of these efforts is to preserve water for purposes that provide opportunities for growth and prosperity for residents while making Garden City a better place to live, work and play.

City of Hays

The City of Hays has successfully implemented a variety of water conservation practices and policies. Hays began examining its water usage and chose to invest in conservation programs. More than $275,000 was spent incentivizing the purchase of low-flow toilets and over 7,000 shower heads were given away to water customers. The city also spent in excess of $140,000 to incentivize the purchase of high-efficiency washing machines. Significant investments were made in effluent water reuse as well. The results of these efforts and investments were striking.

Hays now uses less water than they did in the 1970s. In 2013, Hays used 2,200 acre-feet of water, down from a peak of 3,600 acre-feet in 1983. In early 2014, the Hays City Commission adopted the Green Building Code which mandates the use of water-efficient fixtures and best practices for all new construction as well as significant remodels. The Green Building Code also requires smart irrigation controllers and efficiently designed landscape systems upon installation. Hays and Ellis County is one of the only significant population centers in Kansas that has inadequate local water supply. They know they must keep an eye to the future to ensure adequate water is available.

NCRA and The City of McPherson

For the past several years, National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA), now CHS, and the City of McPherson have been studying their local water challenges. In order to provide a sustainable water source for its refinery, NCRA first reviewed alternate sources of water. An agreement was reached with McPherson to provide approximately 700 gallons per minute of reclaimed wastewater to NCRA. Infrastructure for the collection and transport of the water to the refinery had to be constructed. To address the quality demands of the produced water, NCRA designed a treatment process to meet these stringent requirements.

The water treatment facility consists of microfiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis technology. The process was designed to be efficient and includes a “backwash” reuse system that reuses water within the newly designed water treatment facility. Once completed, NCRA/CHS is expected to reduce water usage from the aquifer by about 1,400 gallons per minute or about two million gallons per day. McPherson and NCRA/CHS believe the new plant and water sources provide a long-term source of reliable water while being a good steward to the environment.

City of Wichita

The City of Wichita has developed and implemented a program to reduce the effects of pollutant discharge in storm water within areas in the municipality which are developed or redeveloped. Wichita storm water management staff recognized their program could be improved to provide better overall control of pollutants discharged to surface waters.

The Storm Water Advisory Board (SWAB) and Wichita storm water staff recognized implementation of BMPs in a rural watershed can, in many cases, cost less and provide greater pollutant control than implementation of BMPs within the limited confines of an area of development or redevelopment within the municipality. This advisory board was invaluable in developing a workable program to allow implementation of the Offsite BMP Program. The foresight of the Wichita governing body and city staff to establish a SWAB and the combined decision to pursue development of an Offsite BMP Program has been very beneficial. Implementation of this program has provided a valuable asset to Wichita in efforts to simplify compliance with the MS4 NPDES permit. There are potentially great benefits to be derived from this program and it is a win-win-win alternative for the city, developers and surface-water quality.

Partnership: Fort Riley

In April of 2011, Fort Riley received the honor of being selected by the Army as one of eight Net Zero Water Pilot installations. The Net Zero Pilot installations serve as test beds for the Army to identify lessons learned and best practices to reduce water consumption that can be implemented across all Army installations. Fort Riley, in partnership with faculty and research students from Kansas State University, has been developing innovative projects with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) to reduce water consumption.

One project will use a membrane bio-reactor to “mine” sewer water and treat it for reuse at the Installation Vehicle Wash Facility. While the reuse project may not represent a significant quantity of water compared to the total amount of water consumed at Fort Riley, the project may open other opportunities for reuse at the Fort and may serve as a template for portable facilities for treated reuse in deployment zones such as Afghanistan.

Additional Net Zero activities employed at Fort Riley include installation of low-flow showerheads, toilets and water faucets as well as conversion from traditional turf grasses to drought-resistant Zoysia varieties on the Fort’s golf course fairways. The Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the largest employers in Kansas. A solid state and federal partnership is essential to ensure Fort Riley and the other Kansas DoD installations have the long-term water supply necessary to be successful here.



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