The Riley County Commission on Monday unanimously approved a scaled-down agreement with a consultant for the University Park Wastewater plan.

The county will pay SMH Consultants $57,160 using the University Park Benefit District Capital Fund. Homeowners in that area contribute to that fund.

University Park is a development on the west side of Tuttle Creek Lake in an unincorporated part of Riley County. The county oversees the sewer district.

Riley County Public Works Director John Ellermann said the consultant will look at the equipment and processes to ensure the system is operated properly. A previous proposal would have involved inspecting the treatment facility.

The county wants to skip the evaluation of the building to save time and money and begin looking at putting in a replacement of either a new building or a lagoon system.

Previously, the commission tabled approving an agreement with SMH Consultants for up to $155,672 to evaluate data, make site visits, and develop a compliance plan for the University Park wastewater system. Commissioners said they wanted to find a source for funding the contract.

The county is in agreement with an order from the Environmental Protection Agency that sets a compliance timeline for the University Park Sewer Benefit District.

The district, which treats domestic wastewater from district residents and landowners that is discharged into Tuttle Creek Lake, isn’t meeting various regulations, according to the EPA.

The EPA said in its order that the pH limits of the discharged sewage multiple times from December 2015 to August 2021 was below the minimum level of 6.0, which means it’s more acidic than allowed.

The order didn’t say how far below the pH level was, and Ellermann said he didn’t know.

County officials said the chemical levels used in the treatment of the sewage are insufficient by EPA standards for the proper pH balance and the building is old. Ellermann said there isn’t any raw sewage being dumped in the lake.

Hiring an engineering consultant is a part of the requirements to bring the system into compliance by 2025.

Other business

  • Riley County commissioners also unanimously approved a new type of wastewater system for use. Meeting documents say that all new alternative private wastewater disposal systems have to be approved by the commission prior to use.

The system is a Presby Enviro-septic wastewater system.

Riley County Planning Director Amanda Webb said they worked with Presby Environmental Inc. of New Hampshire on the manual for installation to meet Kansas Department of Health and Environment regulations and Riley County sanitary code standards.

  • Allana Saenger, director of the Riley County Historical Museum, said the museum received donations.

Dawn Munger, Curator of Collections, said Rachelle Routh, the great-great-great granddaughter of Henry and Elenora Strong, donated a wooden trunk that was used for their travels on Route 66 as well as cookware and cooking utensils.

The Strong family settled in Riley County in 1858 and was involved in the Underground Railroad.

Munger and Saenger also said Harry and Amy Wareham shipped a bed frame that belonged to Samuel Wareham, father of Harry Pratt Wareham, who owned the Wareham hotel. A needlepoint fire screen also was donated.

USD 384 donated a collection of school records from the 1880s to the 1960s.