Wastewater facility in Hays getting an upgrade

HAYS, Kansas – Problems with the water in Hays have led to two violations from the state.

Back in April, the city had to pay an $18,000 fine for an ammonia problem.

Now they’re continuing testing after being cited for having too much coliform in the water.

It all means needing to repair or replace the 1950s wastewater treatment plant, last upgraded more than 20 years ago.

“It’s being studied but primarily if we stick with the old plant is going to be new basins and new tankage and it’s probably just as cheap to build a new one and we’re looking at both of those options,” said Roger Moerke, the Hays Wastewater Superintendent.

The cost for either option ends up being between twenty-five to twenty-eight million dollars.

With the new EPA regulations, most of this wastewater treatment facility will have to be upgraded including all of the primary clarifier basins, and by the time it’s all done almost eighty percent of it will be all new.

“We started about a year ago after we realized that we weren’t going to be able to make the permit just by internal changes, we started looking aggressively at the various plant designs,” said Paul Briseno, the Hays Assistant City Manager.

The cost will be passed on to residents with increases in wastewater rates, but they’re hoping the new plan for a wastewater plant will last them for a long time.

“What we’re going to seek to do is find the best plant available not only to meet standards in 2018-2019 but for the next forty to fifty years if at all possible,” Brisneo said.

The City of Hays will have more public meetings about the facility upgrade in the next year.

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