With Osage City’s lake almost dry, workaround provides water for golf course

Osage City’s golf course will continue to be watered, even though the course’s water supply is almost dried up due to work on Osage City Lake’s dam and a planned project to dredge the lake.

Last month, Lee Seastrom, a representative of Osage City Country Club, asked the council to develop a plan to supply water to the golf course during the time the lake is to be drained.

As explained by the city’s utilities director, Mike Gilliland, the country club holds water rights to pump from the lake to water the golf course, and utilizes a sump in the lake as part of the distribution system. Due to ongoing work on the lake’s dam and a planned project to dredge the lake, the water level has been drawn down, and the golf course’s sump no longer has enough water to provide a steady supply.

Gilliland reported to the Osage City Council last week that a workaround had been devised to provide water to the sump from a fresh water supply at the city’s water treatment facility near the dam.

He said the contractor working on the dam, Smoky Hill LLC, had provided a pump and equipment to pump from what is believed to be a natural flow that produces water from under the city’s water treatment plant. He later explained the water flow, which began when the city’s water treatment plant was constructed in the 1980s, had previously been piped to a nearby creek, but now was being pumped to the golf course’s sump.

A concern from golf course representatives was what would happen if the flow went dry before the lake was refilled, Gilliland told the council. Questioned by the council, Gilliland said the source of the flow was unknown, but it has run continuously since the plant was built.

“Back then in the 80s we thought maybe it was seepage coming out of the lake, but now I don’t know,” Gillilland said, noting the flow had not slowed even with the lake practically empty.

“You’d think it would slow down if that was the case, but it never slowed down,” he said.

As directed at the June meeting, Gilliland said he figured costs to rent or purchase a pump and water lines to connect to the city’s treated water supply.

He said the city’s water system in the area did not have the capacity to supply enough water to the golf course, which needs 250 gallons a minute, so a pump would be necessary to transfer treated water into the golf course’s sump.

Estimating the cost of pump rental and water, Gilliland said it could be as much as $2,600 per week. He said longer rental terms would lower the cost, but he estimated it would cost at least $16,000 to provide water for 16 weeks. He said the cost of purchasing a similar pump would be about $30,000.

Answering Osage City Mayor Quintin Robert, Gilliland said the supply from the water flow has been monitored daily and “so far, no changes.”

Gilliland said the temporary system is providing about 50,000 gallons a day, which will serve the needs of the golf course.

He said he had spoken with Smoky Hill’s representatives about whether the city could rent the company’s pump if it is still needed after the dam rehabilitation project is completed, and they were agreeable to such an arrangement if necessary.

In other business during the July 9 council meeting, the council voted to proceed with patching, milling and resurfacing Nichols Road, which serves the former KanBuild building. Council members discussed whether the road needed to be resurfaced now, or should it wait until a new business has moved into the building.

“If you put a business in there, we’ll fix the street,” Osage City Council Member Duane Peroo told Robert, who said the street needed to be repaired to recruit businesses.

“That street is a big deal,” Robert said.

“We’ve shown that building nine times this year,” he said, “and every time it’s been a topic. It’s just not ready for heavy trucks.”

Osage City Manager Linda Jones said the project had been budgeted for 2013, with $200,000 included in the capital improvement fund for Nichols Road.

It was noted the road also serves the city’s residents who live in the southeast portion of the city, and it has been in the city’s capital improvement plan since 2007 due to its deteriorated condition.

Osage City Council Member Leroy Stromgren said he thought the project should be completed.

“I think we ought to move forward so we can get started on Holliday (Street) next year,” Stromgren said.

After further discussion, the council agreed that the north 1,000 feet of the street, from state Highway 31 to the entrance of the vacant building, should be patched and overlain with concrete, while the remainder of the road would be patched and then overlain with a chip seal surface.

City staff estimated the project’s cost at $183,000.

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