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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Lack of water could hinder airport development

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  • What do you do when your public water supply is contaminated and there isn't a sufficient supply to economic development users at Pratt Regional Airport? Pratt Airport Authority Board members Bob Blasi, Rex Johnston and Ivan Kovach discussed just such a problem with Pratt City Manager Dave Howard, during an airport board meeting Thursday evening.
    The discussion centered on Wells # 1 and #2 located at the airport. Well #2, which has water rights to 11 acre feet of water is contaminated and Well #1 will become so in the near future, according to Howard.
    "Well #2 was shut down several years ago," said Howard. "The state inspector told us the well needs to be capped eventually, taken apart and disconnected from the public water supply."
    However, the water could be used to fill fire trucks as long as it was not interconnected to the public water supply, according to Howard.
    "The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the well is contaminated but is recommending more testing," said Howard. "We looked at drilling a new well, which would combine the water rights of Well #1 (nine acre feet) and Well #2 (11 acre feet) but that would have cost us nearly $500,000."
    Howard said, even if the city was allowed to combine the water rights of the two wells, nitrates would probably show up as contamination in the new system. There was a little over-pumping of the water rights this year (perhaps three acre feet) and continued pumping would only draw the nitrates towards the well being used.
    "We can't use over half of our water rights up there," said Howard. "That is actually inhibiting economic development in the area. Eventually, we may have to restrict water usage in the industrial park. Stallion is our biggest user up there and they are going to have to go the city's system for water."
    The contamination at the industrial park may be related to cleaning of the Norden Bomb Sights, similar to what happened in Salina, according to Pratt Regional Airport Manager Reid Bell. The sights were cleaned after every usage with carbon tetrachloride and that cleaner was dumped on the ground.
    The OneOK remodeling job amortization was paid off recently, but they have requested carpet replacement. Bell said they have been told the carpeting would have to be paid for by them, but the airport authority will replace a 25 x 30 foot concrete pad in front of their building.
    Although there was a quorum present at the meeting (Steve Maechtlen and Keith Sexton were absent) the proposed 2013 budget was tabled until all members had a chance to review it.
    The proposed $484,299.54 budget was less than the 2012 budget ($708,571.09), which contained $287,039.10 in unbudgeted funds. Prior budgets for 2011 ($442,605.62) and 2010 ($416,169.69) were significantly lower than the 2012 budget request.
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