City of Belle Plaine, Kansas

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FAQ on Belle Plaine Water

How did the City of Belle Plaine find out that the nitrate levels in one well were too high?

The state of Kansas requires testing annually and the water from all three wells was tested on January 16, 2019. On Feb. 4, 2019, the City of Belle Plaine was notified by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that Well 3 tested at 11 mg per liter of water in nitrates. Flyers warning of the high levels of nitrates were printed and mailed to all residents of the 67013 zip code for delivery on Feb. 6, 2019.

Was this test accurate?

KDHE sent a second water sampling kit to the City of Belle Plaine for testing on Feb. 11. Results of that showed the nitrate level remained at 11 mg/L. Due to that test result, the warning remains in effect and the City will be required to test quarterly for nitrates.

What is the danger from nitrates?

Test results above 10 mg per liter are considered a serious health concern for infants less than 6 months old. Infants below the age of 6 months who drink water (or formula made from the water) containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Blue baby syndrome is indicated by blueness of the skin. Symptoms in infants can develop rapidly, with health deteriorating over a period of days. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately. However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you may wish to consult your doctor.

Adults and children older than 6 months can drink the tap water. Nitrate is a concern for infants because they cannot process nitrates in the same way adults can. However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you may wish to consult your doctor.

Should I boil the water?

DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. Boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. Excessive boiling can make the nitrates more concentrated, because nitrates remain behind when the water evaporates.

How can the water be treated?

Drinking water can be treated for nitrate-nitrogen by distillation, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange water softeners. Home treatment equipment using these processes is available from several manufacturers.

Carbon filters do not remove nitrates.

How often is our water tested?

The wells are tested directly each year. Tap water is tested each day for chlorine levels. The water is tested monthly for bacterial issues.

If the re-sample of our well shows the nitrate level still above 10 mg/L, we will be required to test quarterly for nitrates. Levels can fluctuate within a year’s time.

What causes the nitrate problems?

Nitrates come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources, including septic systems and run-off. Due to fertilization practices, many communities in Kansas have similar problems.

If only one well is testing too high, why are we still using that well?

We continue to evaluate the problem and a consultant is being used to look at our operations. All three of our wells are within a mile of each other and the concern is that if we stop pumping water from this well, it will pull the contaminants into the other wells.

Water reaching the tap in Belle Plaine is a blend of the three wells. KDHE tests are not done on the blended mixture, as it cannot be guaranteed that a specific water blend reaches each residence.

Is there a long-term plan to solve this problem?

A long-term solution would likely involve looking at our operations and working with local farmers to plant crops with heavier root growth to help filter the nitrates and to make them more aware of the impact of their practices. Residential education on lawn fertilization efforts would also be part of a well-head protection plan.

The City is currently working with a consultant on immediate options, such as showing down the pumping speed and moving the intake for the water to different levels of the aquifer.

A worst case scenario could involve expensive reverse osmosis treatment of the water


Water and trash rates

increased in December

Water and trash rates for Belle Plaine utility customers increased on Dec. 15, 2018. The increase will first be implemented with the bills on Jan. 31, 2019.

Water rates increased by approximately 1.5 percent. The increase reflects a new policy developed in 2017 so customers have small incremental increases each year instead of larger ones after several years.

“The increase is necessary to maintain and upkeep all services the City supplies,” said Mayor Rob Narron. “Our costs to produce the services increase each year, but we strive to keep those increases as minimal as possible.”

The new rates raise the base 25 cents in price, from $17.75 per month to $18.00 per month for residents inside the city limits. Those who live outside the city limits will see an increase of 30 cents in the base price, from $19.00 to $19.30 per month.

Base prices on the water include the first 2,000 gallons of water used. In-town customers will pay $3.08 per 1,000 gallons after the base. Out-of-town customers will pay $4.09 per 1,000 gallons after the base. Previously in-town paid $3.03 per 1,000 after the base and out-of-town customers paid $4.03 per 1,000 gallons after the base.

Residential trash rates will increase approximately 4 percent, reflecting a 2 percent increase the city absorbed two years ago and a 2 percent increase being implemented by the trash contractor, Waste Connections, in 2019. Both increases were built into the original contract with Waste Connections.

“The increase for trash was necessary to keep that utility from falling behind,” Narron said. “Rates are closely aligned with the contract price for trash.”

The new trash rates can be found by clicking here.

There are ways to save money

on water and sewer bills

There are several ways to help cut the cost of water and sewer bills.

Sewer averages set during winter

Watch water usage closely in December, January, February and March. Sewer usage for the year is set by using the average of water usage during those months.

The new sewer average goes on bills in April and is in place for the rest of the year.

If you have a leak during the months in which the sewer average is set, save your receipts from the plumber or from the purchase of plumbing supplies. Take the receipts to City Hall to show that the leak is fixed and the final sewer average will be adjusted according to the timing of the leak.

Water-saving tips

Fix leaks. Watch your water bill each month. Leaks usually start small and gradually increase. If you have a question about your usage, call City Hall at 488-3433 and information on your usage history can be readily provided.

Change water faucets and toilets to low-flow usage. An efficient shower head can drop water usage by almost one-half. A low-flow toilet will also save water usage.

Use water sense rated dishwashers and washing machines. Only use the appliances when there is a full load to wash.

Place a half gallon milk jug filled with water in the tank of older toilets to save water when flushing.

Head to the car wash. The time limit on the wash encourages you to be more efficient and saves the usage at home.

Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or scrubbing hands.

Xeriscape yard landscaping and utilize a rain barrel to catch water. Know what your plants and/or grass need for optimum sustainability. Most people overwater their landscape.


Help is available for trash carts

Those who are physically unable to move their trash cart to the curb can have their carts picked up from a location at the front of the house.

If you are unable to move the large trash carts to the curb, due to physical limitations, contact City Hall at 488-3433. Waste Connections will pick up the cart in those cases from the front of the home.

The carts must be visible from the street and cannot be in the back yard for this service.


Eliminate the need to write one check a month


Pay your monthly bill


by bank draft on the 15th

Your Utility Bill can be paid by a bank draft on the 15th of each month – at no additional charge to you.
 
All you need to do is fill out a City of Belle Plaine Debit Authorization form and attach a voided check or deposit slip. The form can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this page or by clicking here.

You will receive a copy of your bill each month so you can be prepared for the withdrawal.


They’d be lost without you

Keep pets tagged under City Code

All cats and dogs in Belle Plaine must be licensed and tagged under City Code. Licensing helps ensure public (and animal) health by requiring up-to-date rabies vaccinations. More importantly, if they are found running loose, Belle Plaine police have a better chance of finding the owner quickly.

Licensing is easy – bring the vaccination certificate from your veterinarian to City Hall and pay $10 (only $5 if they are spayed or neutered) for the tag.

City Code states that pets not tagged by March 1 will pay double fees. That will be enforced in 2019.


Annual water quality newsletter
released for customers

The annual Consumer Confidence Report has been released by the City of Belle Plaine.

This newsletter is for Calendar Year 2017 and includes testing results for the City water. The newsletters have been mailed to every resident with a Belle Plaine mailing address and a copy can be found at the bottom of this page or by clicking here.

Included with the Consumer Confidence Report is a newsletter from the City. It features information on changes in the law, several dates and events to remember, information on changes to trash rates for out-of-town customers, and other items of interest to local residents.

New storm siren will provide
improved coverage

The City of Belle Plaine has purchased a new storm siren, bringing a critical update to safety during storm season.

The new siren has been installed at 5th and Washington, in an area which allows better sound coverage for all areas of the community. The new siren is also more efficient in operations and dependability.

Sirens will be tested over the coming weeks, as the new equipment is installed and the old sirens evaluated for backup use. Routine testing will be done on the first Monday of each month at 11 a.m., beginning May 2.


Community storm shelter 
is at new Middle School gym

   The new Middle School gym at 8th and Merchant will serve as the community storm shelter during severe weather. Enter at the entrance facing 8th Street.

Belle Plaine Police will no longer be opening the local churches which formerly served as shelters. The gymnasium is designed to withstand an F5 tornado and meets FEMA standards for such buildings.

Pets can be taken to the shelter, but they must be crated or caged.

  


Railroad Quiet Zone info

Belle Plaine has been determined to be compliant on all requirements for the designation of a Quiet Zone, according to Michael MacKay, the city’s volunteer consultant for Quiet Zone work.

MacKay reported on the Quiet Zone at the July 5 City Council meeting. At that time, he said the railroad has offered $40,000 for the closure of the 10th Avenue/Line Street crossing. MacKay noted the disappointment in that offer, since a significantly higher amount was mentioned by a previous BNSF employee in meetings with local representatives.

The City Council voted to have MacKay continue to negotiate with BNSF to gain increased payment for the closure of the crossing.

MacKay also told the Council that Federal Highway Administration Section 130 Matching Funds are available if the incentive payment is provided by the railroad. MacKay’s July 5 report to the council can be found by clicking here.

The timeline history of the project can be read here.

The presentation slides from the Council meeting on Nov. 2, 2017 can be seen by clicking here. That presentation includes information about the local effort to implement a Quiet Zone.

For information from the Federal Railroad Administration on Quiet Zones, click here.



City offices to observe holidays in 2019

The Holiday Schedule for 2019 for the City of Belle Plaine is:

New Year’s Day – Tuesday, January 1

President’s Day – Monday, February 18            

Memorial Day – Monday, May 27

Independence Day – Thursday, July 4

Labor Day – Monday, September 2

Veteran’s Day – Monday, November 11

Thanksgiving Day and Friday after – November 28 and 29

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day – Tuesday, December 24 & Wednesday, December 25.


All City offices will be closed on these days.



Report street light outages

   Is a street light out in your neighborhood in Belle Plaine?
   Gather the number of the pole (It starts with either A or B and has 5 digits and is about 9 feet up on the pole), and the approximate address of the pole. It can be reported to City Hall at 488-3433 or online at www.westarenergy.com/report-a-street-light-out.



 







 

Contact Us

PHONE

          (620)488-3433

FAX

(620)488-3390
 
Address
401 N Merchant
PO Box 157
Belle Plaine, KS  67013
 
Email
cityofbp@bpks.org
 


City Building Hours
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday
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