SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A $1.2 million federal project to upgrade a concrete installation in the Smoky Hill River will help ensure that a section of the river will flow into Salina’s water supply.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project is paid by federal tax dollars, The Salina Journal reported. The installation is essentially a concrete wall in the river that facilitates diverting water from the channel and takes it to the water treatment plant.
“That’s $1.2 million that the city didn’t have to come up with, and that river water supply is critical to Salina,” said Martha Tasker, Salina’s director of utilities.
About half Salina’s water is supplied by the river, and the remainder comes from wells.
High water in the Smoky Hill River in August 2013 caused erosion and a portion of the project structure to break away, said Mike Chirpich, Army Corps project manager in Kansas City. That reduced the amount of water that could be diverted at the city’s water intake, he said.
City utilities workers documented the structure’s decay over the years.
“The real fear is the water continuing to cut away at the bank, or a flood would rip the wall out of there and we wouldn’t be able to pull water into the city,” Tasker said.
Work began in May and should be finished next month. Chirpich said the new scour wall is thicker and deeper than the original and will have a 50-year design life.
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