Lawrence must pay to truck 10 million gallons of nitrogen-contaminated water from Farmland site

Even with the pumping system for collecting nitrogen-contaminated water at the former Farmland fertilizer plant temporarily shut off, the city will still have 10 million gallons of excess water to get rid of.

Distributing that quantity of water — enough to fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools — is a major operation. Though city officials don’t have an estimate at this time for how much it will cost the city to transport and distribute the water via truck, it will likely be a significant amount.

“Obviously, we don’t think it’s a cheap operation,” said Director of Utilities Dave Wagner. “Ten million gallons and trucking is not going to be inexpensive, by at least my standards, but we’ll try to do it as effectively as we can and minimize it.” The city has been using a pipeline that runs from the site to the other side of the Kansas River to distribute millions of gallons of the nitrogen-contaminated water to farmers north of Lawrence, where it can be added to fields as fertilizer. However, water storage capacity at the site became a problem earlier this year after improvements to the pumping system yielded increased water collection at the same time that farmers were using less water from the pipe.

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