Putting plans on hold for Wichita's water treatment plant won't delay project, city says

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) For now, plans for Wichita's new water-treatment plant are on hold.

This comes with the city's approval for Wichita Water Partners to turn in its final cost estimate for the project at the end of October. Until then, the city won't know final costs for the project, estimated to be about $524 million total.

Those working on the project say putting plans on hold temporarily won't delay the project.

Wichita Water Partners is contracted to do 30 percent of the design of the new water treatment plant. Its final-cost estimate for the design was due Oct. 4, but Wichita Water Partners requested an extension, which the city approved.

"Oct. 4, we needed a number. We recognized there were still saving opportunities, so we did discuss with the city the opportunity to extend that date by about three weeks," says Wichita Water Partners Project Executive Ron Coker.

The extension waives any penalty for Wichita Water Partners. The group now has until Oct. 28 to submit its final project costs. Wichita Public Works Director Alan King says the change has nothing to do with
The Wichita Eagle's accusations against Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell that he influenced awarding the contract to a group that includes some of his friends.

King says the extension is all about saving taxpayer dollars.

He says the extension does not affect the city's application for a federal loan and the city will meet its Oct. 30 deadline to apply for that loan.

A public meeting at 1 p.m. Friday on the 10th floor of City Hall gives people a chance to have questions about the water-treatment-plant project answered.