Cherokee County, Kansas is joining the Quapaw Tribe in plans to build a new waste water treatment system.
The Tribe owns the Downstream Casino and Resort in the corner where Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma meet and the water treatment plant is intended to help boost economic development in the area.
The new partnership aims to support future economic development for Southeast Kansas and the Quapaw Tribe. The two entities have come together to form the Shoal Creek Basin Region Waste Water Authority to change the way waste water is handled in the area.
"We're really enthused about it and the potential impact for the residents and the cities of Baxter Springs, Galena, Riverton, Lowell," says Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby. "It resolves some long standing infrastructure issues."
According to Cherokee County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand the new mechanical waste water treatment system will have a capacity to remove dissolved metals and industrial chemicals as well as provide better overall water treatment. By getting rid of current lagoon systems the commissioner is sure new business will follow.
"Lagoon system is antiquated, outdated, any time you look for growth, businesses wanting to relocate, one of the things they look for is do you have the mechanical or the lagoon, and when they see lagoon they kind of shy away from us," says Commissioner Hilderbrand.
It isn't just economic benefits that will result from this waste water plan. The Quapaw Tribe says that there are environmental issue at stake as well. They say the plan will help to clean up the Spring River.
In a news release, Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berrey says the plan will improve the Tribe's economic viability by ceasing to pollute the river, something their new southeastern Kansan partners agree with.
"Environmentally, mechanical treatment, they can put out water that is as good or better than the creek water that's going by, so I think it's just the environmental thing to do for the Spring River Water Basin, for Grand Lake," says Mayor Oglesby.
Mayor Oglesby did admit that mechanical treatment of water is more expensive, but that the benefits to the environment and economy will be well worth the cost.
The new waste water system is still in the planning stages at this point and Commissioner Hilderbrand says that a preliminary engineering report will yield details such as location, cost and materials within the next three to six months.