Valleywood Water Problems Started With City Sewer Line


By Jon A. Brake

What has happened to Colonial Gardens and Valleywood Subdivision is sinful. The City of Manhattan is both the problem and the solution.

On June 4th the Manhattan City Commission approved a resolution Annexing and Rezoning Colonial Gardens Manufactured Home Park. Colonial Gardens will be a part of the City of Manhattan after the second reading of the resolution on Tuesday June 18th.

On June 3rd the City started providing City water to Colonial Gardens and Valleywood Subdivision, a small development that had purchased water from Colonial Gardens.

On April 9th of this year the Kansas Department of Health & Environment notified Riley County that "A routine microbiological sample collected from 3215 Shady Valley on March 25, 2002 tested positive for total and fecal coliform bacteria." On April 3 tests were made at 3211 Shady Valley and 3216 Shady Valley both tested positive for total coliform bacteria.

As you can guess this is a health hazard. It can cause death. Riley County Public Works Department was responsible for the water district.

But what caused the problem? Fecal coliform bacteria are caused from human waste. Where did it come from?

When Colonial Gardens started in 1974 they were provided water by their own water wells. Later Valleywood Subdivision experienced problems with their wells and their sewer holding pond.

To eliminate the problems Valleywood started purchasing their water from Colonial Gardens and the City of Manhattan put in a sewer line to the Subdivision to eliminate the sewer holding pond.

That could be the problem. By State law a sewer line cannot be within 100 ft. of a water well. In this case the City put their sewer line within 32 feet of the Colonial Gardens water wells. (See photo above.)

Not only that, some say the water line going to Valleywood Subdivision connects between the wells and the building used to treat the water. It could be the water going to Valleywood has never been treated.

It is sinful and it could be criminal because people were told of the problems.

The County Health Department was told of the problem. The Riley County Public Works Department was told of the problem. The Riley County Commissioners were told of the problem and the State Water Resources Board was told of the problem.

The City of Manhattan should approve the second reading of the resolution bring Colonial Gardens into the City. Someone should investigate why government agencies did nothing about this problem a long time ago.

It is a wonder someone did not die because of the negligence.