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Moving a Community Dream to Action

February 28, 2011 |
Where:
Culver, Ottawa County, Kansas
Problem:
Culver’s system is too small, not built to adequately service the community’s growing population, and could pose a health risk to residents.
Solution:
Midwest Assistance Program has assisted the community through a step-by-step process in which everyone takes part in finding affordable, viable solutions. As of September 2010, MAP continues to aid the community in procuring funds for their public drinking water project.
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Culver is a typical small rural Kansas community. Like many communities in the Great Plains, the city has experienced a steady loss of population, business closings and the loss of a rail line that kept the local grain elevator vibrant. However, due to its close proximity to larger Salina, which serves as the regional hub for employment, shopping, medical facilities, and recreational opportunities, people have moved to Culver seeking a small community lifestyle for their families. Unfortunately, the inadequateness of Culver’s public utility infrastructure threatens the long term sustainability of this community.

Culver’s existing public drinking water system is not constructed to provide enough pressure to homes. In addition, distribution lines are too close to individual septic systems which could put great risk of fecal coliform bacteria contamination if a low pressure event would occur near a leaking water line. Contamination from back siphoning is a very real possibility. Also, homes with inadequate on-site systems are causing effluent to seep into ditches and/or leaching into shallow aquifers.

Citizens led by members of the city council contacted MAP for assistance to determine the feasibility of a public wastewater treatment system and improvements to the city’s existing public drinking water system. Previous attempts for improvement projects had been stymied by some citizens and leaders believing they were too costly or not needed at all.

MAP assisted the city council through a process that involved the public in every aspect of examining the needs and options for solutions to determine if a development project would be feasible and plausible. Committees were formed, information was gathered and disseminated, assessments were conducted and a community consensus was formed to hire an engineer to complete a preliminary engineering report.

In assisting the community to involve everyone, MAP has helped move a community from dreaming about a better quality of life to taking action to try to bring their dreams to fruition.