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Corning Fire Station (Nemaha FD No.1)

Improvements to the City of Corning's water system will begin about June 1, 2004, thanks to the award of a KAN STEP grant and local volunteers who will install a complete new water system. Corning is extreme northeastern Kansas, about 12 miles south of Seneca in southern Nemaha County. KAN STEP is the acronym for Kansas Small Town Environment Program that is funded through the Kansas Department of Commerce. KAN STEP has successfully used "sweat equity" to help communities reduce costs of water system improvements in several communities and numerous fire stations and community centers in Kansas.

The water system project at Corning will include the installation of 27 new valves, an estimated 3,300 feet of 6-inch pipe, 10,000 feet of 4-inch pipe, 8,200 feet of 2-inch PE pipe and a new service for each of the city's 100 customers. The existing system is composed of the old black ABS plastic and asbestos concrete pipeline. Historically, it's a common practice to shut off the entire town anytime there was a main break or fire hydrant needing repair or replacement. This proves to make a mess for something like a leaking meter or fire hydrant replacement. Repair materials for ABS are difficult to obtain and make. The ABS is very prone to breakage.

The new distribution system will allow for looping of sections of the system to improve fire flow and or improve capabilities for flushing. The project also involves replacement of 14 fire hydrants.

This project will have a major impact on Corning's water system, as it will allow the city to isolate only affected areas for maintenance and repairs. This new water system will provide a much greater integrity to the city's water system. Corning purchases water from Rural Water District No. 3, Nemaha County.

The estimated value of the project is $498,170. The KAN STEP grant is for $258,135. The city is realizing a savings of $240,035 from retail costs through the use of volunteer labor.

The project representative for the Corning Water System is Leo Wessel. Schwab-Eaton, P.A., Manhattan is the project engineer. Grant administration is being provided by the Rural Development Agency of Northeast Kansas, based in Sabetha. Kansas Rural Water Association will provide inspection services and assistance.

Corning kicks off project with safety meeting

There is great excitement in Corning at the eminent prospect of the new water distribution system. Volunteers met Wednesday, May 26, 2004 with staff from Kansas Rural Water -- Greg Duryea, Pete Koenig and Elmer Ronnebaum -- for instructions on using proper safety procedures in trenching and excavation as well as a discussion and show n'tell of materials and correct installation methods. Work on the project is scheduled to begin the first week of June.

The final word with this opening bell? As in other KAN STEP projects that have been completed across Kansas, there will undoubtedly be a new respect for "sweat equity" at Corning -- but the city will not be in debt for the new water system and Corning will enjoy clear, clean, reliable water for years to come.