Chetopa Blames KDOT for Water Issues

Chetopa Blames KDOT for Water Issues
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Relations are still tense between the city of Chetopa and the Kansas Department of Transportation over who’s to blame for silt clogging the city’s water intake.

“And we’re just about down to where we have no water for the city of Chetopa anymore,” according to the Mayor of Chetopa, Ron Wood.

The Neosho River provides all water for Chetopa. But debris and silt build up are hurting the city’s ability to pump water from the river, clogging the city’s water intake.

Chetopa Mayor Ron Wood believes the issues started when KDOT built the new Neosho River bridge.

“The piers seem to be catching a whole lot more of the brush,” Wood said.

George Dockery, KDOT’s area engineer, doesn’t agree with the mayor. Saying, “When [KDOT] built the new bridge [Chetopa was] having problems [already].”

Dockery said he believes a dam just downstream of the bridge has been catching silt underwater, which has accumulated and backed up to the water pumps, causing the issues.

“And today you can see evidence of debris south of the bridge,” Dockery said. “And it’s creating an island. And the bigger that island grows, the more the siltation will grow.”

“But we never had these issues until we got the new bridge,” Wood said.

Chetopa is now forced to move the water intake upstream of the bridge. The city asked KDOT for funding and were denied. Mayor Wood says about two thirds of the funding will have to be loaned to the city, and officials estimate moving the water intake North of the bridge will cost around $210,000.