City Government

Homeowners to Pay for Community Sewer Replacement

By Anne Hassler Heidel

McPherson News

Homeowners living on Hartup St. and Grand Ave. were given some bad news at an informational meeting hosted this week about the sanitary sewer upgrades planned by the City of McPherson.

The sewer system in the 200 south blocks of Hartup and Grand is a snaking labyrinth that goes under garages, joins some houses on one connection to the main and runs beneath neighbor’s property. Jeff Woodward, Public Works director, defined the area as a community sewer system. This particular community sewer is in need of a new sewer main and laterals to nine different properties on the block with eight property owners impacted (one person owns two properties with sewer connections).

Homeowners are looking at a pro-rated share of the $182,953 cost with each homeowner paying between $18K-$30K. Those not able to pay their portion up front will be able to have the cost paid through specials on their property over the next 20 years.

The city plans to pay for engineering plus 1/9 of the replacement costs.

Pam Unruh, who owns one of the houses being assessed, asked why the city was not paying for the cost of the sewer main and having each homeowner pay for the lateral. Woodward said the original plan outlined was the plan the commission had decided to pursue.

Unruh, who has lived in her house 37 years, also expressed concern that having a special on her home would make it difficult to sell.

Community sewers came about when a private lateral and not a city sewer main was installed back in the 1920s and 1930s. The 200 block of Hartup and Grand was originally platted with six building lots and has been subdivided to the point there are 24 homes on the block. Woodward estimates there are just under 400 homes in McPherson that are part of community sewer systems where houses do not have a direct line to a sewer main on their property.

Construction on the new sewer system will begin this summer. The city would bond the cost of the new sewer and homeowners will see the special on their property tax bill in Aug. of 2019.


  • We are taxed to death already. What are u people doing with are tax dollars. I don’t live in one of these homes Thank God. If I were one of these home owners I’d be getting a lawyer and fighting this nonsense.

  • Just curious, were realtors REQUIRED to tell buyers about the existing sewer system and the implications when selling a property in that neighborhood? Seems no different that selling a home in a flood plain. Truth in disclosure seems would have alerted buyers that they might and probably would face a future of uncertain terms from the original sewer system as installed.

  • This is unacceptable! The city needs to pay for this not the homeowners! We pay taxes for a reason. Can’t even fix the streets because all the money goes to new developments baseball fields (by the dog park) and sponsoring Simi pro baseball teams instead of where it’s supposed to go. City meetings are scheduled conveniently during the day where most residents are at work and are unable to attend. Time to vote new city officials and clean up city hall!!

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