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Thu Oct 3, 2019, 09:45 AM

Wichita's mayor steered multi-million-dollar water plant contract to friends

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell steered what could become the largest contract in the city’s history to his political supporters, golf partners and friends, a Wichita Eagle investigation has revealed.

The city plans to spend about $524 million to build a new plant to treat drinking water. Its 80-year-old plant could fail at any moment, officials have said, leaving 500,000 people without water. How the project is handled will affect how much residents pay for water — and the quality of that water — for generations to come.

A city selection committee unanimously recommended awarding the contract to Jacobs Engineering, one of the nation’s leading design firms that specializes in water treatment plants.

Instead, at Longwell’s urging, the City Council gave it to Wichita Water Partners, a group that has less experience designing large water plants. City staff warned that the group was seeking advice on how to run Wichita’s plant from a company blamed for the Flint, Mich., water crisis.

Read more: https://www-1.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article234701932.html

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