WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The City of Wichita said it will be at least midnight Wednesday before it will know if a boil water advisory can end.
Before a boil water advisory can end, samples of water must incubate for 24 hours and then be tested in a laboratory. If the samples come back as healthy, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) will rescind the advisory.
Wichita Public Works and Utilities Director Alan King said in a news conference Wednesday morning that the City had to collect samples from 180 different places in the water system. He said it took longer than expected because workers had to flush the system in some areas in order to get the samples.
The samples were all collected and began the incubation period by midnight Tuesday. When the 24-hour incubation ends, the City of Wichita has a meeting planned with KDHE officials to provide the results. Even if it is after midnight, King said the KDHE could make the decision on whether it is safe to end the advisory.
KSN will monitor the situation and will provide an update as soon as it is announced.
It is possible some of Wichita’s wholesale water customers will take longer to get results. The City of Wichita has offered those communities help with sampling and testing.
Watch: City of Wichita news conference on boil advisory on June 8
The City of Wichita announced the boil water advisory just after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, saying that during routine maintenance at the water treatment plant, an unexpected water quality change occurred, resulting in a slight increase in turbidity, which is the measure of water’s clarity.
Valley Center, Rose Hill, Kechi, Derby, Andover, Sedgwick County Rural Water Districts 2 and 3 have been included in this boil water advisory because the city purchases water from Wichita, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
KDHE has rescinded Sedgwick County Rural Water District 1 from the advisory along with a portion of northeast Wichita, between Rock Road and Webb Road from 21st Street to 53rd Street. King said the reason was that portion of northeast Wichita was the only area that was isolated from the potentially risky water and had access to a storage of safe water.
Watch: City of Wichita news conference on boil advisory on June 7
King said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the cause of the turbidity in the water came from a “glitch” in the system that was not picked up on quickly enough, causing the cloudy water. Chlorine was present the whole time.
“Normally, we’re able to catch these glitches that happen. In this particular case, we didn’t get on top of it, and we had cloudy water discharged into our distribution system,” King said.
Watch: KSN News coverage of boil advisory for Wichita
Businesses like Leslie’s Coffee Company had to close early Tuesday and will most likely remain closed Wednesday.
“I think it’s good that they’re following protocols, I assume. But yeah, it’s discouraging that we just had to deal with this, and now, again, we’re having to deal with this,” said Sarah Leslie, owner.
Because of the boil advisory, Wichita Public Schools made adjustments to their summer programs on Thursday. City pools and splash pads will be closed Wednesday but could reopen Thursday.
Dillons also said they are actively taking steps to distribute additional bottled water to all store locations in Wichita and Derby.
Union Rescue Mission said they exhausted their current supply of bottled water and are accepting donations.
Wichita was last under a boil order back in October 2021 when there was a loss of power at the Wichita water treatment plant and a subsequent water line break.
Customers are advised to boil their water before consumption.
- Boil water for one minute prior to drinking or food preparation or use bottled water.
- Dispose of ice cubes and do not use ice from a household automatic icemaker.
- Disinfect dishes and other food contact surfaces by immersion for at least one minute in clean tap water that contains one teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of water.
For more tips on what to do during a boil water advisory, click here.
For consumer questions, contact the City of Wichita at 316-265-1300 or KDHE at 785-296-5514.
For consumer information please visit KDHE’s PWS Consumer Information webpage.
Restaurants and other food establishments that have questions about the impact of the boil water advisory on their business can contact the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s food safety & lodging program at email@example.com or call 785-564-6767.