WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The boil water advisory that was in effect for the City of Wichita has been rescinded, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Along with Wichita, Andover also had its boil water advisory rescinded.
The test results came back with no issues, and customers can now begin using their water like usual. Don Henry, deputy director of Wichita Public Works and Utilities, said residents do not need to flush their pipes. He said the testing showed the water was safe to drink the whole time, but the boil water advisory was issued out of an abundance of caution.
“The water is completely safe. People can use their water as normal. They don’t need to take any additional actions. The sampling did indicate the water remained safe throughout,” Henry said.
Laboratory testing of 180 samples collected from the City of Wichita indicates no evidence of bacteriological contamination, and all other conditions that placed the system at risk of contamination are deemed by KDHE officials to be resolved.
“The City of Wichita staff is working closely with our wholesale customers to ensure they have the support that they need to get their samples done timely and help coordinate with KDHE on the results. We are utilizing our laboratory to run the results and help them do what we can to get out from the advisory as quickly as possible,” Henry added.
It could mean another 24 to 48-hour wait for those purchasing systems.
“We could have gotten water from the system when it was bad,” Rodney Eggleston, Valley Center Public Works director, said. “The whole system of pipes acts as a big bucket and holds water until sometime when it’s used, so we have to verify that their water is good, and then once that’s been verified, we can start our own testing.”
The City of Wichita announced the boil water advisory just after 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, saying that during routine maintenance of a filter 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. High turbidity can lead to a loss of chlorine residual levels and may result in microbial contamination.
The City of Wichita is now reviewing and taking a look at what was learned.
“Measures have been put in place to make sure we have the right procedures and oversight in place when we carry out this particular operation,” Henry said. “We are also working with consulting water process engineer to make sure we have all of the details covered, so we have a high level of confidence, that we will be able to continue this particular type of operation and maintenance on the filter without any future incidents.”
Wichita is in the midst of constructing a new water treatment plant in the northwest part of the city, near the zoo. The facility will be capable of treating 120 million gallons of water a day. The goal is to have it operational in 2024. The plant will replace the current plant which is 80 years old.
“There is a few things you have to do when the plant is at this age. You have to pick your failures. You have to understand what can break and what you can fix on failure, you have to stay out in front of it and have a very aggressive maintenance plan,” Henry added.