WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will be hosting a public hearing on Sept. 8 to address groundwater contamination in northeast Wichita.

The contamination was discovered during investigations related to the 21st Street Corridor Redevelopment Project. It was discovered in the area of 29th Street N and Grove and eventually traced to the Union Pacific Railroad rail yard located south of K-96 highway between highway I-135 and Grove Street.

The primary contaminant was determined to be trichloroethene (TCE), a chemical normally to remove grease from metal. A joint investigation by the KDHE and Union Pacific found that the contamination had spread from the original site down to Murdock Ave.

A corrective action plan to remediate the contamination has been developed that will involve cleaning the original contamination site, along with treating the groundwater to remove TCE. The public is invited to learn about the plan on September 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Atwater Neighborhood Resource Center, 2755 E. 19th St N., Wichita, Kansas.

The proposal is currently available for the public to review at the Angelou Northeast Branch Library at 3501 E. 21st N., Wichita and at KDHE offices in Topeka, and online on the KDHE website.

Public comment will be taken at the September 8 meeting, but they can also be submitted by mail:

Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Bureau of Environmental Remediation
Attention: Mary Daily, Professional Geologist
1000 SW Jackson Street, Suite 410
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1367

They can also be submitted by email.

Plume of contaminated water (KDHE photo)
Area of groundwater contamination (image courtesy KDHE)