City of Wichita boil water advisory continues until at least Saturday morning

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The boil water advisory continues for the City of Wichita and will continue until at least Saturday morning. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) issued the advisory Thursday after a power outage and water main break. The City gave an update on the situation Friday morning.

This affects any customers of the City of Wichita Water Department, including Sedgwick County Rural Water Districts one, two – City of Benton, El Paso Water Co. – Derby, Valley Center, Rose Hill – Sedgwick County Rural Water District three, Andover, Eastborough and Kechi.

On Friday morning, city officials gave an update.

“Wichita still remains under a boil advisory,” Mayor Brandon Whipple said. “Our crews are working diligently in partnership with KDHE and other partners to get our water back online as quickly as possible by prioritizing community health.”

Alan King, the director of Public Works & Utilities, also spoke at Friday morning’s news conference. He previously said a brief power interruption Thursday created a change in pressure in city pipes and one of them broke.

Crews are on the scene of a major water main break at I-135 and 18th Street North, Oct. 7, 2021. (KSN Photo)

He said crews have been working on the leak near I-135 and 18th Street and have stopped the flow of water.

“That’s good news for the freeway that’s next to it, the erosion that is occurring,” King said. “We were able to isolate it in such a way that no customers are out of service.”

He said crews are identifying parts that are needed for the repair and will work around the clock to fix the damage.

The water main break that caused the system-wide pressure loss was 42″ in diameter – which is one of the largest sizes of pipes in the distribution system. Pipes this size and larger make up less than 1% of the total pipe network. (Source/Photo: City of Wichita)

The KDHE will make the decision about when the boil water advisory can end. The City of Wichita has to send test samples.

“We have collected those tests, 180 of them, and have put them into incubators,” King said. “It takes 24 hours to get the results and we will, those results will be available at, early Saturday morning to collect in the morning, at which time we have a phone call, conference, scheduled with KDHE so that we can look at the possibility of stopping the boil advisory.”

If the tests fail the KDHE standards Saturday morning, the City of Wichita may try to find out which samples failed and change the advisory to just affect those areas of town.

“Another plan is — we have two stations that we can put up immediately that would provide water to those customers who either can’t or won’t boil their water, and if we find that we’re looking at more prolonged period of boil advisory, we’ll stand up those stations and make everybody know sure of where they can go and water would be provided at no cost,” King said.

He said this will not impact water rates.

City of Wichita water customers should observe the following precautions until further notice:

  • If your tap water appears dirty, flush the water lines by letting the water run until it clears
  • 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 ice maker
  • 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 
  • Water used for bathing does not generally need to be boiled, but supervise young children so they do not drink bath water
  • People with cuts or severe rashes may wish to consult their physicians before getting water on their wounds

LINK | KDHE Information for Consumers: Boil Water Precautions and Tips

“I’m asking folks to make sure that they not only follow the recommendations to boil water but also reach out to people you’re close to and let them know that they should be doing the same …. This isn’t our first crisis, and hopefully, this one will be short-lived,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple. “Just like the other hardships that we’ve had to endure as a community, be mindful of your neighbor, be mindful of the fact that we’re all in this together. So if you’re going out to buy water, please buy what you need.”

For consumer questions, call City of Wichita at 316-265-1300, or KDHE at 785-296-5514. For consumer information please visit KDHE’s Public Water Supply 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 and lodging program at kda.fsl@ks.gov or call 785-564-6767.

For schools and colleges that have canceled classes Friday, go here.

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