Wichita’s wastewater leak into the Arkansas River was permanently plugged Friday, but residents are still advised to stay out of the water near Derby.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment modified the public health advisory first issued on May 25 for the Arkansas River. Water samples collected by KDHE and the city of Wichita indicate that bacteria concentrations above the 47th Street bridge are safe for recreation.
The current health advisory against having contact with the river water still includes the portion of the Arkansas River from the 47th Street bridge to the state line. Residents are also advised to keep their pets and livestock from making contact with the water.
This past week, elevated levels of bacteria were recorded during routine stream sampling near Derby by KDHE’s ambient water quality monitoring program. The city of Wichita then discovered a leak at an intermediate pump station at the wastewater treatment plant.
Work crews constructed a temporary fix for the leaking valve, and it has been partially successful, according to KDHE. Wichita implemented a permanent solution to be completed Friday.
State and local officials will continue working to assess the situation and are committed to minimizing the impact downstream.
KDHE will continue to follow up with water testing to determine when this advisory can be lifted.
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