UPDATE: Friday, June 8, 2012
On Friday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment today rescinded its health advisory for the Arkansas River. Officials say testing shows that E. coli bacteria concentrations have returned to acceptable levels.
The health advisory was issued on May 25 after the KDHE recorded elevated levels of bacteria during routine stream sampling. The original advisory covered the portion of the Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street Bridge to the Oklahoma state line.
City of Wichita and the KDHE discovered the elevated bacteria level was caused by a leak in a valve at the city’s main wastewater treatment plant. The leak was repaired earlier this week. It is not known how much water leaked from the pump station.
UPDATE: Sunday, May 27, 2012
Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials say the elevated levels of bacteria in the Arkansas River they discovered on Friday have been traced back to a leak at a pump station at Wichita's main wastewater treatment plant.
City crews are working to repair the leaking valve. The full impact of the leak on the river is not yet known and the health advisory remains in effect.
KDHE encourages people to avoid contact with the river between the Lincoln Street bridge and the Oklahoma state line. Pets and livestock should also be kept away from the water.
Friday, May 25, 2012
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment today issued a public health advisory for the Arkansas River due to elevated levels of bacteria. This was discovered during routine water sampling. KDHE has also confirmed a report of a fishkill in the Arkansas River in areas where there is black, odiferous water.
This health advisory extends through the portion of the Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street Bridge in central Wichita to the Oklahoma state line.
KDHE advises individuals to have no contact with the Arkansas River between the locations identified above until further notice. Residents are also advised to keep their pets and livestock from making contact with the water.
The cause has not been identified. KDHE is conducting an investigation and will continue to follow up with water testing to determine when this notice can be lifted.