KDHE hosting meeting tonight on well water contamination

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WICHITA, Kan.-- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is continuing their investigation on groundwater contamination in a West Wichita neighborhood.

KDHE will hold a public meeting tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. in auditorium C of Wilbur Middle School, 340 North Tyler Road.

KDHE staff from the Dry Cleaner Remediation Program will discuss and take questions about the current impacts on domestic wells from tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination.

Staff will also present plans to provide short and long-term alternative drinking water supplies to impacted areas and long term remediation needs.

KDHE said the contamination stems from the former Four Seasons Dry Cleaners at 8947 W Central.

Residents in or near the area of concern (shown on attached map) are encouraged to attend the session.

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The Kansas Dry Cleaning Program is paying for remediation after contamination was found in groundwater at a neighborhood south of Wilbur Middle School.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment suspects that the source of the contamination was created by the former Four Seasons Dry Cleaners, previously located at Central and Tyler Road.

"We use the funds from this trust fund to help do any type of investigation, provide alternative water supplies, conduct a clean up, and try to remove the contamination from the sites," said Bob Jurgens, KDHE Assessment and Restoration Section Chief.

The Program was created when the Kansas Drycleaner Environmental Response Act became effective in 1995. As a result, the Dry Cleaning Facility Release Trust Fund was created as a funding mechanism for conducting state-led investigations and remediation of soil and groundwater contamination at sites.

The Fund is sustained via an annual registration fee of dry cleaning companies and an environmental surcharge on bills for dry cleaning services.

Jurgens estimates that the cost for remediation at the affected site in West Wichita will cost approximately $750,000. The costs will pay for water testing and providing an alternative water source for affected residents.

"Potentially, this could use up one full year's funding by the time we're done just getting alternative water supply and finishing the rest of the investigation. That's what it's there for, it's to be able to provide these types of emergency actions," said Jurgens.

Currently, KDHE is collecting water samples from water wells in the neighborhood surrounded by Tyler and Socora, and Second and Maple. The volatile organic compounds (VOC) testing costs about $50-$100 and tests for harmful chemicals in the water. This testing is free to homeowners in the affected area and they can ask for a test by calling (785) 296-1914.

Results from the investigation and a map of the contamination plume will be provided at a public meeting to be held at Wilbur Middle School, 340 N. Tyler Road, on April 10th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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