Wichita approves emergency water lines for residents with contaminated wells

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WICHITA -- It’s been weeks since west Wichita homeowners learned their well water is contaminated – a story KAKE News was first to report.

Now, the Wichita City Council approves a $1.12 million plan to install emergency water lines to getting those residents safe water.

“We're glad that we're doing something, that they're bringing us fresh water,” said resident Brian Nett. “We loved our wells, but it's not an option.”

Nett moved to his west Wichita home recently, only to learn that toxins were in his water.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment found well water in a section of town had been compromised. The contamination is linked to chemicals used in a former dry cleaning business; the solvents were once deemed safe, said Alan King, director of public works and utilities for the City of Wichita.

“I think getting city water to the homes is not a bad thing,” Nett said. “Well is inexpensive. It was good water. It tasted good. It's a little bit, better piece of mind having city water because of the contamination that happened now and now we kind of lost trust in that source.”

According to the plan, “the KDHE anticipates as many as 32 addresses will be identified for immediate connection to existing water lines. Each service connection is $2,370, for an anticipated total of $75,840. These connections will be funded with existing cash in the Water Utility Fund and reimbursed entirely by the KDHE.”

A little more than 100 other homes are affected. King said new lines would have to be made to help those families. Project bids are expected by mid-May and construction is expected to be complete by Aug. 1.

However, Nett is worried about what the new water lines would disturb trees and parts of the property that initially attracted him to the area. Tearing down those features would deflate the property value, he said. He would like leaders to consider options that would disturb properties the least.

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