KAKE NEWS INVESTIGATES: Help for residents of stinky neighborhood.Posted: Updated:
A terrible smell coming from a local creek in West Wichita has neighbors in a bind over solutions.
The neighborhood is a little slice of heaven, right in the middle of Wichita.
"My grandma lives across the street over here and we got pretty close neighbors," says Matt Martin.
Martin bought his house in the Dell neighborhood without ever having stepped foot inside for the views, but under the surface of the picturesque neighborhood lies a chronic problem.
"It smells like rotten eggs," describes one neighbor.
"Oh it's terrible," adds another.
The Dell subdivision in West Wichita and its hundreds of residents live day-in and day-out with an odor so strong, it spills into the intersection of Maize and Maple.
"It smells like sewage. At night, it's so bad that literally you don't want to go outside," says Matt Martin.
The culprit? A stagnant waterway, once maintained by a now-defunct homeowners association.
Now, it sits and stinks.
The problem is buildup from years of decomposing leaves, lawn clippings and fertilizer run-off that causes algae to grow when it's warm.
When the weather cools, that algae dies, and the smell comes to the surface.
"There used to be an exit and an entrance that we could open and let the water flow," says Martin.
In the 1950's, when the Dell neighborhood was built by a private developer, Cowskin Creek was rerouted to create a private waterway for neighbors.
"Over the years the homeowners association disbanded and the infrastructure they were responsible for maintaining hasn't been taken care of," explains Don Henry, Assistant Director of Public Works & Utilities, with the City of Wichita.
But since it's private property, it's technically not the City's responsibility.
Still, KAKE News called to see what could be done, and the City took action.
"The City does care, they're facing challenges. Any solution they tackle, we're 100% on board," Henry told a group of concerned neighbors this week.
Don Henry and Storm Water Engineer Joe Hinkle conducted test after test and found four possible solutions.
The most expensive is to fill in the creek.
The least expensive, and one successfully used by other neighborhoods, is aerating the water and adding fountains to create flow.
But who pays? The neighbors.
"That would be a private arrangement amongst them. We can do some things to keep the costs down. We'll help with some of the technical solution, negotiating permits," says Henry.
For now, it's up to neighbors to decide on which solution works best for them.
"I understand that this is private property, but when you have this many people that are sharing the same waterway it makes it hard to get something done without the city coming in," says Matt Martin.
This is a tough situation without a homeowners association to manage the project, but KAKE News will continue to work with the City to find the best and least expensive solution.
Attached is the City's proposal.
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