WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - The new water treatment plant has been under construction on Wichita's northwest side for nearly two years. The work is closing in on a big milestone.

The enormous construction project just north of the Sedgwick County Zoo is now almost halfway finished. City officials say, among the many benefits, residents shouldn't have to live through a repeat of what happened in late 2021.

“It was crazy, it was just really chaotic right here. Kids coming from school, their shoes were wet up to their ankles,” said Aria Markham, a Wichita resident.

Aria Markham lives next to where a huge water main break created an instant lake along I-135 in October of 2021. She and the rest of the city were forced to boil their water for days.

“Our son, we had to boil water just to wash his bottles out, and clean bottles because he was still pretty young then. It just took extra time and he was upset he had to wait,” said Markham.

But, the new $500 Million water treatment plant being built just north of the Sedgwick County Zoo, is designed to prevent breaks like that. Construction began early in 2020. Now, after nearly 140,000 hours from 35 different contractors, work is approaching the halfway point. When it's finished, the plant will be able to pump 120 million gallons of water each day.

“It really shores up our ability to safely provide water for our residents now and in the future. We're taking into account future growth for our community and all of our water customers,” said the Public Information Officer for the city of Wichita Megan Lovely.

Aria just hopes she won't have to boil water while her son waits for his food.

“I just hope it never happens again. That was just too much here. [but together] glad they're actually trying to do something. Not just pushing it off like it wasn't a big deal. I personally think it was. It could have ruined these people that live here,” said Markham.

Once the project is complete, the city will have a public open house for people to see the facility before it is officially commissioned.