State officials addressing contaminated water issue

WICHITA, Kan. — State officials are meeting with west side Wichitans after contaminated groundwater was found from a dry cleaning business nearby.

Right now, a state fund is paying to clean up the groundwater in the area around Wilbur Middle School. That is where state officials will be meeting with residents to go over the details of the cleanup.

The meeting will take place Thursday night at the middle school on N. Tyler Rd. From 6:00 p.m. To 8:00 p.m.

About 40 Wichita families who use well water recently found out it’s been contaminated, and the source of the chemical dates back at least two decades.

The state health department calls the area starting near Central and Tyler heading north to Kellogg and slanting across Tyler to the south an “area of concern.” So far, 87 wells have been tested and 39 showed levels of tetrachloroethylene or TCE.

While the contamination of a dry cleaning chemical only applies to homes with well and not city water, the city is looking at brining in water to the community that recently learned pollution has been flowing through their water pipes.

“You realize you’ve been giving your kids poison water for the last of 20 years,” said Deanna Anderson.

It’s not a good feeling for Deanna Anderson. The mother of six found out just days ago her well water was contaminated with high levels of TCE.

“Thinking about your children are being poisoned by something that’s supposed to be safe to them, that’s a really big deal,” she said.

So far about 90 private wells have been sampled and 39 tested positive for the chemical.

The Anderson’s well is one of 13 testing dangerously high for the chemicals which are used by the dry cleaning industry and is known to cause health problems, including liver and kidney issues.

“It’s not something that if you are exposed to toady at these levels that you are going to sick it’s actually a chronic risk it builds on itself for months and days and years,” said Bob Jurgens with the KDHA said.

The contamination story begins at the former Four Seasons Dry Cleaners which was open in the early 1960’s until 2005. In 2009, the first TCE’s traced to the site were detected.

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