KDHE to address groundwater contamination concerns

Water faucet (KSN Photo)

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Concerns over toxic groundwater contamination will be addressed tonight after an investigation was launched by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

KDHE identified carbon tetrachloride in the water used by the Sleepy Hollow Farm Addition in Derby. The subdivision is located between 71st Street and 73rd Street, west of McIntosh Road.

After identifying the issue, KDHE contacted Derby and the Sedgwick County Rural Water District 3 to find out which properties use the private domestic drinking water or use lawn and garden wells.

The affected area is in Derby city limits but doesn’t use the city water, according to Kristy Bansemer, Derby communications director.

Bansemer told KSN she has never seen carbon tetrachloride in the area.

“I’ve been here for 14 years and we do water quality reports every year, but I have never seen anything like this up here in that report,” she said.

The toxin is a manufactured chemical that doesn’t occur naturally, according to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). Carbon tetrachloride has been used for dry cleaning purposes and in fire extinguishers, but it is known to cause liver and kidney damage. For that reason, it has been widely banned.

The Sedgwick County Rural Water District 3 provides water in areas where the city water isn’t available. They’re helping the Sleepy Hollow area by connecting those homes up to their water, which comes from Wichita.

The process will involve building a few short lines to service the area and isn’t expected to take long, said Frank Parker, Sedgwick County Rural Water District 3 general manager.

The issue doesn’t concern people who don’t live in the affected housing addition, Parker said.

“If you’re on potable water from like the city or a rural water district, we do all the sampling and so if there’s any kind of issue, of course we’d notify everybody,” he said.

The meeting tonight will be held at 6:30 in the Pavilion at Madison Avenue Central Park, 512 E. Madison Ave. At the meeting, residents will have the opportunity to discuss the results of the recent private water well and direct-push probe sampling, identify additional domestic wells that have not been sampled and discuss plans to connect homes with the Rural Water District lines.

KDHE will pay the water line tapping fee and cost for installing the Rural Water District water meter, as well as the cost of completing the connection from the meter to the home, according to a KDHE press release.

Additional questions can be answered by Gary Richards at 785-291-3246.

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