Bel Aire, Park City residents take precautions in boil advisory

Sign on water fountains at Sunrise Christian Academy, Bel Aire.

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A boil advisory issued Friday morning for Bel Aire and Park City residents looks to be in effect until at least Saturday afternoon.

The advisory comes after chlorine feed pumps were lost at the Chisholm Creek Utility Authority plant. Chlorine is what disinfects drinking water. Bel Aire and Park City get 50 percent of their water from Chisholm Creek Utility Authority and the other 50 percent from Wichita city water. Wichita water is currently flowing through the pipes, but it’s the water that could have been consumed or used in the meantime that officials worry about.

Bel Aire resident Mark Purcell heard about the compromised water through a neighborhood app alert before he tested the water for discoloration.

“Mine looked fine, the only thing I did was dump the water out of my cappuccino machine to make sure I don’t drink any of it. and just gotta be careful because you’re so used to drinking the water you might not think about it and start chugging it when you shouldn’t,” Purcell said.

Down the street at Sunrise Christian Academy, staff members covered the water fountains so students wouldn’t drink the compromised water. Staff began to boil water to put in large coolers while some traveled to Sam’s Club for bottled water.

“Once we got everything shut off in terms of the drinking fountains, we turned the water back on so the bathrooms are in full operation, but all the kids have the option to get something from the pop machine or juices. But of course, water was given to them free, so I think they all had a great day because they had a bottle of water to take to class,” Superintendent Dr. Rob Lindsted said.

Bel Aire public works has been testing the water all day, but it has to pass several tests for KDHE to officially lift the advisory.

“Bacteriological sampling takes 24 hours, so we will be in this for 24 hours, which puts us at Saturday afternoon,” Anne Stephens, city engineer and director of public works said.

If someone is worried about the water they ingested, Stephens said to contact their physician, but a normally healthy person would feel no different after ingesting the compromised water.

“This is one of those things we take seriously,” Bel Aire mayor David Austin said of the health and safety of residents, “Our public works, our employees have all been testing the water. They’ve been looking at the water nonstop, we’ve sent the samples in. We’re now just waiting on the word back from the state clearing us that the water is okay.”

KDHE will notify media when the advisory expires.