WICHITA, Kan.— The Kansas Department of Health and Environment continues to investigate the well water contamination found last year in West Wichita.
KAKE News first alerted residents about the issue on March 31, 2014, when KDHE began investigating groundwater contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a volatile organic chemical commonly used in dry cleaning.
The KDHE later identified two sources of the PCE in an area south and southeast of Best Cleaners and the former Four Seasons Dry Cleaners near Central and Tyler.
Residents raised concerns regarding long-term use of that water and cancer concerns. During a public meeting, it was announced that KDHE would investigate.
“The investigation is currently underway,” said Ashton Rucker, KDHE Office of Communications. “Planning is underway to create a registry of people potentially exposed to the West Wichita contamination for long-term health follow-up.”
Many residents in the affected area have all but forgotten about the contamination but are sometimes reminded that they drank contaminated water for a period of time.
“It’s done. It’s over with. Didn’t cost us much except a small monthly bill. I think if there had been a special attached to it, that might’ve gotten a little more ire,” said George Stover, resident.
Other neighbors are concerned about cost of water for irrigation and other outdoor activities.
“We’ve had to use city water to fill our pool, which is not cheap,” said Kim Cary, resident. “We had a pretty huge water bill, over $100, and normally we don’t have a water bill. So, we’re just hoping we get our well back.”
KDHE responded to Cary’s concern and said, “We are waiting for an extended dry period to dig that lawn and garden well so the machinery doesn’t get stuck in the yard. The well will be installed as soon as the ground is dry enough.”
As of the end of last year, 197 residences in the area were connected to City of Wichita water.
Residents in the contamination plume, should no longer be drinking the well water.