Environment
5:28 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Second Source Found In West Wichita Chemical Contamination

A small portion of a map provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It illustrates a new source of Tetrachloroethylene contamination in west Wichita.
Credit Kansas Department of Health and Environment

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has identified an additional source for chemical contamination in West Wichita. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, a second dry cleaner has been found to be a contributor to the chemical plume.

The likely carcinogenic chemical, PCE, was first found near Kellogg and Tyler in 2009. But it wasn’t until this past March that a former dry cleaner, located nearly two miles away, was found to be the source. The chemical invaded over a hundred private wells in the area and it’s unknown how long residents could have been exposed.

“We did identify, just from further testing and sampling in the area, that there was a second origin of contamination,” says Sara Belfry of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “It moved the plume up and to the west slightly, but the main part of the plume really did not move at all.”

Belfry says that the new source shouldn’t affect any additional homes because these residents are already hooked up to city water.

The KDHE Dry Cleaner Remediation Program is still in the process of installing city water lines to homes with contaminated drinking wells.

“There are some people who are still using filters and bottled water, mostly those people who are on streets we had to install new water mains on,” Belfry added. “We are looking at a completion date of Aug. 1 to have everyone hooked up to city water.”

Belfry added that they’ve finished 42 of 53 installations and that they will continue to monitor the plume in the future.

Follow Sean Sandefur on Twitter, @SeanSandefur