- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Wichita City Council has agreed to a state plan that will provide city water to some residents whose groundwater was polluted by a dry cleaning solvent.

The council voted on Tuesday to allow some homes in west Wichita to be hooked up to new lines and mains under a project that city public works director Alan King estimates will cost $3.1 million, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1qebZJL ).

Sara Belfry, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment - which is funding the project - said the department won’t know how much the project will cost until all the bids come in.

The homes were previously served by well water but lost their service after high levels of a toxic dry cleaning solvent called tetrachloroethylene were found in the groundwater in 2009.

King said so far the state wants to install waterlines that would extend city services to about 114 homes. The work will start immediately and should be completed by Aug. 1.

Tetrachloroethylene is a colorless organic liquid that is believed to be carcinogenic to humans. Inspectors believe the chemical was used in the area as early as the 1950s or 1960s when a business with dry cleaning machines opened in the area. KDHE is paying for the project from a program that adds a few cents to every dry cleaning bill in the state for possible remediation, King said.

State officials are examining groundwater in areas near the current plume for more possible pollution. If the solvent is found in those unserved areas, up to 330 residences could eventually be added to the project, at a cost of another $2.75 million, King said.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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