For Immediate Release
June 8, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

KDHE Lifts Health Advisory for Arkansas River

TOPEKA, Kan.—The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today has rescinded the health advisory for the Arkansas River. Analytical results from sampling the river on June 7 indicate that E. coli bacteria concentrations have returned to acceptable levels.

KDHE first issued the health advisory on May 25 after the agency recorded elevated levels of bacteria during routine stream sampling by the ambient water quality monitoring program. This health advisory was issued for the portion of the Arkansas River from the Lincoln Street Bridge in central Wichita to the Oklahoma state line. Later, on May 31, the health advisory was modified to include the portion of the Arkansas River between the 47th Street bridge to the state line after determining that bacteria levels upstream from the 47th Street Bridge were normal.

Subsequent to issuing the original advisory, the City of Wichita, working in conjunction with KDHE, discovered a leak in a valve at the city’s main wastewater treatment plant was responsible for the elevated bacteria levels. That leak allowed some partially treated wastewater to be released. The leak was successfully repaired earlier this week and all wastewater is now being fully treated and disinfected to levels sufficient to protect public health.

It is not known how much water leaked from the pump station.