As decisions are being made about Wichita’s new water treatment plant, the rumors are causing many to be concerned and unsure as to the future and safety of the City’s water service. The purpose of any municipal water delivery system is to transport potable water from a water treatment facility to residential consumers, for use as drinking water, water for cooking, water for sanitary conditions, and other water use in a domestic environment. Water supply also is essential for business and industry to operate in a municipal environment. Of no less importance is the need to supply water to properly located fire hydrants to provide the public with an effective level of fire protection. Municipal water systems also may need to provide water for special services that include street cleaning, the selling of water to contractors for erecting buildings, parks and recreation, and miscellaneous uses.
First, it needs to deliver adequate amounts of water to meet consumer consumption requirements plus needed fire flow requirements. Second, the water system needs to be reliable and the required amount of water needs to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A municipal water supply system cannot service its customers unless there is a continuous supply of water to meet domestic consumption needs in the broadest sense and water needs for structural fire protection. Water sources need to be selected carefully to make sure that this fundamental requirement is met. And this is why it is important for Wichita to move forward on a new water treatment plant. That being said, Wichita is fortunate that good decisions have been made over the past several decades that · preserve our resources · continue to provide safe sanitation · deliver to all consumers
The Aquifer Storage & Recovery (ASR) Project is an outstanding example of water preservation that was adopted back in 1993. By 2006 the first phase of this project was completed, and in 2013 the 2 nd phase was completed. In a nutshell, this project diverts water from the Little Arkansas River when the river flows are high, treats it to drinking water standards, and injects the processed water into the Equus Beds aquifer for storage. This water can then be obtained during a drought season. It also protects water quality. Instead of putting something away for a “rainy day”, this stores water for Wichita during a very dry time. To read more about this amazing process, click here .
Our current water treatment facility continues to provide safe water, and there has not been a “boil advisory” for the City since 1995 when a raw water pipeline delivering water to the treatment plant broke. This was quickly repaired and no known sickness occurred. The current method of ensuring safe water is to use Chloramine (Chlorine & Ammonia) for a very good reason. Chloramine lasts longer than just using Chlorine, and this is a good thing for a system as large as ours. We want to make sure an effective level of disinfection reaches the outer portions of our system. It can take a considerable length of time (days even) for the water to travel from our treatment plant to customers near the fringes of the distribution system. If you are not aware, the City water is also consumed and paid by several smaller municipalities surrounding Wichita. Chloramine will still dissipate like that of chlorine, but at a slower rate. So if you are using this for your fish tanks or indoor plants, you still need to allow time for dissipation prior to use.