Topeka: High Chloride found in Kansas River, water still safe to drink

View from the Capitol Federal Menninger Hill Tower camera, looking at the Kansas River due North, in Topeka Kansas.
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The city of Topeka says its water treatment plant has found chloride levels in the Kansas River are higher than normal, but the water is still safe to drink.

“We are meeting all EPA primary standards,” said Bob Sample, the city's utility director.

"Obviously we are not going to fix it today, or tomorrow, or even the next day. But we are going to try to work with industry the best that we can. Just like we would with a customer,” added Jack Mason, the general manager of the city's water systems.

The high levels of choride are affecting at least one Topeka plant, the City says. The Goodyear facility has told city officials that the high levels of chloride make the water unusable for its production. A spokesperson for the tire maker said they are investigating the quality of water and had to suspend work in some of the plant's business centers.

"As a result, some workers on first shift had their shifts canceled today," the company said. "We expect full operations to resume later today."

A city spokesperson said they've also reached out to the Frito Lay plant.

A Frito-Lay spokesperson Alexia Allina, told 13 News in an e-mail, "We are operating as normal at our Topeka site."

City officials say the elevated levels do NOT pose an emergency and customers do not need to find another source for water. The treatment plant is still meeting all requirements of the Safe Water Drinking Act.

“There could be a bit of a taste difference, but I would say anybody who is on a salt restricted diet, that they may want to contact their physician, but the water is safe,” said Sample.

The current levels of chloride stand at 286 mg/L. They note there is no maximum contaminant level for chloride in drinking water. However, anyone on a restricted salt diet may want to consult their physician.

Where did the natural increase come from?

“It is based on the rainfall and release from reservoirs. Those releases will increase the levels at the plant,” said Mason.

They said after the most recent storms, a release from the Wilson reservoir went into the Saline river. It emptied into Smoky Hill River, and then into the Kansas River.

The city of Lawrence put out a similar statement about the chloride levels. The city of Topeka also alerted Kansas City water management.