Scientists Urge Action To Protect Wichita Water

Concerns of possible contamination in a pond at Diamond Lakes Park have revealed that Spirit Creek, the basin to which the pond drains, has been known to be contaminated since 2003. (July 7, 2010 / WRDW-TV)
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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey say chloride contamination of Wichita's water wells is inevitable unless steps are taken to stop it.

The agency said Thursday past oil and gas activities near Burrton have created a plume of high-chloride ground northwest of the groundwater wells used by the city. High chloride levels make water less usable for drinking or crop irrigation without additional treatment.

The Geological Survey has released a report and animations simulating chlorine movement. It says the move threatens part of the Equus Beds aquifer that supplies water to city and agricultural users.

Possible actions include pumping to remove the high-chloride groundwater and increasing the artificial recharge of water into the aquifer to slow movement of the chemical.

Low concentrations of chloride are present in nearly all natural water.

Posted by Greg Palmer