Jul 10, 2008

Treatment Plant Breakdown Halves Wichita, Kan., Water Supply

Clarifier breakdown prompts officials to ask residents to stop watering lawns

Officials in Wichita, Kan., are asking residents and businesses to stop watering their lawns for about a week because of an unexpected breakdown of a clarifier at the city's water treatment plant last week, the Witchita Eagle reported. The break was in a pool that treats about 60 million gal per day (mgd).

The water treatment plant has the capacity to treat 145 mgd, but because of the breakdown, the city is able to treat only 70 mgd. City water is still safe to drink, and people may use water as usual indoors, officials said.

Dondlinger & Sons Construction Co. will pull the clarifier from a 15-mgd pool and put it in the larger pool—a project that will take about a week and leave two of the pools off-line.

Taking the second pool offline prompted the city to ask residents to stop watering their lawns, which can use up to 60 mgd in hot, dry weather.

"The long and short of it is, as a community Wichita is going to have to reduce its water use," David Warren, director of water utilities, told the paper. "There's no ifs, ands or buts about it."