An inadvertent chemical release occurred earlier today at the City of Wichita’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery water treatment plant between Sedgwick and Bentley.
The low quantities of chemicals, which were released in the nearby Little Arkansas River, pose no threat to the health or safety of area residents, according to officials who manage the ASR program.
The contractor, General Electric, discovered the chemical spill at 12:35 P.M. on Wednesday as routine testing was being conducted at the plant. The release occurred at approximately 9 a.m. when a broken feed line leaked into a residual holding basin; the chemicals were accidentally discharged into the Little Arkansas River.
The chemicals consisted of 300 gallons of sodium bisulfite and approximately 2000 gallons of sodium hypochlorite solution. Sodium bisulfite is a chemical used to neutralize chlorine (sodium hypochlorite), which was being used to clean membrane filters at the ASR treatment plant.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the regulatory agency in charge of monitoring chemical spills, has been notified.
The contractor responsible for the chemical release will manage any remediation the KDHE deems necessary.
“Environmental stewardship is of utmost importance,” said Joe Pajor, the Co-interim Director of the City’s Public Works & Utilities Department. “The City will work with the contractor to guard against this type of incident occurring again.”