Gilbert & Mosley Project

The Gilbert and Mosley Project is considered to be one of the most innovative public-private partnerships ever created to solve the complex environmental problem of groundwater contamination. This project has earned the City of Wichita national recognition for its development to avoid Superfund intervention and the impacts upon public health, environmental risks and the local economy.

-Former City of Wichita Mayor Carlos Mayans, October 16, 2003

History

Groundwater contamination was originally discovered in 1986. In 1990, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) submitted the results of its Limited Site Investigation data to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The site was dubbed the Gilbert and Mosley Site. In 1991, the City of Wichita signed a Settlement Agreement with KDHE that kept the 3,850-acre Gilbert and Mosley Site out of the Superfund program. The City agreed to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) effort and implement certain site-wide groundwater remedial actions. Other actions included the creation of a tax increment finance district and a CAR program. A significant portion of the site included the downtown area. The City's actions facilitated the protection of human health and the environment within the site while also allowing development to proceed that may have otherwise been inhibited by the stigma of a designation as a Superfund site.

Today

The City of Wichita's Gilbert and Mosley Project includes the operation of a groundwater treatment system, an environmental education building, a plaza area, and several site improvement items in Herman Hill Park. The groundwater treatment system remediates large volumes of groundwater that have been contaminated by various chlorinated solvents such as perchloroethene (PCE) and tetrachloroethene (TCE). The original extent of groundwater contamination above national drinking water standards (maximum contaminant levels = MCLs) was approximately 2,154 acres (3.3 square miles).

The groundwater remediation system started operations in 2002 with thirteen groundwater extraction wells and 5.5 miles of piping. As of the end of 2022, over 7.2 billion gallons of groundwater have been extracted, treated, and discharged to the Arkansas River. The total area of groundwater contamination exceeding drinking water standards has been decreased 83% to 371 acres and five of the original thirteen groundwater extraction wells no longer need to operate. The figure shows the current plume extent and the gray area on the figure shows the original extent of groundwater contamination at the startup of the remediation program.

Certificate and Release Program

The City of Wichita has reestablished the financial lending in the Gilbert and Mosley area through a legal agreement with local lending institutions.

The Agreement states that the institutions will not refuse to lend on the security of real properties located within the Gilbert and Mosley site which are owned or operated by persons or entities who have obtained a Certificate and Release for Environmental Conditions.

Certificate and Releases are granted by the City to property owners who have demonstrated through documentation or investigation that they have not contributed to the contamination in the Gilbert and Mosley site.

View the Gilbert-Mosley Certificate and Release Application.

Documents

Additional information can be found at the KDHE Identified Sites List Website.