Wichita Area Treatment, Education & Remediation (WATER) Center

The Wichita Area Treatment, Education & Remediation (WATER) Center includes the treatment plant for the remediation of the extracted groundwater from the GM and NIC sites. It is capable of treating approximately 1,200 gallons per minute (gpm) of groundwater contaminated by chlorinated solvents.

The treatment process consists of series of hydraulic venturi air strippers located in sequence. The extracted groundwater enters the plant through an 8-inch diameter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipeline where it passes through a magnetic flowtube which senses the rate of flow in the pipeline and transmits that information to a computer for monitoring and record-keeping purposes. The water next passes into a basin and through a series of baffles. At each baffle, a pump draws a portion of the water up into a hydraulic venturi air stripper which forces air through the water to remove (strip out) the volatile organic contaminants such as the dissolved chlorinated solvents. The water is then discharged back down into the basin and can be drawn up again as many as five additional times for further treatment. After the air stripping treatment, a portion of the water is passed on to operating fountains and water features outside the treatment building where it can be enjoyed by visitors to the park in which the WATER Center is located (Herman Hill Park). Another portion of the water is routed through up to three aquariums located on the premises: two inside the WATER Center building and one is a free-standing aquarium located at the head of an artificial creek that discharges to the Arkansas River bordering the southern edge of the park.

During facility maintenance or creek maintenance efforts, the water can be routed directly to the Arkansas River, bypassing the water features described above. The air used for removing the volatile contaminants out of the groundwater is collected and discharged to the atmosphere from a stack well above ground level. The volatile compounds removed from the treated groundwater will break down in sunlight to their basic components of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and chloride. The treated water leaving the plant is tested monthly to ensure that treatment to below National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements are being met.