WICHITA, Kan. - City of Wichita crews have temporarily plugged a valve at the sewage treatment plant after health officials discovered a leak into the Arkansas River.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment found the leak on Saturday. Joe Pajor, Assistant Director of Public Works, said the department does not know how much contaminated water leaked into the river or when it started.
KDHE issued a public health advisory last week after finding elevated levels of bacteria. Residents should not make any contact with the river between the Lincoln Street Bridge to the Oklahoma state line.
Samples are also being taken to ensure the safety of Wichita River Festival attendees. River caution flags will be posted during Riverfest: Blue flags indicate no restrictions, green flags indicate that boating is allowed but that no water should be ingested, and orange flags restrict contact with the river.
Public Works and Utilities will make permanent repairs after the temporary plug is inspected by KDHE. Pajor said repairs are not expected to be expensive.