ROSE HILL – A failure of communications equipment led to a release of untreated wastewater and a resultant public health advisory this past week.
“Saturday morning (June 23) the communications equipment that communicates with the pumps and with the alarms failed,” said Jamie Belden, city superintendent. “A landowner contacted us on Sunday to alert us to the contamination, and we were there within five to 10 minutes, and had it stopped within 15 minutes.”
Belden said city employees staffed the main wastewater pump station overnight, and ran equipment manually to make sure there was no further release of raw sewage, until contractors could repair the equipment on Monday.
A public health advisory was issued on Monday for Eight Mile Creek in Butler and Cowley counties.
The health advisory extended through the portion of Eight Mile Creek from Southwest Butler Road north of Rose Hill in Butler County to where the creek enters the Walnut River in Cowley County.
Belden said Rose Hill was coordinating water sampling with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment district engineer.
“We will take another sample on Thursday, and we hope to have the all clear on Friday,” he said.
Belden said the impact of the untreated wastewater release was lessened by two factors.
“It was helpful that clean treated water flows into the stream right below the wastewater discharge, and that there are Artesian wells further downstream that supply groundwater,” he said. “We are now working with our contractors to prevent this problem from ever occurring again.”
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