Kansans Drank Toxic Water For Years. The State Knew All About It

“They didn’t let anybody know about the contamination, so we all continued to drink the water,” said a disgruntled resident.


Flint is not the only place in the United States to face water crisis. Residents living in the Wichita area in Kansas reportedly drank contaminated water for six years.

And what’s horrible is that the government knew about it, and chose not to inform the residents about the toxic water.

Several residents reportedly consumed water that was contaminated by a dry cleaning chemical known as perchloroethylene that had trickled into the groundwater at 412 W. Grand in Haysville. The state knew about the water being toxic since 2011 after investigating a possible expansion of a Kwik Shop.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment informed residents about the water that was going in their bodies only after six years.  Adding to the disaster, they conveniently didn’t test private wells less than a mile away for years. The state also did not inform residents that the water in their drinking wells could be contaminated with the dry cleaning chemical.

“We didn’t find out for 7 years,” said Joe Hufman, after discovering his well was contaminated by a Haysville dry cleaner. “Haysville knew it. KDHE knew it. Kwik Shop knew it.”

Another dry cleaning site, near Central and Tyler in Wichita, was also reportedly contaminated. The state knew about it but didn’t notify the residents living in over 200 homes that they had been consuming contaminated water for four years.

Across Kansas, 22 sites have been contaminated. But the government has not checked the private wells.

To defend this misconduct, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it did not worry about contaminated water in Haysville because they apparently thought the groundwater was traveling southwest, away from private wells.

That clearly wasn’t the case. And even if the government thought the water was running in a different direction, it was their responsibility to inform the residents.

After Hufman tested his well, he discovered 49 parts per billion of PCE, which is nearly ten times the allotted level. His family had been drinking water from the well for 25 years.

“You think they would have notified everybody, taken some precautions until something was done,” Hufman said. “Instead, they all kept quiet. They didn’t let anybody know about the contamination, so we all continued to drink the water.”

Government officials not taking any measures to prevent water contamination despite being aware of the dangers that these practices have caused, is horrible to say the least.

Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Navesh Chitrakar

View Comments

Recommended For You