Mar 25, 2019

Flooding Impairs Drinking Water in Kansas City, Mo.

The city expects the drinking water quality to return to normal as floodwaters recede

Flooding Impairs Drinking Water in Kansas City, Mo.
Flooding in Missouri has caused KC Water to ask residents to conserve water to aid water treatment.

Flooding along the Missouri River has impaired drinking water supplies in Kansas City, Mo. The city’s public water utility has asked residents to conserve water to help reduce the impact of flooding conditions on the treatment plant.

According to Reuters, the floods were “unleashed” during the “bomb cyclone” storm brought torrential rains to hundreds of square miles of the Plains.  The flooding and impacted water raise health risks for infants, the elderly and others with compromised immune systems.

According to Reuters, flooding along the Missouri River submerged pumps at a wastewater treatment plant 30 miles upstream in Leavenworth, Kan. The effects have been felt downstream as Kansas City (KC) Water draws drinking water from the Missouri River. Farmland and wooded areas were inundated with water, while Parkville, Mo., a suburb with a population of 6,700, was threatened with flooding.

Additionally, Reuters reported that water testing showed high levels of turbidity, which are some particles that can carry viruses, bacteria and parasites, such as cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea.

KC Water announced March 22 that the utility had failed to meet standards for the treatment of Cryptosporidium due to melting snow, storm water runoff and high floodwaters.

While the state does not consider this to be a drinking water emergency, an alert was issued to notify residents with compromised immune systems, reported The Kansas City Star.

“Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea and associated headaches,” KC Water said in a written statement.

Additionally, the Kansas City Star reported that KC Water has asked residents to conserve water, which could help reduce the impact of flooding conditions. Due to the flooding, residents might notice changes in the taste and color of their tap water.

Reuters reported that the taste may have come from the excessive silt and other material that was carried from runoff due to the high volume of rain and snow. 

“With all that runoff, we’re seeing river conditions like we haven’t seen in more than a decade,” she told Reuters.

According to the Kansas City Star, KC Water operates 2,800 miles of pipe, which deliver water to approximately 500,000 residents and 32 wholesale customers.

KC Water anticipates the drinking water treatment problems will be resolved as the Missouri River water levels return to normal.


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