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Wichita City Council expected to OK contract for groundwater pollution cleanup

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, July 6, 2013, at 6:38 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, July 7, 2013, at 9:54 a.m.

Wichita City Council members are expected to approve a remedial design contract with SCS Aquaterra for a major groundwater pollution project.

The contract, for the North Industrial Corridor groundwater contamination project just north of downtown, covers the design costs for the systems to clean up groundwater contaminated by petroleum and industrial solvents.

The value of the contract is $461,298, funded by money raised by settlements with businesses responsible for the pollution and by environmental tax-increment financing, which captures tax revenue recovered by avoiding Superfund status and saving the land from falling property values. The North Industrial Corridor runs from Second Street north to 45th Street North and from Hydraulic west to Market and Waco.

The pollution is the result “of historical industries’ use of the chemicals in their various processes,” according to city documents.

The city took over the project approximately eight years ago and has been working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment since then on a plan to clean up the pollution. During a late June council workshop, public works officials updated the progress of the corridor and Gilbert & Mosley projects, long-term plans that won’t be completed until 2080 and 2042, respectively. The Gilbert & Mosley site runs from Second Street south to 31st Street South and from Hydraulic west to the Arkansas River.

Superfund is a federal program to clean up the worst pollution sites in the nation. In the North Industrial Corridor, the city stands to take in $44.4 million by avoiding the land devaluation that could accompany a Superfund site designation, officials said last month.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @bwilsoneagle.

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