KANSAS CITY, Mo. — KC Water Services is still asking customers to limit their water use as it handles issues related to flooding conditions.
The good news is that things are improving at the treatment plant, and there’s hope the request for restricted use could be lifted soon.
Jamie Walker is enjoying the company of her two Weimaraners at her office. But they’re with her because she’s worried about water they drank the past few days.
“I’m keeping a close eye on them just in case,” Walker said.
Walker said heard about KC Water’s challenges dealing with the impacts of flooding. But since water from her tap looked fine, she brushed it off — that is, until she drew a bath Sunday night.
“It was quite green, which was very concerning,” she said.
She’s now sticking with bottled water and plans to shower elsewhere.
Although the water might look or smell strange, KC Water said it’s nothing to be worried about.
“The color comes from water we’re getting from some of the different tributaries, which have a color in it, and our treatment process is not set up to remove the color,” said Mike Klender, KC Water Treatment Plant manager.
KC Water said what has changed is the kind of water coming from the river coming into its treatment facility. Flood water, with a lot of rain and snow melt mixed in, isn’t like the typical river water that winds up there.
So KC Water has to treat it a little differently, and it takes longer to do so.
“We are having to add chemicals to pull the minerals out, but unfortunately with all this run off, there isn’t that much minerals. So we don’t have to use as much and that hurts our treatment process. As in, we can’t produce the particles to settle out,” Klender said.
The filtration system at the plant is also able to check, screen out and treat more than 200 different substances to make sure they don’t end up in the drinking supply. That’s all still happening right now.
Having all of KC Water’s customers limit use just helps the system have ample time to do its job, but there’s no risk of water running out or coming to your sink untreated.
“We would not put out the water, the state would not allow us to put out the water, federal government wouldn’t allow us to put out the water if it wasn’t safe to drink,” Klender said.
And there is good news with all this.
Since river levels are dropping, the makeup of the water going into the treatment plant is getting better. But even once it goes back to “normal,” it will take about five more days for all customers to notice the difference.
The cities of Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit are currently not receiving water from KC Water Services and are taking their supply from other areas currently. This is actually helping KC Water in reducing its output, giving more time to properly treat water coming in, and limiting customer concerns about color, taste and smell of water in other cities.