Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

KDHE rescinds stream advisory

April 30, 2008

The stream advisory issued last week for Hog Creek was been lifted Wednesday afternoon.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment along with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks had asked that people and animals avoid contact with the stream - which runs west from about 163rd Street past 183rd Street before flowing into Stranger Creek - after a sewage bypass was discovered April 21.

Basehor City Superintendent Gene Myracle estimated the city of Basehor's primary sewer force main burst sometime April 20, at the city's main lift station on 163rd Street, causing sewage to leak into the creek.

Test results from initial water samples taken by KDHE officials immediately after the bypass showed elevated levels of Escherichia coli bacteria.

"If it's (E. coli) present, then you usually have pathogenic bacteria present, and those are the ones that carry disease," Jeff Lamfers, environmental scientist with KDHE, said last week.

Pathogenic bacteria are known to cause illnesses such as cholera and typhoid, Lamfers said, so the advisory was to remain in place until E. coli levels subside.

Rain caused the stream to experience high flows, which prevented Lamfers from collecting more samples for several days.

"It does help flush the stream out, but it's also possible E. coli levels could go up because of runoff," Lamfers said about the reasoning behind waiting to collect additional samples. "It will drop back once the flow subsides."

New samples were taken Tuesday and results released late Wednesday afternoon showed there were 860 E. coli colonies present in one area of the stream and 75 in another, well within recommended concentrations. Guidelines used by KDHE suggest that E. coli concentrations in secondary contact streams, such as Hog Creek, should be lower than 10,000 colonies. A week ago, those concentrations were 129,060 and 8,664 respectively.

"These numbers are all much lower, and it was pretty much an immediate decision to rescind the stream advisory," Lamfers said.

As for Basehor's sewer force main, city officials were hoping to have repairs complete by the end of last week, but the availability of necessary parts has slowed them down a bit.

A temporary pump and discharge line were brought in to continue operations until the pipe could be permanently repaired. Myracle said the temporary pump has continued to function properly, and residents should not have any sewage problems.

"This will not affect any residents whatsoever," he said.

Special iron ductile fittings were ordered and are expected to arrive this week. An end-of-the-week goal has been set for completed repairs.

"Hopefully we'll have all of that done by Friday," Myracle said.

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