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Concerns over water quality in rural Crawford County - KOAM TV 7

Concerns over water quality in rural Crawford County

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Some residents in rural Crawford County, Kansas have concerns over water quality after a water line break.

They say they always have concerns over water quality in the back of their minds since there's lead in chat piles from old mine shafts nearby.  But recent heavy rains has them thinking about their safety even more.

On Friday night yard work and thirst had to be put on hold for Dave Robinson.

"Tried to get a drink of water - nothing," says Robinson.

"People started calling that their water was low, pressure was down, and we started looking at our plant and our plant was sending out thousands of gallons," says Tim Gintner of Rural Water District 1.

Workers with the water company say they did end up narrowing down the problem late Friday night - a drainage ditch.  A white pipe carries the drinking water and workers say water pressure from the drainage pipe ended up breaking through the white pipe.

"It was full of water," says Gintner.  "This whole system was full.  We walked in water probably for 10, 12 hours looking for this massive leak."

Eleven of the Crawford County Rural Water District's 1,200 customers were effected.

"To say that I was surprised - I can't say that because we've been having enough storms," says Robinson.

The storms have stopped for now and so has the leak.

Some are thinking not so much about water quantity now, but quality, and lack of it spreading households nearby.

"I am concerned," says Robinson.

"There's a lot of chat piles in this area," says Gintner.  "We don't test for anything.  The state of Kansas does all of our testing.  They check for everything - radium, bacteria."

And only the Kansas Department of Health and Environement could issue a boil order if tests don't come back right.

State officials say there's no dangerous levels of anything in the water.

There has been a test since the leak happened and water workers say people can drink up without worry for now.

But they say to be on the lookout for whatever Mother Nature may bring next.

Water service workers say they can't guarantee any more breaks won't happen, especially with more rain.  But they urge people in the area to call the rural water utility company as soon as they notice less water pressure or no water at all.

There is no rural water district in Jasper County, Missouri, so cities there make the decision whether or not a boil order is needed.

In Oklahoma, as in Kansas, the state makes this decision.

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