A long process is just getting started in west Wichita as state health workers do what they can to get residents clean water. Chemicals from a former dry cleaning business seeped into the soil, contaminating water wells at dozens of homes. Some have mixed emotions about the problem.
You will see water pumps in most yards around the contaminated area. Very few people are on city water and they like it that way. They're learning the water contamination is random.
Carol Beloit, resident, lives on a street in the middle of the contaminated area. But the toxic levels in her neighborhood vary.
"I think our street is a mixed bag," she said.
Some people living on the outer part of the red shaded zone are still waiting to hear their results, and the longer they wait the more anxiety they have.
Joan Conner, nearby resident, said she wants to know who will be held accountable for the contamination.
"We're living in a society that doesn't take accountability," Conner said.
Beloit isn't as worried.
"There's a lot of health hazards in the world," she said. "I mean, we all grew up with paint with lead in it. We all grew up with asbestos."
Beloit is already using 5-gallon water tanks, provided by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Although she says it is a little inconvenient, she does not mind it.
"Hopefully I can maintain my well water to water my yard," she said. "I'll get hooked up to city water. So, I think I'm going to have the best of both worlds, actually.".
While some think this problem could make property values go down, Beloit disagrees.
"In five years this will probably just be water under the bridge," she said. "People won't remember this big conservatory in five years."
For Conner, it's not about property value, it's about freedom of choice. She doesn't want to be forced onto City of Wichita water, but KDHE says everyone in the contaminated area will be required to go on a city water main.
"That's a big change. That's a big expense because somebody was careless and it's very disappointing," said Beloit.
KDHE will be back out testing water in the area next week. KDHE officials say the cleanup process could take a while.