Olathe neighborhood cleared of lead concern
by Andres Gutierrez and Tom Dempsey, originally posted on April 20, 2016
OLATHE, Kan. – UPDATE 4/22:
Lab test show there are no elevated lead levels in the Ridgeview South neighborhood area water system, city officials announced on Friday.
Seventy-nine tap water samples were collected on Wednesday and tested.
Efforts are underway by city officials to notify residents of the results from their homes.
Test results collected on Thursday have not been completed, but officials say “there were more than enough samples tested to confirm the system is free from elevated levels.”
The city of Olathe says they will provide test results to residents when they are received.
The city said Wednesday they found potential high lead levels in tap water in the Ridgeview South neighborhood, south of Sheridan Street.
The city said the potential is isolated to about 105 customers and only in that neighborhood.
Besides providing bottled water, the city is doing another round of tests of the neighborhood’s tap water.
It’s unknown where the source of the lead is coming from.
“When there is a risk, we’re going let people know and be proactive,” Tim Danneberg, a spokesperson with the City of Olathe said.
He adds the results were from a water quality test that isn’t accurate in detecting lead. That’s why crews handed out test kits and instructions late Tuesday night.
Ultimately the second round of testing will determine whether there is a dangerous amount of lead in the water.
Kara Wilder was putting her 2-year-old daughter to bed when workers knocked on her door letting her know about the situation.
“Lead is harmful and with it being my first child, first thing that sets in panic mode,” Wilder said.
Down the street, at Katerina Armstrong’s house the only one drinking from the tap is Parker, the Shih-Tzu Poodle mix. Armstong who drinks filtered water applauds the city for their actions.
“I’m glad they’re making sure everything is safe and fixing it if need be,” Armstrong said.
Test results are expected to be back in five days. If they do find dangerous levels of lead, the city said has a firm on standby to take care of the problem immediately.
The possible water contamination means neighborhood residents must use bottled water to cook, clean, and shower.
“Taking a shower is a pain, especially not trying to get the water in your eyes,” explained Tracie Kaiser.
Kaiser is a mother of a son with autism. As a precaution, she put signs all around her home this week warning of the lead contamination.
“It’s hard,” she said. “My son wants to go around and play with things.”
Kaiser is worried her son will drink the water, and she has been forced to make some changes as a result.
“We go out to eat instead of eating here as much,” said Kaiser.
Other residents in the Ridgeview South neighborhood decided to stay in on Wednesday night.
Using bottled water provided to him by Olathe crews, Joe O’Bryan cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner.
“I had to use a bottle and a half of water,” he explained.
O’Bryan said much of the bottled water he received has been used for cooking.
“When I make coffee in the morning, I make one 12-cup pot and one 10-cup pot, so that’s several bottles of water,” said O’Bryan.