Residents in Girard, Kansas boil and buy water as city works on maintenance

Residents say water tastes, smells unpleasant

The owners of Kimberly’s Little Hut in Girard have taken steps to make sure their customers have good water since day one.

“We boil our water every day, refrigerate what we need, what we think we need for our glasses,” says Carl Hannon, co-owner of Kimberly’s Little Hut.

He says they’ve done that since they opened in October because they’ve heard the water in town isn’t the greatest.

But recently, they’ve been boiling all the water they use, including what they use for cooking.

Hannon says it looks clear right now, but it wasn’t that way a little while ago.

“It looked like it just came out of the lake,” says Hannon.

And he says it tastes like chlorine.

And over at Pearls and Curls Boutique and Salon, they’re having similar issues.

“The water, whenever we turn it on to wash hair for colors or highlights or anything like that, that the water had a smell to it,” says Shelby Cannon.

Cannon also says it tastes like dirt.

She says the problems don’t impact their business, but they have heard about issues their customers have been having.

“People are just complaining about the smell of it. And the taste as well,” says Cannon.

But some residents say they haven’t had any problems, like Brandon Belew on Facebook.

He says, “My water even without the softener or filter is fine.” He also suggests a map be made of where everyone is having problems.

The City of Girard has put out a statement on their website about the issue, which says,

“We have been doing necessary maintenance on our water wells requiring us to be 100% water from Bonecreek instead of our normal blending of water. Currently, we do not have a finish date for the maintenance but anticipating a couple more weeks. Please note even though the water smells and tastes different, it is constantly being tested as is passing all state regulations.”

Residents like Cannon hope the city can fix the problem sooner rather than later.

“We’re hoping the city will get everything done as quick as they can,” says Cannon.

KOAM also reached out to Steve Brooks, the Director of Public Works, who says in an email,

“To begin, there are not problems at the well. Our water plant was in need of some maintenance that required the plant being pulled off-line. We are replacing the filter media with new filter media and replacing some aged valves. This is very common in water plant maintenance approximately every 10 years. One of the good fortunes that we have is to have a secondary water source to keep our residents’ water flowing while we do this shutdown. Bone Creek PWWSD #11 is our secondary water source and the smells and tastes of the water that they provide are different because they are from a surface water treatment process. Well water and surface water are two different treatment processes. We are hopeful to have this process completed within the next two weeks and to return to a blended system as before. The water is still being treated through the required stages of treatment and is meeting all the requirements for consumption,” says Brooks.

“In our system, we test chlorine residuals daily and those tests are passing as they should. We have done some random sampling as well when residents began complaining about the smell and taste and were able to show those residents that the chlorine levels were as they should be. In addition, I have personally reached out to the plant manager at Bone Creek and advised them of the smells and tastes, and they have made some changes to try to help combat it. It will take some time to cycle through the system before those changes are realized. We want to reassure the public that the City is meeting all requirements for treatment of the water and that the difference in smell and taste at this time is simply due to a difference in source water,” explains Brooks.

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