KC Water asks residents to conserve while Missouri River remains murky from flood

Kansas City’s public water utility has asked residents to conserve water to help with the city’s challenge of treating Missouri River water that has been made murky by recent flooding.

Conserving water could help reduce the impact of flooding conditions on the treatment plant and help meet treatment needs, KC Water said in a news release Sunday. The city draws drinking water from the river.

The utility said there has been no confirmed biologic or virus contamination found in the water, but an alert concerning water quality it issued late Friday remained in effect Sunday.

KC Water announced late Friday that it failed to meet standards for the treatment of cryptosporidium because melting snow, rain runoff and high flood waters changed the water quality of the Missouri River.

The change in water quality has affected the utility’s ability to filter the water. KC Water reported the issue to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Friday.

Although the state doesn’t consider the issue an emergency, a mandatory alert was needed to notify people with compromised immune systems, infants or the elderly that they could be at increased risk.

“Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches,” KC Water said in a written statement.

Because of the the flooding, people also might continue to notice changes in the taste and color of their tap water that began last week.

The utility expects the treatment problems to be resolved as the Missouri River returns to normal levels.

KC Water operates and maintains 2,800 miles of pipe that deliver water to about 500,000 residents and 32 wholesale customers in the region, according to its 2018 water quality report.

Both Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit announced that they have stopped taking water from Kansas City to ensure water quality for their residents.

Blue Springs shut off the valve from Kansas City and was only taking water from Independence and the Tri-County Water Authority, which pump their water from an underground aquifer not affected by the rising levels of the Missouri River, the city said on its website.

Lee’s Summit said that during the winter and spring, it purchases the majority of its water from Independence. It hasn’t purchased water from KC Water since Thursday and continues to purchase water from Independence until the concerns have been addressed.

WaterOne, which serves customers in Johnson County, said on Twitter that its water treatment process has not been affected by the recent flooding on the Missouri River.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.