• Last modified 685 days ago (Aug. 19, 2020)


Lack of state water advisory causes confusion

Staff writer

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

Those words were uttered by The Captain in 1967’s Cool Hand Luke, but they might have been appropriate Friday when the state’s health and environment department released a notice that a Florence boil water advisory was rescinded.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment never issued an original notice Thursday that water in Florence might have been contaminated, however.

Florence sent employees to notify city residents of the situation Thursday, and posted a notice on social media and at the city building.

That cleared the state from having to issue a warning, according to an email from KDHE. However, only the state health and environment department had authority to call off the order, which was why it made the announcement Friday.

Even the county’s emergency manager, Randy Frank said he had not received notice of the original advisory.

“It is something for me to know,” he said. “I’ll look into it.”

KDHE’s standard is that an advisory must be issued any time water pressure drops below 20 pounds per square inch, and lasts until testing for contaminants comes back negative.

Florence found a water leak that occurred at 7th and Marion Sts. a week before the advisory. Workers cut water access for six to eight blocks of Florence while the leak was fixed, so pressure dropped below 20 psi, water operator Bob Gayle said.

He informed KDHE on Wednesday of the issue.

Gayle was unaware KDHE would not issue its own notice of since the department asked whether he wanted one sent out.

“We’re going to do what we need to do on our end,” he said. “If you feel it’s necessary to do whatever you need to do then fine, knock yourself out. I didn’t know at that time whether they notified the evening news and television stations, newspapers, or how they went about that.”

Gayle had no issues dealing with KDHE and said they waited after closing to receive Florence’s water samples since he arrived late.

Repairs with city crews and Inlow Plumbing Services also progressed without any issue, he said.

“I couldn’t be any happier with how they worked together,” he said.

Last modified Aug. 19, 2020