Chanute City Manager Jeff Cantrell said the situation in Flint is unfortunate, but not completely surprising.
“Every water system has a certain amount of lead in it,” he said.
Chanute’s water source also comes from a river, and Cantrell said river water tends to require more treatment than lake water, which also requires more treatment than ground water from wells. He said the chemistry of river water fluctuates more than lake water from changes in rainfall and runoff from farmers’ fields treated with fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.
Chanute does not have a secondary water source it can use if something happens to the Neosho River, such as a hazardous waste spill.
In the 1950s, the city had to treat wastewater to get drinking water when a drought depleted the Neosho River. Cantrell said the city considered bringing railroad tank cars of water from Kansas City, and drivers had to stop for piles of foam that blew across the road resulting from the treatment process, some as big as cars.
(Read more: The Chanute Tribune – news,news/)