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Energy and Environment

Officials: Weekend Earthquake Caused Little Significant Damage To Wichita Facilities

Dave Schumaker, flickr Creative Commons

Update-The U.S. Geological Survey is updating the official magnitude of the Sept. 3, 2016, Pawnee, Oklahoma, earthquake to magnitude 5.8 (from 5.6), making it Oklahoma’s largest recorded earthquake to date. 

Original- According to officials, an earthquake that shook Wichita just after 7 a.m. Saturday caused more damage to city facilities than past quakes, but none of it was significant. Damage from the 5.6 magnitude earthquake has been found to be mostly cosmetic.

Director of Public Works Alan King says damage was found in several buildings including the City Hall parking garage and a sewer treatment plant. Fallen ceiling tiles and cracks in the wall were found at the Wichita Art Museum. There was also a sudden system-wide drop in water pressure after the quake, but no one is quite sure why.

King says the city will continue to look for and assess damage this week.

“We have a structural engineering firm that goes around and assists us in our assessment and they look to evaluate anything that’s like this to make sure that it’s not causing structural damage,” King says.

The earthquake was centered in Pawnee, Oklahoma, where an increase in earthquakes has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. It tied a November 2011 quake as the strongest in recorded Oklahoma history and prompted the shutdown of 37 wastewater disposal wells.

A dollar amount for the damage hasn’t been determined. King says that while the city does have earthquake insurance, it’s unlikely the costs will meet Wichita’s $250,000 deductible.


Follow Abigail Beckman on Twitter @AbigailKMUW.

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