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City Of Wichita, Spirit AeroSystems Propose Water Recycling Plan


The City of Wichita is looking to change how it deals with wastewater, and that could mean a boost to water conservation efforts.

The city announced a plan Thursday to sell treated wastewater to Spirit AeroSystems for reuse in Spirit’s industrial manufacturing process.

The project will decrease Spirit’s potable water usage by 70 percent--or hundreds of millions of gallons--annually. Mayor Jeff Longwell says the plan would protect the city’s long-term water supply, and bolster Wichita’s available water capacity for future growth. The wastewater, or effluent, is currently being discharged into the Arkansas River after being treated and disinfected.

Longwell says the plan is revenue-neutral for ratepayers, and Spirit would cover the costs of constructing a two-mile long pipeline to transport the effluent water to its facility on south Oliver. Wichita City Council is expected to consider the plan at its meeting on Dec. 15.

Key components of the proposed agreement:

• The project is rate-neutral for Wichita water users;

  • Spirit pays all infrastructure costs;
  • Ratepayers benefit by delaying the need and the associated costs for new water sources to meet growing demand;
  • Any lost potable water revenue will be offset by previously-allocated conservation funds; and
  • The return on investment for the conservation funds is measurable, significant, and comes with a high probability for positive long-term impact