Water Rights Owner Speaks Out About Recent Sundowner West Water Incident

Water Rights Owner Speaks Out About Recent Sundowner West Water Incident

In response to calls from residents on Friday, January 12, Scott Kolling and Aaron Gentry arrived on the scene as those living in the Sundowner West community began experiencing little to no water pressure.

Gentry said he "worked from 6:30 pm to 11 pm that day, troubleshooting the problem." Subsequently, an electrician was called and arrived at noon the following day.

After inspection, the electrician identified a malfunctioning starter capacitor on Well 2, but obtaining the required part posed a challenge. With snowy road conditions preventing Kolling's return from Oklahoma, Gentry and the electrician worked over the weekend. Kolling said that, "Well 1 resumed full pumping capacity on Monday, and measures were implemented to elevate chlorine levels in the system, aiming to prevent further complications."

Kolling was able to reach the site on Tuesday when the roads cleared. The system had thawed out on Monday, allowing for the replacement of the part in question. "Both wells were reported as operational by Tuesday, although residents continued to experience water scarcity or low pressure due to overwhelming demand surpassing the water flow capacity," says Kolling.

Kolling and Gentry said they purchased and delivered bottled water to affected residents of Sundowner West. Kolling specifies that regular water testing, including magnesium, lead, and copper checks, is conducted, with yearly assessments by KDHE for well quality. Bacterial testing occurs bi-monthly.

The receptionist for Kolling's water business applied for ARPA funding three years ago, but, "changes in criteria and insufficient matching funds prevented approval" according to Kolling. "I've explored collaboration with rural water districts, but the intricate system structure might be a deterrent to potential partners." With 69 active meters, full water service was restored at Sundowner West on Thursday afternoon.

Kolling says he is aware of threats toward his team, his family, and himself, "This was an unfortunate situation, and my team did their best with what they have to get water flowing to the residents of Sundowner as quickly as possible."

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