This is your annual reminder: If you fish the Arkansas River in Wichita, limit or don’t eat the bottom-feeding fish you catch.
Those fish, which include buffalo, carp, catfish, sturgeon and suckers, could have chemical contamination, according to an advisory issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Health officials are advising people not to eat bottom-feeding fish from a portion of the Arkansas River that extends from Lincoln Street Dam to Cowskin Creek near Belle Plaine in Sumner County.
Those who fish the Little Arkansas River from the Main Street Bridge west of the Valley Center to its confluence with the Arkansas River in Wichita are expected to eat the bottom-feeding fish they catch only once a week. The serving should be small, or a “fillet the size of your palm,” according to a KDHE press release.
Fish caught from Lake K-96 in northeast Wichita should only be eaten once a month.
The fish may be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), industrial products and chemicals used in various industries, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
PCBs have made their way into the air, water and soil during manufacturing processes. Spills and leaks from manufacturing facilities have caused the chemicals to spread.
PCBs were banned in the United States in the 1970s after these chemicals caused harm to humans and the environment, the National Ocean Service said.
Other rivers and lakes in the state told not to eat bottom fish or shellfish from:
Shoal Creek and Spring River in Cherokee County
Antioch Park Lake South in Johnson County
Arkalon Park Lakes in Seward County
For small portions once a week:
Cow Creek in Reno County
Kansas River in Douglas and Leavenworth counties
More information on the alert and a detailed list of bottom-feeding fish species are available online.