A chemical spill at the Wichita, KS, water treatment plant into the Arkansas River killed some fish but poses no risk to public health, officials said.

Ferric sulfate spilled early Wednesday from a corroded drain pipe at the plant and into the river near downtown Wichita. The chemical works to settle out particles in untreated water as it flows into the plant.

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Public works deputy director Joseph Pajor said between 1,700 and 2,000 gallons of the chemical spilled.

Ferric sulfate is a chemical compound. Usually yellow, it is a rhombic crystalline salt and soluble in water at room temperature. It sees use in dying as a mordant, and as a coagulant for industrial wastes. It is also used in pigments, and in pickling baths for aluminum and steel. Medically it also sees use as an astringent and styptic.

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When a pipe linking two storage tanks broke, a pump continued to spill the chemical onto the floor of a building, he said. The chemical then flowed through a storm drain into the river.

The spill killed a small number of small fish, officials said. Workers found them downstream behind a sandbar in shallow water.

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