Classic Case - Wichita Confronts Contamination: Seeking Alternatives to Superfund (B)

Wichita Confronts Contamination: Seeking Alternatives to Superfund (B)


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  • Product Description

    Long-undetected groundwater contamination, discovered in 1990, by the Kansas Department of Health and Environmental Protection, has a potentially catastrophic economic impact on downtown Wichita, Kansas. The four-mile long, one-and-a-half-mile wide site centered at the corners of Gilbert and Mosley Streets lies in the heart of Wichita's central business district. Although it did not provoke health concerns, the newly discovered contamination prompted lenders to cease making any financial commitments in the district.

    Learning Objective:
    This case focuses on the strategic approach to this crisis taken by Wichita's city manager. Initially faced with two bad alternatives--forcing hundreds of businesses to share in the clean-up cost, or face designation of the area as a federal Superfund site, portending perhaps a decade of legal wrangling--Wichita creates a more palatable way out of the crisis. The case can be useful both for discussions of constituency-building and political strategy, and for discussions of US federalism.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 1, 1992
    HKS Case Number: 1158.0
    Case Author: Susan Rosegrant
    Faculty Lead: Alan Altshuler
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 5
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Ford Foundation
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
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