Kansas Environmental Agency

The kansas environmental agency manages programs associated with solid waste/recycling, water resources and air quality. Staff also monitors private wells and investigates general complaints involving the environment.

Air resources conducts monitoring and modeling to help maintain compliance with state and federal air quality standards. They also enforce and regulate air pollution sources through permits and other activities.

Water Resources

The Water Resources section manages programs associated with groundwater, including the administration of the Kansas Water Appropriation Act; the Water Transfer Act; and intensive groundwater use control areas. It also conducts groundwater modeling and data analysis.

The program samples the water in 102 public drinking water supply lakes for pesticides, with a special emphasis on atrazine. Pesticides can enter the human body through inhalation or by eating contaminated food, and long-term exposure can result in chronic health problems.

The NEKES program designs, approves and permits all onsite private wastewater management systems in five counties in northeast Kansas. It also provides training for onsite system installers and holds an annual conference for them. The Hazardous Waste Permits Program administers Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle C permits, as well as RCRA corrective action sites. The department also handles information on food sanitation/service, carbon monoxide, lead, corrosive hazardous waste, and public water supply water analysis reports and facility KDHE inspection reports.

Air Resources

The state known as the wheat state is plagued with air pollution from car engines, factories and power plants combusting fuel. These combustion sites release gases and chemicals into the air that cause health issues from dry coughing to lung infections.

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a major contributor to ground-level ozone which damages cars, buildings and makes lakes and streams unsuitable for fish. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can poison people if levels are too high.

The department is tasked with inspecting businesses that are required to comply with environmental regulations. If companies are found to be violating rules, they are urged to implement strategies to come into compliance with the law. Staff offer assistance through a hotline, email communication, on-site visits and training events. The department also offers a program that allows small business owners to apply for free and confidential help if they need it. This is done through the Pollution Prevention Institute.

Hazardous Waste

The state of Kansas closely follows the guidelines and rulings of the federal EPA regarding hazardous waste. The Hazardous Waste Permits Section is responsible for implementing RCRA Subtitle C regulations, as well as many related statutory provisions.

Some examples of common household hazardous waste include oil-based paint, battery acid, corrosive materials, and pesticides. These can be disposed of safely with the proper disposal procedures. It is important to store these materials properly, and to separate flammable and poisonous substances.

Generators of certain types of HHW must follow strict segregation and storage requirements, as well as disposal procedures. These include identifying potential hazards, obtaining labels, and separating the substances into different containers.

In addition, the KS Environmental Agency requires generators to be aware of what constitutes a hazardous waste. This involves a detailed list of criteria that must be met to be considered a hazardous waste, including if it is toxic to the environment or human health.

Open Burning

Generally, residential open burning is allowed in Kansas when a burn permit has been issued and the weather conditions are appropriate. However, the permit holder must follow the state air quality regulations and local ordinances when conducting open burning.

Before burning, always check the current ozone forecast on SkyCast for your area. No open burning will be allowed if the ozone alert is orange or red. Also, be sure to check with your city office or fire department for specific restrictions.

During the burn permit period, residents may only burn one organic pile per property (yard waste generated on-site such as tree limbs, leaves and weeds). Residents cannot burn trash, tires, wire insulation or any other materials that produce dense smoke, noxious odors or hazardous air pollutants. In addition, residents must be present during the burn and supervise the fire until it is extinguished. Local jurisdictions have the discretion to adopt more restrictive ordinances or resolutions governing agricultural open burning.

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