For Immediate Release
June 13, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Directs City of Baxter Springs to Improve Wastewater Treatment

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued an administrative order requiring the City of Baxter Springs to improve wastewater treatment processes in order to comply with permit requirements and state environmental laws.

KDHE issued the order in response to issues surrounding permit limitations on biochemical oxygen demand, or BOD; a measure of the potential of the wastewater to deplete the oxygen level in the receiving stream.

The order requires the city to hire a Kansas-licensed engineer to complete a study of the treatment plant’s capacity, review sludge buildup in the plant’s wastewater cells and if necessary, propose a schedule for sludge removal.

The city entered into a contract with an engineer on May 14 prior to receiving the order. In a June 8 letter, the city notified KDHE of its intent to appropriately address wastewater treatment issues. The department is continuing to follow up with the city.

The order also requires the city to choose one of three options for improving wastewater treatment, and to notify KDHE of its selection in writing by December 1. The options include:

Upon selecting an option, the city must then provide a plan to KDHE by April 2008 for making the necessary upgrades. The plan will be subject to KDHE approval.

The city can appeal the order by submitting a written request to KDHE by July 5.

Note to reporters: Faxed copies of the administrative order are available upon request by contacting Emily Nickel at 785-291-3684 or