For Immediate Release
March 21, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Kansas Earns EPA Recognition for Water Permit Efforts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Kansas for achieving its goals for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) priority permits and permit issuance rates under the Clean Water Act. This will help restore and maintain the health of water bodies and watersheds in Kansas.

Kansas is one of 44 states authorized by EPA to administer the Federal NPDES permits in lieu of EPA in their states. The permits are issued to municipalities, confined animal feeding operations and other businesses and industries that discharge treated wastewater to waters of the state of Kansas.

An NPDES permit is designed to protect the state-specified uses of a waterbody by specifying the level of pollutant a facility may safely discharge.

“We are pleased to learn that Kansas was selected for this recognition,” stated Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. “The NPDES process is one of the most important tools we have for ensuring surface water quality.”

Kansas was one of nine states in the U.S. that met their priority permit goal of 95 percent issuance rate during the past two years. A priority permit is any permit that has been expired more than two years. These permits are potentially of greater environmental concern. Kansas has achieved a 100 percent issuance rate each year since the Priority Permit initiative was launched.

Also, Kansas continues to meet NPDES permit backlog goals of less than ten percent. Permits that have been continued beyond their expiration date are considered backlogged. KDHE is responsible for permit issuance, compliance review, inspection and enforcement actions for more than 1,300 individual NPDES-permitted facilities. Those permits must be renewed on a maximum five-year cycle.

In addition, KDHE is responsible for issuance of more than 3,000 General NPDES permits for activities such as construction site runoff, and more than 2,800 permits for wastewater facilities that do not discharge to waters of the state. Thus, on average the department must evaluate and re-issue over 1,400 permits every year in addition to developing and issuing permits for any new facilities.