Continuing Planning Process & Water Quality Management
Planning for Clean Water in Kansas
- Continuing Planning Process
- Water Quality Management Plan
- How are the Plans Related?
- History of Planning Efforts
What is the Kansas Continuing Planning Process?
Written to meet the requirements of Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the interpreting regulations at 40 CFR §130.5, the Kanas Continuing Planning Process (CPP) document describes the processes undertaken by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) in its aim to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in Kansas waters in order to restore and maintain their chemical, physical, and biological integrity.
These processes should be well structured to facilitate consistent application yet flexible enough to incorporate successes, adapt to changing priorities, adjust to revised and new regulations, address emergent water quality issues, and incorporate updated objectives related to State water planning performed by the Kansas Water Office.
Although it mentions many programs, and provides links to detailed program information when relevant, this 2021 Kanas CPP is not a comprehensive accounting of all the processes used by KDHE in managing its CWA programs. Instead it aims to concisely describe the information required by CWA Section 303(e):
- Development of effluent limitations and schedules of compliance.
- Incorporation of elements of CWA section 208 & 209 planning.
- Development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).
- Updating and maintaining WQM plans.
- Assuring adequate authority for intergovernmental cooperation.
- Establishing and assuring adequate implementation of new or revised water quality standards.
- Assuring adequate controls over the disposition of residual waste from water treatment processing.
- Addressing order of priority for waste treatment works construction.
- Determining priority of permit issuance.
What is the Kansas Water Quality Management Plan?
The Kansas Water Quality Management (WQM) plan is written to meet the requirements of sections 208 and 209 of the Clean Water Act (CWA). In 1972, section 208 provided funding and a mechanism for in-depth study and evaluation of Kansas waters culminating with a plan for water quality management for waters of the state.
At its core, the 1979 Kansas WQM plan and the accompanying 1984 revision sets out to identify and characterize water quality concerns across the state and establish a broad plan, including prioritizing implementation actions and estimating costs, for addressing those concerns.
The WQM plan assists in directing implementation efforts and draws on water quality assessments to identify point and nonpoint water quality problems, consider alternative solutions, and recommend control measures. The primary WQM plan elements as required by the interpreting regulation 40 CFR 130.6 are:
- Total maximum daily loads (TMDLs)
- Effluent limitations
- Municipal and industrial waste treatment
- Nonpoint source management and control
- Management agencies
- Implementation measures
- Dredge or fill program
- Basin plans
How are the Kansas Continuing Planning Process & Water Quality Management Plans Related?
The Kansas Continuing Planning Process (CPP) and Water Quality Management (WQM) plan are interrelated. The Kansas WQM plan establishes measurable objectives for protecting and improving water quality and the Kansas CPP describes the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's core processes that will be applied to meet those objectives. Each document should inform the other with updates to the Kansas WQM plan reflected in the next revision of the Kansas CPP and vice versa. Importantly, the Kansas WQM plan is where nonpoint source management and control is planned and where KDHE's 319 program processes are described. Additionally, the essential roles that the KDHE surface water monitoring and underground injection control programs play in meeting Kansas WQM plan objectives are described in detail in the Kansas WQM plan.
Contemporary Planning Efforts
In 2020, the Bureau of Water (BOW) initiated a review of the 1998 Continuing Planning Process (CPP), the 1979 Kansas Water Quality Management (WQM) plan and the 1984 WQM plan revision as the first step in planning updates. Clean Water Act requirements for the CPP at 303(e) are of a narrower scope than those for a WQM plan at sections 208 and 209, yet they specify inclusion of the process for updating and maintaining the WQM plan. Thus, it was determined that updates to the CPP would be made first, with a goal of submitting an updated document to U.S. EPA Region 7 by mid-year 2021. With that goal met, planning for the updates to the Kansas WQM plan will take place over remaining months of 2021. Development, writing and editing of the Kansas WQM plan will occur primarily during the first half of 2022 with a target roll out date of October 1, 2022.
Historical Planning Efforts
Established in 1948, the Federal Pollution Control Act (FPCA) was the first major U.S. law to address water pollution. Increasing public awareness of the importance of controlling water pollution led to sweeping amendments in 1972 of the FPCA when the law became commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA). Among the 1972 amendments were mandates for the development of planning documents to be used to coordinate and direct activities related to water quality management. Specifically, CWA sections 208, 209, and 303(e) require an areawide waste treatment management plan, basin planning, and a continuing planning process, respectively.
Authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the CWA in Kansas, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) submitted its first Continuing Planning Process (CPP) document to EPA in 1973. Subsequently approved, the 1973 Kansas CPP provided a strategy for bringing municipal and industrial point source dischargers into compliance through application of best practicable control technology. The 1973 Kansas CPP was updated in 1976 to describe the scope of the study for conducting sections 208 and 209 planning including identifying a Technical Planning Committee to undertake the process that would ultimately culminate with the 1979 Kanas Water Quality Management (WQM) plan.
Following a two-year development period where KDHE coordinated input from other State water agencies, the Kansas WQM plan was endorsed by the Kansas Legislature via Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) No. 1640 in April 1979. A revision that was principally a review and assessment of the current water quality policies and water quality condition was made to the Kansas WQM plan in January 1984.
The Kansas CPP underwent a comprehensive update in 1998 to fulfill the terms of a consent decree resulting from a complaint filed by the Kansas Natural Resource Council and the Sierra Club in 1995 against the EPA compelling it to approve or disapprove the Kansas CPP relative to Section 303(e). Kansas intervened and a consent decree approving a settlement was made on April 13, 1998 where KDHE agreed to provide an updated CPP to the court. Subsequently approved by EPA, the 1998 Kansas CPP met the requirements of Section 303(e) and served to reestablish the direction of water quality management processes in Kansas.