Orphan Sites Unit

Orphan Sites Program

In a state-funded response, KDHE commits resources from the State Water Resources Planning Act (K.S.A. 82a-901 et seq. (PDF) to take the lead in investigating and cleaning up contaminated sites. These are sites where it is known or suspected contamination that is causing a threat to human health or the environment; and where a responsible party is not cleaning up contamination because the responsible party is unknown, the department has not demonstrated the responsible party's responsibility, the responsible party does not acknowledge responsibility, or the responsible party is unable or unwilling to proceed. These guidelines are based on the "Water Pollution Remediation" policy which "require[s] the State to initiate remedial procedures when a responsible party is unknown or cannot or will not undertake the necessary action." The policy also requires the State to pursue cost recovery actions against a responsible party for assessment and cleanup work taken by KDHE.

A site can move into and out of the state fund response process any time from site discovery through case closure. Sites are recommended based on environmental and health concerns, community priorities, partnership opportunities, and a lack of alternative funding choices. Work is either conducted by KDHE staff or by a state-procured contractor.

The Orphan Sites Program funds finance a variety of activities, including site investigations, design and installation of remedial systems, provision of emergency water to residents with contaminated wells, installation of treatment systems to remove pollutants from groundwater, contracts for construction oversight, operation and maintenance of treatment facilities, long-term monitoring, and other remediation activities. Addressing environmentally contaminated sites that are not otherwise being addressed promotes the reuse, redevelopment, and utilization of properties that are cleaned up by the program.