The Orphan Sites Program is funded annually from the State Water Plan, i.e., the State Water Resources Planning Act (K.S.A. 82a-901 et seq.). The overall objective of the Orphan Sites Program program is to provide a mechanism to ensure that the water resources of the State of Kansas are of sufficient quantity and quality to meet the current and future needs of its citizens. The program is based on the "Water 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. Any person determined responsible is still responsible for the repayment of the costs of the clean-up work."
The Site Response Unit is responsible for evaluating sites with actual or potential releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants that may impact human health and/or the environment within the State of Kansas. Citizens' complaints, new site discoveries, and local government referrals are assessed using money obtained through a grant agreement from the Environmental Protection Agency. Sites that have been properly assessed by the program are then referred to a state or federal program for appropriate response action.
The Site Response Unit also provides field support for the other sections within BER. Staff in the unit are highly trained to properly assess contaminated sites and have a variety of field equipment available, including drilling rigs, Geoprobe units, a mobile laboratory, geophysical tools, an x-ray fractionator, a groundwater sampling trailer, and other equipment.