Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant

Public Notice

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is soliciting public comments regarding a remediation proposal for No Further Corrective Action Planned for two sites at the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (SFAAP) near De Soto, Kansas. The Sites of interest are Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) 01 Classification Yard and Area of Concern (AOC) 22 The Old Reclamation Yard. The Draft-Statements of Basis (SB) presents KDHE's preferred alternatives for the sites; however, KDHE may modify the alternative or select another response action based on new information or public comments.

The Draft SB documents and other information on the cleanup for the Sites are available for public review on this website, which includes the Administrative Record for SWMU 01 and AOC 22 or at the KDHE office in Topeka by contacting Margaret Townsend, Unit Chief at 785-296-8801.

KDHE will accept written comments on the SFAAP SWMU 01 draft SB, and AOC 22 draft SB from January 20 through February 18, 2022. A public meeting is not scheduled at this time but may be held virtually or in person if the public requests one in writing with a statement of issues to be discussed.

Public comments on the Draft SBs may be submitted to KDHE in writing during the 30-day period at the address listed, or by email. Comments sent by mail must be postmarked by February 18, 2022, and emails also must be received by 5 pm on February 18, 2022. All comments that are received by KDHE prior to the end of the public comment period will be addressed by KDHE in the Responsiveness Summary Section of the Final Decision and Response to Comments document. 

Responses by KDHE to public comments will also be sent to the person submitting the comment.  A copy of the finalized Statement of Basis and the Final Decision Document will be included in the Administrative Record for the sites.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment 
Bureau of Environmental Remediation 
Federal Facilities Unit
1000 SW Jackson Street, Suite 410 
Topeka, KS 6612

Site Background

The former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant (SFAAP) is located near DeSoto, Kansas, in the northwest corner of Johnson County. It is approximately 30 miles southwest of Kansas City, Kansas, and 16 miles east of Lawrence, Kansas. SFAAP includes approximately 9,065 acres and is primarily surrounded by agricultural land. It is bounded on the east by Spoon and Kill Creeks and on the west by Captain Creek (Figure 1). The plant consisted of production facilities, administrative and storage facilities, powerhouses, landfills, lagoons, ditches, burning grounds, sumps, projectile ranges, and waste treatment facilities. Most of the assets of the plant are no longer in active use.

The Army commissioned SFAAP in March 1942 to produce smokeless powder and other propellants. The propellants produced consisted of the base explosives: nitrocellulose (NC), nitroglycerine (NG), and nitroguanidine (NQ). The facility also produced certain other chemicals necessary to produce the explosives (e.g., nitric and sulfuric acids). NC and NG powder production began in March 1943. NC and NG production was carried out at various times between the 1940s and early 1970s. Only nitric acid, sulfuric acid, oleum (concentrated sulfuric acid), and NQ were manufactured between 1971 and 1992, with most of the installation in inactive status. The plant was declared excess in 1998 by the U.S. Army and the property was made available for sale. The property was formally sold to Sunflower Redevelopment, Inc. in 2005.

In August 1980, SFAAP submitted a notification of hazardous waste activity to obtain interim status for the treatment and storage of hazardous wastes. In December 1991, KDHE and the EPA jointly issued SFAAP an RCRA hazardous waste management permit, Parts I and II. Part I, administered by KDHE, authorizes the storage of hazardous wastes. Part II, administered by the EPA Region 7, required the investigation of releases from 49 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs). After Part II was issued in 1991, additional SWMUs and Areas of Concern (AOCs) were identified. An AOC is an area where hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents have been identified but are not linked to a specific solid waste management practice. There are currently 70 SWMUs and 25 AOCs at the former SFAAP. The Army completed several site-specific studies investigating the potential for releases of hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents at SFAAP (Law, 1996, USACHPPM, 1998).

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact:

Margaret Townsend 785-296-8801, KDHE-BER Project Manager