The Organic Chemistry Unit is one of three sections found within the Environmental Chemistry Section of the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories (KHEL). The Organic Chemistry Unit is composed of volatile chemistry, semi-volatile chemistry, and environmental microbiology. Established over half a century ago, the laboratory is certified by the U.S.-EPA to perform chemical analytical testing of public drinking water as mandated by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) and in accordance with the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The Organic Chemistry Unit provides testing to over 1,000 water systems in Kansas, resulting in more than 40,000 tests done annually. In addition, the laboratory provides testing for Native American Tribes located within Kansas, as well as Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and McConnell Air Force Base. Organic Chemistry tests for over 200 chemicals on a routine basis and has the capability of handling special requests for certain analytes. The unit also performs chemical testing on all surface water in the State of Kansas in coordination with the Bureau of Environmental Field Services (BEFS) with the goal of monitoring the rivers, streams, and lakes of Kansas for the presence of chemicals.
The unit also works in close coordination with other bureaus within the agency, including the Bureau of Water, Bureau of Environmental Remediation, Bureau of Waste Management, and District Field Offices, providing testing for volatile chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other semi-volatile chemicals in both water and soil. Testing is accomplished through an array of instrumentation including GC/MS ion trap, GC/MS quadrupole technology, gas chromatography utilizing electron capture (ECD) and nitrogen phosphorus (NPD) detectors, and the screening of select water sources utilizing atrazine immunoassay.
The Organic Chemistry Unit is proud of its mission and role in keeping the drinking water, rivers, streams, and lakes of Kansas safe for the use and enjoyment of the citizens of Kansas.