The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) joined Governor Laura Kelly today as October 18, 2022, was proclaimed the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act in Kansas. The signing recognizes the state’s investments in restoring and maintain chemical, physical and biological integrity of the State’s waters. This has been central to the progress in improving the quality and health of our rivers, streams, reservoirs, wetlands and watersheds.
“The success of the Kansas clean water programs is a tribute to the past commitment and perseverance of individuals in state service who built the programs, hired the staff, established the policies and regulations and set the standards for facility design and water quality expectations,” said Tom Stiles, Director of Bureau of Water at KDHE. “Engineers, ecologists, hydrologists, geologists and environmental scientists have melded into a talented state workforce dedicated to improving water quality in Kansas.”
Kansas was one of the early adopters of administering the Act, beginning with creating water monitoring and permitting programs for communities. Followed by establishing a non-point source program to reduce pollutants coming off agricultural lands. Later adding the State Revolving Loan Fund to provide financial assistance to small municipalities. Finally, working in a more practical way with the regulated community to reduce the delivery of contaminants to the waters of the state.
The investments made in the name of clean water have produced many successes:
- Conditions at lower flows in our Kansas streams are improved because of the treatment of sewage by our municipalities.
- Wastewater coming out of treatment plants is disinfected, enhancing the recreation potential of our streams and reservoirs.
- Nutrients have been reduced in 75 of the 120 mechanical treatment plants serving cities of all sizes.
- We’ve seen the return of aquatic life and animals, such as mussels and otters, relying on streams as their habitat.
- Since 1989, over 530 loans for $1.5 billion have been made to cities and towns to improve wastewater collection and treatment.
Clean water plays a vital role in the economic prosperity of Kansas by providing a sustainable resource for agriculture, supplying municipal growth and industrial development, supporting a robust tourism industry and sustaining our unique aquatic environments.
KDHE remains committed to protecting and improving the health and environment of all Kansans. Together we can work toward achieving our water quality standards to fully realize the economic and ecological use of our Kansas waters.
Learn more about how you can help Kansas moving forward into the next 50 years: kdhe.ks.gov/water.