Kansas’ environmental regulations strive to balance the prudent conservation of environmental resources and sensitivity to the operation of our industries. For environmental/regulatory questions relating to site selection, please contact the Kansas Department of Commerce and we will put you in touch with the appropriate Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) official to assist your company.
Kansas’ clean air is not only healthy. It also translates into simpler, less expensive requirements for industries considering a Kansas location. Apart from ozone-maintenance agreements in Wyandotte and Johnson counties, and an area of less than one square mile in Saline County, the entire state is an air quality attainment area. In fact, Kansas City is the first and largest metropolitan region in the country re-designated as an attainment area according to the federal clean air standards for ozone. Because of the state’s compliance with the national ambient air quality standards, air emissions quality restrictions are limited.
Water covers 520 square miles of Kansas. Even so, water quality and availability vary across the state. Most businesses requiring 10 acre-feet or less of water annually (3,258,500 gallons) from municipalities can be easily accommodated, as most Kansas municipalities have future growth needs factored into their water rights as well as their treatment and distribution systems.
Most of the state’s environmental regulations are administered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). That agency also has authority to issue many federal environmental permits. The KDHE’s main office is in Topeka with district offices throughout the state that can address questions involving air, water, waste and remediation. The district offices are located in Chanute, Wichita, Dodge City, Hays, Salina and Lawrence. The Surface Mining Office is located in Frontenac.
A few Kansas counties – Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee – also have their own environmental inspection bureaus. Wyandotte County has its own environmental agency through which many state permits are written and issued.
The most common types of permits are outlined in the chart within this section. If you think your business may need a permit, license or other approval from the KDHE, please contact that department before you start your business or project. If you are planning to purchase or acquire a business facility or structure, please check with the KDHE first, since not all permits, licenses and approvals are transferable from one owner to the next.
Obtaining Environmental Permits
Because many permits are industry and location specific, an initial meeting between your company, KDHE and an environmental consultant of your choice can serve as a valuable planning tool. The following process is generally used to obtain environmental permits:
- Company meets with KDHE to discuss its proposed operations.
- KDHE provides relevant permit/license applications.
- Company completes the application(s). Information such as detailed engineering reports, specifications and quantity and characteristics of anticipated waste are requested. Application(s) and supporting documentation are submitted to KDHE.
- KDHE reviews the application(s). Information that is justified as being confidential by the company is kept confidential by KDHE.
If the proposed waste is a federally regulated pollutant, such as a hazardous waste, portions of the draft permit are sent to the EPA
- After being reviewed for completeness and approved by KDHE (and the EPA if necessary), the project is usually subject to a 30-day public notice period. Requirements on when construction may begin vary depending on permit types. This detail should be clarified with KDHE early in the permit process.
Help is Available
In many cases, the best technical assistance can be found through the KDHE’s network of district offices located in:
- Chanute – (620) 431-2390
- Wichita – (316) 337-6041
- Dodge City – (620) 682-7940
- Hays – (785) 261-6100
- Salina – (785) 827-9639
- Lawrence – (785) 842-4600
- Frontenac – (620) 231-8540 (Surface Coal Mining Only)
Compliance inspectors in each office, specializing in waste, water, air and remediation, can work with company officials to ensure that the proper procedures are followed to obtain the appropriate permits.
KDHE also provides specialized assistance for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program is operated on behalf of KDHE by the Pollution Prevention Institute at Kansas State University.
This program is designed to help small businesses understand the permitting process and learn about options for preventing pollution without having to obtain a permit and to provide on-site consulting on a variety of environmental issues.
This program can be accessed at (800) 578-8898.