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2000 Kansas Water Assessment

(305(b) REPORT)
KDHE Home - Division of Environment - BEFS - KS Water Quality

March 31, 2000
Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Environment
Bureau of Environmental Field Services
Forbes Field, Building 283, Topeka, Kansas 66620-0001

* Part I: Executive Summary/Overview
* Part II: Background
* Part III: Surface Water Assessment
* Part IV: Groundwater
* Appendix A: TSS Concentrations in Kansas Basins
* Appendix B: Stream Assessment Protocol
* Appendix C: Clean Lakes and Wetlands

This report, the 2000 Kansas Water Quality Assessment, also known as the 305(b) Report, is the biennial assessment of the state`s surface water quality as required by 33 USC 466 et seq, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act. The guidance by U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the preparation of this report provided three options for reporting. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) elected the second option which is to provide in even years, an electronic report accompanied by an abbreviated narrative report. The abbreviated narrative report contains only the information required by law that has changed from the last report (1998 Kansas Water Quality Assessment (305(b) Report), April 1998) and a simple reference to that report.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment assessed the water quality for the period of 1998 -1999, of 18,236 miles of streams, all of which were considered monitored. This report represents an increase assessment of 2,616 miles from the 1998 305(b) Report. This increase in assessed miles is due to: 1) differences in mileage associated with rotational sites, and 2) increased monitoring in the Marais des Cygnes and Missouri River Basin in support of the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loadings (TMDLs). A total of 188,508 lake acres were assessed. Of these, 175,454 acres were monitored and the conditions of an additional 13,052 lake acres were evaluated using best professional judgment.

The 2000 Kansas Water Quality Assessment Report includes two years of data (1998-1999) and only acute aquatic life use support application. This assessment is consistent with the 1998 US EPA guidance and reflects the manner in which most states have prepared past 305(b) reports. The assessments contained in this report are consistent with the application of the numeric 1999 Kansas surface water quality standards with the exception of total suspended solids where a basin summary is included for streams for the two year period.

The major causes of nonsupport for streams, in order of prevalence, are pathogen indicators (fecal coliform), organic enrichment, sulfates, chlorides, and metals. The major causes for lake impairments were sediments, turbidity, nutrients/eutrophication, and taste and odor problems.

Sources responsible for widespread pollutant loadings and beneficial use impairments of streams include agriculture (non-irrigated and irrigated crop production, and intensive animal feeding operations), natural sources, habitat modification, municipal point sources, and groundwater withdrawal. Major sources for lake impairment included natural sources and agriculture.

Of the assessed lake acreage in Kansas, 53% were stable over time, while slightly more than 27% appeared to be undergoing measurable eutrophication over time. Almost twelve percent of total lake acres showed appreciable improvement in trophic state condition during this reporting cycle. Municipal point sources, natural sources, and agriculture were the primary contributing factors to lake eutrophication.

The changes from the 1998 305(b) Report in the cumulative mileage rated as partially and fully supporting may be attributable to random fluctuations in climatological conditions. Specifically, increased rainfall and/or the number of rainfall events may have intensified nonpoint source impacts on water quality. Other variables may include application of total recoverable metal criteria throughout the entire state and the change in rotational sites assessed during this reporting period. Because of the use of rotational site no comparison can be made with the 1998 305(b) Report.

High nitrate concentrations accounted for about 76% of the documented exceedences of the federal drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) during 1997 and 1999 for the groundwater monitoring network. The majority of the samples with excessive levels of nitrate were obtained from shallow wells (less than 100 feet) or in wells located in areas of sandy soil and high water tables. Other isolated concerns of groundwater contamination included the presence of volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, petroleum products and/or bacteria. The major sources of these contaminants included active industrial facilities, spills, leaking storage tanks, mineral extraction activities, and agricultural activities.

In Kansas, approximately 68% of public water supplies use groundwater as their only source of water. Five percent of public water supplies use a combination of groundwater and surface water. The majority of MCL violations of public water supplies were due to high levels of bacteria and nitrate. The bacteria exceedences observed are not considered to be reflective of ambient groundwater.

The imposition of more stringent permits limits and the resulting upgrades of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities continue to result in notable improvements in surface water quality. As the number of point sources causing or contributing to significant water quality impairments continues to decline, future attention will necessarily shift to the remaining sources, primarily nonpoint source related water quality problems. It is anticipated that watershed pollution control efforts, predicated on the development of TMDLs and on the allocation of allowable pollutant loadings among point, nonpoint, and natural sources, will play an increasingly important role in the abatement of surface water pollution and improvement in water quality in Kansas. By June 30, 2000 Kansas will have established TMDLs for 48% of the water bodies listed in the 1998 Kansas 303(d) List.

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