Water Quality Division

The Department of Utilities - Water Quality Division responsibilities include monitoring and testing drinking water and treated wastewater for quality and for compliance with state and federal regulations. In addition to state and federal water monitoring requirements the Division monitors the drinking water for non-mandated properties in order to farther ensure the quality of the water delivered to our customers. The Division is also responsible for the Sanitary Sewer Use and Industrial Pretreatment Program. The Division operates from 3 state accredited laboratories located at the Kaw River Water Treatment Plant, Clinton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant and the Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Monitoring and Reporting

Federal and state regulations include procedures and schedules for the monitoring of water and reporting under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The City of Lawrence holds several National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits which are issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) under the authority of the CWA in order to control pollution from discharges into the waters of the United States. The Water Quality Division is responsible for monitoring these discharges to ensure the city meets permit requirements. 

Under the SDWA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) sets regulations for contaminants in the drinking water supply. The outcome of the regulatory process is either enforceable limits, called maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), which specify the concentration of a contaminant that is considered to have a "No Adverse Health Impact" or specifies a water treatment technique. The Water Quality Division is responsible for monitoring the drinking water for these contaminants to ensure they meet the criteria set by EPA.

The Water Quality Division monitors the physical, chemical and microbial characteristics of the drinking water and treated wastewater using methods and procedures mandated by EPA. The laboratories hold accreditation issued by the KDHE under the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). Under this accreditation the laboratories undergo biannual assessments conducted by KDHE officials and follow a set of national standards for good laboratory practice.

Sanitary Sewer Use and Industrial Pretreatment Program

The Sanitary Sewer Use and Industrial Pretreatment Program ordinance Chapter 19, Articles 5 and 6 have been in place since 1986. These ordinances apply to users of the City of Lawrence Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) and restrict the unlawful discharge of pollutants and industrial waste into the POTW.

The EPA under the authority of the Clean Water Act developed standards to control discharges into the sanitary sewer collection system. Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) must enforce these Federal pretreatment standards and establish a local pretreatment program.

The Water Quality Division is responsible for the management of the sanitary sewer use and industrial pretreatment program. Non-domestic users are surveyed and monitored to ensure that no unlawful discharges occur.  

One part of the Industrial Pretreatment Program focuses on industrial users known as Significant Industrial Users (SIUs). SIUs are identified by set criteria from the Federal pretreatment regulations and are required to hold a discharge permit issued by the Department. Presently, the SIUs are also required to conduct self-monitoring on their discharge to the POTW and submit these results  to the City for review. The Division conducts annual site inspections of each SIU.

The EPA and KDHE approves the City of Lawrence’s Pretreatment. Both EPA and KDHE audit the program on an ongoing basis. The Division is responsible for submitting reports about the program to these authorities.

The control of Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) is another component of the sewer use ordinance. Non-domestic food service establishments are required to install and properly maintain and operate grease traps in order to prevent waste containing grease in excessive amounts from entering the sewer pipes and causing blockages. The ordinance also requires oil and sand traps for commercial facilities to control any flammable wastes and/or other harmful ingredients from entering the POTW. The division is responsible for the enforcement of this ordinance.

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