Weekly News - May 14, 2018
05/14/2018 - Weekly KRWA E-News
More than 2,000 Injection Wells Improperly Permitted in Kansas
In a Feb. 2 report, the KCC found 1,007 permits for 2,111 injection wells that were approved despite public notices with inadequate public comment periods. The investigation found that the erroneous public notices were provided to the KCC staff, but the errors were not detected as part of the review process. Kansas Corporation Commission in November ordered an internal investigation of more than 4,000 saltwater injection oil well permits approved since October 2008, the year the KCC changed the public comment period to be cited in published public notices for proposed injection wells from 15 to 30 days. For now, the KCC is mum about any steps taken to ensure that staff reviews the content of injection permit applications so that they conform to established policy. Linda Berry, public information officer for the KCC, said staff could not comment because the docket on the applications was still open.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission Issues New Directive
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued a directive last week to the operators of 23 wastewater disposal wells to reduce their disposal volumes in response to recent earthquakes north of Oklahoma City. The commission says average daily quantities disposed into wells within 10 miles of the earthquake activity are being reduced by 20 percent or by 11,226 barrels a day. In addition, well operators that have reduced well depths to avoid injecting too close to the basement rock will be required to verify the disposal well's integrity.
Hays R9 Ranch Project Moves One Step Closer
As indicated during a meeting with Governor Colyer’s office in February, KDA’s Division of Water Resources has released a draft master order approving a change-order application that would convert water use on the city-owned property from agricultural to municipal. The approval is not yet final. A draft has been made available for public review, and likely will initiate public hearings in Edwards County, said Hays City Manager Toby Dougherty. “We are extremely pleased that the order’s been drafted and sent out for public review and comment,” Dougherty said. “This is a significant milestone in the R9 project. It’s taken us about three years to get here. We’ve had a lot of small milestones along the way, but this was the first really significant milestone in the process.” The project involves conversion of several irrigation rights near Kinsley for public water supply and piping water to Hays and Russell. Approval of a final change-order will trigger the next regulatory phase of the project — obtaining permission to transfer water such a distance.
Commitment to Monetizing Municipal Waste Boosts Renewable Energy Sector
A ribbon cutting was held at the Warrior Biogas Project near Dodge City with a reception that followed at Boot Hill Museum. The project is an example of what happens when community leaders have a vision to improve the environment and benefit from the commitment. Sen. Jerry Moran, who spoke at the event, stated that the project was an example of ingenuity that could generate money while being environmentally friendly. “To my knowledge no one is doing this,” Moran said. “You do things in a community not to benefit yourself but to help others in your community. This is an example of what we do to solve problems. Kansans have great common sense. We care about the end results. It’s not just about us today but for those who come later.” The $9 million project, cleans raw gas generated by the city’s wastewater treatment plant into biogas that is sold as an environmentally-friendly fuel. The raw gas is generated from municipal and industrial wastewater from Dodge City.
KDHE Welcomes Deputy Secretary of Public Affairs
Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Jeff Andersen announced last week that Theresa Freed has joined KDHE to serve in a newly-created position of Deputy Secretary of Public Affairs. Theresa served as the Communications Director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) for five years, and prior to that, served as Public Information Officer for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. Freed will lead the team of communications professionals at KDHE, including Director of Communications Gerald Kratochvil and Public Information Officers Kara Titus and J.C. Reeves. She will also oversee the legislative division, which includes Legislative Liaison Liz Dunn.
Students Helping People Save Water One Barrel at a Time
Olathe North High School students recently gave presentations to local residents, showing them how to use a rain barrel and the potential environmental impacts of using one to collect rainwater for lawn and garden irrigation. “We talk about water conservation and the drought that seems to be ongoing,” said Marsha Skoczek, facilitator of the Geoscience Academy. “(The students) do water quality monitoring in our neighboring stream, and that ties in why it’s important to reduce runoff and not wash into the stream fertilizers and salt and whatever’s lying on the ground.” The program has been made possible with a $17,800 grant from Johnson County’s Stormwater Management Program.
Dog Rescued from Colorado Wastewater Treatment Plant
Gidget, a 2-year-old English mastiff led astray by an escape-prone hound dog, is happy to be home, but still stinks after being found stranded in muck at a wastewater treatment plant in Colorado.
KRWA Training Calendar
May 22-23: Iola (Session Filled)
Programmable Logic Controllers
May 24: Independence
Complying with Drinking Water Regulations
May 30-31: Manhattan (Session Filled)
Basic Electrial Maintenance and Troubleshooting
June 6-7: Tonganoxie
Understanding and Troubleshooting Electrical Motors and Variable Speed Drives
As expected, storm activity over the last two weeks has led to some limited improvements in drought-related conditions in portions of northeast and north-central Kansas, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Locally heavy rains (3-to-5 inches) impacted those areas leading to a reduction in areas labeled as experiencing “moderate drought.” However, the vast majority of the state has shown no improvement, due to increasing precipitation deficits. Temperatures have been well above normal with maximum daily temperatures exceeding 90°F, with record breaking temperatures in some locations. Dryness during the past 30 to 60 days has led to low streamflows and many rivers and creeks are currently flowing well below normal levels. Last week's USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin reports that April was the tenth-driest on record in Kansas. In what may be considered to be a hopeful sign, the NOAA/CPC issued a final La Niña Advisory last week, with an apparent end to La Niña conditions in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Most of their forecast models predict ENSO-neutral conditions to continue at least through the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2018. However, as fall and winter approach, many of their models predict an increasing chance for El Niño. La Niña is associated with warmer than normal ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, while El Niño is associated with cooler than normal ocean temperatures. Both phenomena can have global impacts on weather patterns. The latest NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) favors a rainy conditions. The latest CPC 6–10-day outlook favors a range of below-normal temperatures in northwest Kansas to below above-normal temperatures in southeast Kansas, with above normal precipitation statewide.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central Region and Southern Region