EPA in Kansas

Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Facility, Johnson County Wastewater, Johnson County, Kansas – Public Notice

EPA to Hold Public Hearing Regarding Objection to Draft NPDES Permit

Notice of Public Hearing regarding EPA objection to the Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Facility Draft NPDES permit, based on contribution to sanitary sewer overflows, failure to meet full secondary treatment limits, and standard conditions not being as stringent as federal regulations (public notice issuance date: Dec. 31, 2016)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is announcing, pursuant to 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Sections 123.44, 124.10 and 124.12(c) and (d), that it will hold a Public Hearing to allow interested persons to submit oral or written comments and data regarding EPA’s specific objections to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the Johnson County Wastewater, Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Facility. The Douglas L. Smith Facility is located in Johnson County, Kansas, and is assigned NPDES permit number KS0119601.


The Public Hearing will be held February 2, 2017, starting at 1:00 p.m. at the EPA Region 7 Office at 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, Kansas 66219.


KDHE is the permitting authority for NPDES permits issued in the state of Kansas, pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). KDHE issues NPDES permits through its Bureau of Water Division. Without such a permit, discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States by a point source is generally prohibited.

Under the CWA, states are required to submit draft or proposed NPDES permits to EPA for review. EPA has the authority to review a state’s draft or proposed NPDES permits for compliance with the requirements of the CWA, and to submit to the state its comments, objections and/or recommendations regarding the draft permits. During 2009, KDHE sent to EPA for review many draft CWA NPDES permits, including the draft permit for the facility listed above.

On Nov. 2, 2009, EPA issued a specific objection on the Douglas L. Smith Facility permit. EPA’s objection was based on the following substantive issues: (1) EPA Region 7 objected to the draft permit because it did not contain limits for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS) which comply with the secondary treatment standards set forth in 40 CFR 133 for all discharges from Outfall 002A1; (2) The permit did not contain limits for E. coli that comply with the water quality criteria for Indian Creek; (3) The permit authorized bypasses from Outfall 002A1 without compliance with the requirements of 40 CFR 122.41(m); (4) KDHE’s Standard Condition (Paragraph 9) was less stringent than the federal requirement for approval of a bypass, as set forth at 40 CFR 122.41(m); and (5) The permit allowed for transfers of sewage to the  Kansas City, Mo. (KCMO) separate sanitary system when the Interceptor does not have the capacity to accept flows from the Blue River South Basin. Accordingly, the sewage transferred by Johnson County to the Interceptor Line during wet weather events will not all reach the Blue River Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for treatment, and will inevitably cause and/or contribute to the sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) discharges within KCMO.

EPA is required by CWA Section 402(d)(4) and 40 CFR Section 123.44(e) to hold a hearing on its specific objections, whenever the state requests such a hearing within 90 days of receipt of EPA’s specific objection. In the case of the listed facility, KDHE timely requested a Public Hearing regarding EPA’s objection.

Following EPA’s objection, KDHE and Johnson County worked together to address the issues raised in the objection. KDHE will put on Public Notice a draft permit for the Douglas L. Smith Facility that it believes addresses EPA’s objection. EPA will consider the revised draft permit and any other information submitted during the hearing process to determine whether the issues raised in the objection have been adequately resolved.


All persons interested in EPA’s specific objection to the draft Douglas L. Smith Facility permit are invited to attend the Public Hearing. If you wish to contribute comments, statements, data, and other information to EPA regarding the specific objections, you may: (1) Mail or hand deliver written comments to EPA at this address: Chief, Water Infrastructure Management Branch, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7, Mail code: WWPD/WIMB, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, KS 66219; (2) Submit written comments electronically to EPA at curtis.glenn@epa.gov; (3) Fax comments to 913-551-7726; or (4) Present oral comments or written materials at the hearing.

The hearing will be presided over by the EPA Regional Administrator’s authorized representative, the EPA Hearing Officer. If you are interested in attending the hearing, EPA encourages you to pre-register at least 72 hours before the hearing via an email notice to porter.donna@epa.gov, or by calling 913-551-7929 or toll-free at 1-800-223-0425. Pre-registering for the hearing will allow EPA to improve meeting planning and maximize opportunities for interested parties to provide oral comments. You may request in advance to speak at the hearing or request to speak when you arrive at the hearing.  EPA will generally assign speaking slots in the order received, but may make adjustments to the speaking order to accommodate requests to speak within the time available.

The hearing will begin with brief presentations by EPA, followed by oral comments from interested persons. Oral comments will generally be limited to 10 minutes each to ensure more opportunities for interested persons to speak. Though every effort will be made to accommodate all requests for a speaking time, EPA cannot guarantee that all persons will have an opportunity to contribute oral comments. As noted above, EPA also encourages you to provide written comments.


EPA has a record of the basis for the objection to the Douglas L. Smith Facility permit, including copies of KDHE’s 2009 draft permit and fact sheet, EPA’s specific objection letter, and other relevant documents, including KDHE’s revised draft permit and fact sheet for the Douglas L. Smith Facility. Electronic copies of these documents can be found online. Hard copies of these documents are also on file and may be inspected at the following address anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday: EPA Region 7, KDHE Hearing Record, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, Kansas. You may also contact EPA Region 7 at 913-551-7929 (Ms. Donna Porter) or toll-free at 1-800-223-0425, or by writing to EPA Region 7 at the above address (under Hearing Procedures and Comments).


The period for public comment on EPA’s specific objections will close upon the end of the Public Hearing. The EPA Hearing Officer may extend the comment period for written statements and data by so stating at the hearing. A tape recording or written transcript of the hearing, and all written comments, data and other information EPA receives, will be maintained by EPA and be available to the public at the EPA Region 7 Office, as described above.

Following the Public Hearing, and after consideration of all written and oral comments and data and the requirements of the CWA and applicable regulations, the EPA Regional Administrator’s designee will reaffirm the original objection, modify the terms of the objection, or withdraw the objection, pursuant to 40 CFR Section 123.44(g). EPA will notify KDHE, the permit applicant, and all persons providing written or oral comments (if a mailing or email address has been provided) of its determination. If EPA either reaffirms the original objection or modifies the terms of the objection, KDHE must, within 30 days of receipt of EPA’s determination, submit to EPA a revised permit which meets the terms of the remaining objection, or exclusive authority to issue the permit passes to EPA for one permit term. If EPA’s objection is withdrawn following the hearing, KDHE may proceed with the permit issuance process for the permit.


If you need a reasonable accommodation for a disability, please contact Jonathan Cooper at 913-551-7287 or toll-free at 1-800-223-0425. Please provide one-week advance notice prior to the relevant public hearing date for special requests not related to ongoing programs and services.