Check out our 2018 Annual Report to view some of our current and recent project work.

 


Current Projects

» Water/Wastewater

Community Sustainability Tool

WSU Environmental Finance Center's Community Sustainability Tool helps small communities predict the affordability of investment in water infrastructure upgrades.

WSU EFC's Community Sustainability Tool is specifically designed for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska communities. The tool is a dynamic financial modeling program that uses information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and other sources to predict the affordability of water and wastewater utility investments for communities using estimates of income, population, employment trends and other information. Learn more and download the tool

Questions about this project? Contact: Brian Bohnsackbrian.bohnsack@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6421

Work in Water

Our innovative career stewardship program that advances water careers in KS, IA, NE and MO communities.

Water Utilitiess across the U.S. report that there is an inadequate pool of interested and qualified employees to meet present and future replacement needs for operators and other utility staff. In order to meet the future water workforce demand, the EFC and their project partners developed the Work in Water program though an EPA Environmental Education Grant. Learn more »

The next phase of this exciting project is to take the Work in Water program to all EPA Region 7 states and train utility staff to conduct their own Work in Water Experiences and internships. Mini-grants will be awarded in each state for Utilitiess to host their first events. 

Questions about this project? Contact: Tonya Bronleewe, tonya.bronleewe@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6638

KDHE Capacity Development

A training program designed to teach Kansas municipal officials and utility staff about the managerial and financial aspects of running a water system.

The Kansas Capacity Development project seeks to build capacity for municipal officials and utility staff that make financial decisions regarding their community's water utility. The project includes conducting interactive trainings across Kansas, on topics such as utility asset management, financial planning, and promotion of inter-local cooperation.

With our partners at Kansas Municipal Utilitiess and Ranson Citycode Financial, we facilitate the following training topics:

View training calendar »

Questions about this project? Contact: Michele Pughmichele.pugh@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6629

Testing for Chemical Removal of Phosphorus

Analyzing the feasibility and cost of chemical phosphorus removal for wastewater treatment systems across Kansas.

As part of an effort to reduce phosphorus in surface waters, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment contracted with the EFC to test chemicals for removal of phosphorus at municipal wastewater treatment plants. Our sewer and septic systems have a significant role in protecting waterways from excess phosphorus because they treat and recycle large quantities of wastewater. The more phosphorus these systems are able to remove, the healthier we can make our water ecosystems.

As phosphorus limits are incorporated into wastewater treatment plant regulations, a need was identified for on-site training for wastewater operators. The EFC staff visited 10 wastewater treatment plants across Kansas to train operators and analyze the feasibility of phosphorus removal using chemicals. Our staff used a technique called "jar testing" to determine the effectiveness of chemical removal of phosphorus, and the optimal amounts of chemical to be used to reduce phosphorus to prescribed concentrations.

Questions about this project? Contact: Michele Pughmichele.pugh@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6629

CLASIC (Community Life-cycle Analysis for Stormwater Infrastructure Costs)

CLASIC stands for Community Life-cycle Analysis for Stormwater Infrastructure Costs. CLASIC is an online tool intended to support stormwater infrastructure decisions using life-cycle costs to compare green, hybrid green-gray, and gray infrastructure practices.

The WSU EFC is one of several partners working with the Water Research Foundation to develop the CLASIC tool. CLASIC is an online tool intended to support stormwater infrastructure decisions using life-cycle costs to compare green, hybrid green-gray, and gray infrastructure practices. Using CLASIC, communities can evaluate scenarios of different green and gray infrastructure combinations to inform decision-making based on lifecycle costs and/or preference to achieve:

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Volume reduction
  • Water quality improvements
  • Social and environmental benefits

Questions about this project? Contact: Michele Pughmichele.pugh@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6629

KS Asset Management Users Group

A project that provides professional development to water and wastewater professionals to further the implementation of asset management concepts through networking with other systems and content experts.

Kansas Asset Management Users Group (KS AMUG) is a bi-annual meeting hosted by WSU EFC for public water professionals across Kansas. The meetings are typically hosted by a municipal water utility in Kansas. This networking event provides the opportunity to state public water professionals to learn from each other and keep in touch on local water news, projects and innovations. Professional consultants and engineers are also welcome to attend and present at these meetings. KS AMUG webpage »

KS AMUG is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about the implementation of water utility asset management concepts. 

Join our KS AMUG mailing list »

Questions about KS AMUG? Contact: Tonya Bronleewe,  tonya.bronleewe@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6638

Asset Management for Very Small Water Systems

The Very Small Systems project provides asset management training for very small drinking water systems (those serving 500 or fewer people).

So far, WSU EFC provided asset management trainings in Camdenton, Missouri; Macy, Nebraska; and Ankeney, Iowa. The EFC is working with the Kickapoo tribe in Kansas to conduct another training in early 2019. 

The EFC also offered assistance to communities and tribes who attended trainings. Community outreach assistance was provided for Omaha Tribal Utilitiess Department to help educate their customers about the importance and regulation of public tap water. Posters, bill inserts and brochures were custom created for Omaha Tribal Utilitiess Department to use as part of their community outreach campaign.

Questions about this project? Contact: Brian Bohnsackbrian.bohnsack@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6421

Missouri Sewer District Guidance

At the request of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the EFC is assisting the MDNR in its efforts to increase the potential for success with small systems that wish to develop regional wastewater systems. The EFC is developing a detailed guidance document on how to successfully form a sewer district in Missouri in a way the average citizen can understand.

Questions about this project? Contact: Michele Pugh, michele.pugh@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6629

Municipal Utility Management (MUM) Program

A professional management course for Kansas public water utility professionals.

The Municipal Utility Management Program was instituted at the request of Kansas Utilitiess who are having a difficult time developing managers from within their organization. The EFC enlisted the assistance of Kansas Municipal Utilities (KMU) to develop and conduct the program with the goal to develop critical management skills unique to municipal utility management that will create an internal pipeline of utility managers.

Upon course completion, MUM participants have better knowledge of how to protect public health and the environment through the management and finance planning practices presented in the sessions. The program also assists Utilitiess in finding skilled personnel to assume the management roles in their organization and reduce the lag time in filling positions. This annual program is a series of six sessions. Brochure

Questions about this project? Contact: Brian Bohnsackbrian.bohnsack@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6421

Capital Improvement Planning Workshops for Utilitiess

This training provides an overview of the importance of capital planning and review the elements necessary to develop and implement a CIP. Participants learn the details of putting together a capital plan through checklist and matrix tools. Financial research information is also provided on traditional and non-traditional funding sources in order to provide options available for funding capital assets.

WSU EFC has conducted CIP trainings in McPherson, Kansas and Ankeney, Iowa. Planning is currently underway for a training to be held in Southwest Missouri.

Questions about this project? Contact: Nick Willis, nicholas.willis@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6421

» Air Quality

Asthma Summit

Health, health insurance, housing and environmental professionals come together to discuss successes, opportunities and challenges facing home-based asthma interventions.

Asthma is a life-threatening chronic respiratory disease that affects the lives of 23 million Americans, including six million children. The CDC estimates that asthma costs the United States more than $80 billion each year in medical expenses, days missed from work or school, and deaths. In-home asthma care is proven to reduce symptom days and health care costs. Join health and housing professionals at the Midwest Regional Asthma Summit to focus on successes, opportunities and challenges facing home-based asthma interventions. 

Questions about this project? Contact: Tonya Bronleewe tonya.bronleewe@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6638

Radon Action Awareness

 

EPA Region 7 state radon representatives discussed the needs and outreach efforts that could be used to get the radon brochures and posters out to physicians for use with their patients in their offices. WSU EFC created brochures and posters that were custom designed to target each state’s needs. The EFC also developed articles to be used in medical association’s newsletters and those will also be distributed next quarter. Radon Resources

Questions about this project? Contact: Tonya Bronleewe tonya.bronleewe@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6638

» Conservation and Sustainability

Meramec River Project

Our work with The Nature Conservancy is maximizing the impact of restoration work throughout the Meramec watershed through sound scientific planning and collaboration. This innovative undertaking will lay the groundwork for future conservation endeavors in the years to come and will allow future generations to enjoy the beauty of one of Missouri’s most popular rivers.

Questions about this project? Contact: Tonya Bronleewe tonya.bronleewe@wichita.edu, (316) 978-6638

 


 Past Projects

Energy Efficiency Training and Assessment Program

The WSU EFC provided assistance to communities in EPA Region 7 to identify opportunities to reduce energy and operating costs at water and wastewater plants across the region. Work on the project began in 2014 and concluded in Sept. 2015. The project included hosting three trainings on energy efficiency, as well as identifying 8-10 systems that received water and wastewater plant energy assessments. (Funding provided by EPA Region 7.)

Omaha Green Infrastructure

The City of Omaha Stormwater Department and the Omaha Public School District are leading the way in environmental protection and youth environmental education with their unique partnership. The WSU EFC, in partnership with the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, created tools and resources for Omaha Public School's Green Infrastructure Toolkit and Education Project. The project included real-world guidance for stormwater load reductions for school grounds, classroom lessons that connect green infrastructure to student learning, and resources for school administrators and maintenance crews to promote and maintain projects into the future. Learn more »
(Funding provided by EPA Region 7.)

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska Water Utility Technical and Financial Assistance Project

The WSU EFC worked with both EPA tribal enforcement staff and the Omaha Tribe’s Utility Department staff to develop a sustainable financial plan for the tribe’s water, wastewater and solid waste utilities. In addition to financial assistance, the EFC is assisting with technical operations at the plant to increase energy efficiency of the water plant as well as reduce water loss in the system. The EFC also developed operating budgets for the tribe’s utilities and will be making recommendations on rate structures. The project concluded in 2015. (Funding provided by EPA Region 7.)

Kansas Water Rate Setting Online Program (Online Rate Check-Up Tool)

The WSU EFC, in partnership with T3 Technology Training Team and Ranson Financial, jointly developed a user-friendly online water rate setting program. The program provides small water systems the ability to enter three years of water use data and financial statement information, which allows the program to deliver tailored rate recommendations that enable systems to fully fund their operations. The tool is free for Kansas systems. Check out the Rate Check-Up Tool here. (Funding provided by Kansas Department of Health and Environment.)

West Wichita Water Contamination Project

The WSU EFC, in partnership with the University of Kanas School of Medicine, was selected to participate in a community study to investigate health impacts that have resulted from a recently discovered groundwater contamination plume in west Wichita. Almost 200 residents in the area were on well water when they were exposed to PCE from a nearby dry cleaner for what could have been decades. Since the discovery in early 2014, the residents have been connected to city water through state funding. The scope of our study included three aims:

  • Examine the actions to date on the site and technical documents
  • Conduct an assessment of remaining needs of the affected community
  • Identify health concerns raised by residents

WSU conducted focus groups and interviews with residents to identity any obvious health concerns as well as any additional needs residents have. (Funding provided by the Wichita Medical Research and Education Foundation.)

Kansas Nonpoint Source Revolving Loan Fund Project

The WSU EFC provided technical assistance to support the development and implementation of a low-interest state revolving loan (SRF) program to be utilized to fund nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control projects in Kansas. The program provided a new low-cost option to promote improved water quality across the state. WSU’s services included analyzing similar programs in other states, developing a financial framework between the state and the banks and implementing the framework with a few pilot banks. (Funding provided by Kansas Department of Health and Environment.)

Water Research Foundation Project

Through a sub-award with the University of New Mexico EFC, the WSU EFC assisted with a study titled “Identifying and Evaluating Opportunities for Reducing Variability of Utility Revenues.” The study identified alternative rate structures that provide water utilities with more revenue stability. The project includes a literature review, qualitative analysis, investigation of other utility practices, and case study development. (Funding provided by the Water Research Foundation.)

 Questions on any of our work? Please contact Michele Pugh, (316) 978-6629 or michele.pugh@wichita.edu.