About Our Projects

The Wichita State University, Environmental Finance Center (EFC) provides professional training, technical assistance and applied research to help communities effectively manage the costs of environmental protection and compliance. The EFC supports its projects and staff, almost exclusively, with restricted use funds received via grants and contracts. 

Check out our resources page for an extensive list of resources and tools from past projects, EFC partners, and other information sources for public utility and environmental professionals.


Current Projects

» Water/Wastewater

Nutrient Optimization in Wastewater Treatment

View our series of webinars meant for wastewater plant operators and managers who are working on nutrient removal and optimization efforts at their plants. Nutrient Optimization Resources »

Work in Water/Future Water Leaders Program

Our innovative career stewardship program that advances water careers across both our Midwest region and the nation.

Water Utilities 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 »

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

Public Water Systems Asset Management Support for States

Section 2012 of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 requires states to update their capacity development strategies to:

  1. Encourage development of asset management plans by public water systems
  2. Assist public water systems in training operators or other relevant and appropriate persons in implementing such asset management plans.

There is a need to assist states, nationwide, to help them address this new requirement. The WSU EFC is working Southwest EFC to provide asset management education and support to state governments. The EFC is providing asset management education including stakeholder engagement, developing or updating existing educational/training materials, and developing strategies to promote asset management within the states via webinars, conference calls, etc. The EFC is also developing additional training and tools for states with respect to board members and noncommunity water suppliers (such as self-supplied factories, schools, businesses, parks and camps.)

Community Sustainability Tool for Water Utilities
The WSU EFC has developed a Community Sustainability Tool for EPA Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska). The purpose of the Sustainability Tool is to help local governments as well as public and private water utilities estimate the degree to which, over time, water utility fees will cover the substantial cost of the capital infrastructure needed to deliver safe, clean drinking water (Safe Drinking Water Act, 1974). The WSU EFC will further develop the Sustainability Tool for use in other states, tribal lands and regions of the country. The WSU EFC is currently working to develop and adapt the tool for use in the State of Louisiana and other states in EPA Region 6.  Learn more
Trainings for Public Water Utilities

WSU EFC designed trainings to teach Kansas municipal officials and utility staff about the managerial and financial aspects of running a water system.

These trainings are part of a contract with KDHE that 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 Utilities and Ranson Citycode Financial, we facilitate the following training topics:

  • Utility Asset Management (A.M. KanWork!) 
  • Utility-Rate Setting & Financial Planning 

View training calendar »

KanCap Water Utility Capacity Development for Boards/Councils

In partnership with the Southwest Environmental Finance Center WSU EFC created a training and manual for use by any elected official with the responsibility for operating and maintaining a water utility. Elected officials may be members of a city council or county commission or serve on the board of a Rural Water District. In many cases, the board’s responsibilities extend far beyond the water utility, but the responsibility to provide safe, reliable drinking water should be regarded as paramount since it is foundational to the community. Additionally, in small communities, the water infrastructure may constitute the largest investment of the community. While board members are the primary audience for this training, water utility staff, bookkeepers and managers will also find portions of the training useful.

WSU EFC works with Kansas Municipal Utillites to deliver the KanCap training across Kansas annually.

Upcoming Trainings  »

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 »

Stormwater Rate Guidance

Community decision makers can use these guidance documents to make decisions about generating revenue for their stormwater infrastructure. Learn more and download our stormwater handouts at wichita.edu/stormwater.

  • Stormwater Fee Analysis
  • Stormwater Rate Structures and Guidelines
  • Preparing to Address the Public About Stormwater Rates

» Recycling & Waste Management

Kansas Recycling Project

The state and worldwide business of recycling has changed dramatically over the past few years. New opportunities may develop as traditional outlets are limited. Understanding the current state of recycling in Kansas will increase the State’s ability to change, adapt and develop new opportunities. To strengthen the economic position of the recycling industry in Kansas, the EFC will identify existing and new end uses and markets for Kansas recyclables. Through recycler outreach and investigation into potential new markets Kansas may be able to increase material reuse and recycling to reduce landfill pressure and improved economic development. Learn More »


» Food Waste and Resource Recovery/Food Security

Food Resource Recovery Events

Wasted food is a global problem, but with collaboration and community-wide efforts, we can feed people, protect resources, and experience economic rewards for cities across the world. We work on food resource and recovery projects that bring key players from across the region together to collaborate on ways to allocate  food resources that help reduce food desserts and insecurity in our communities. Learn more

» Air Quality

Radon

According to EPA’s 2003 Assessment of Risks from Radon in Homes, radon causes an estimated 21,100 lung cancer deaths each year. Radon-caused cancer prevention can be simple and inexpensive.  To make greater progress towards reducing the risk and costs of radon-related lung cancer Nebraska and Kansas families, the EFC will partner with local decision makers to develop a community outreach and education event that encourages medical and public health professionals to ask the Key Question: “Have you tested your home for radon?” to their patients. Learn more and access resources here.

» Emission Reduction

Kansas Emission Reduction and Mitigation Planning (ERAMP)

EPA has announced $4.6 billion available through a competitive grant process. No matching funds required.

We are working with KDHE to teach communities how to leverage this funding in order to:

  • Reduce ambient air pollution while supporting the creation of quality jobs and lowering energy costs for Kansans.
  • Accelerate work to empower community-driven solutions in Kansas neighborhoods.

Learn More »

Questions on any of our work? Looking for something? Contact us at efc@wichita.edu.