The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Board on Tuesday adopted a set of sewage handling standards at its monthly meeting.
The new standards include the disposal of sewage only into a public or community sewer system or by another method with the health department approving the site.
Greg Olmstead, health department director of environmental health, said the department still thinks "disposal at the city wastewater treatment plant is the best method."
Sewage haulers could still dump sewage in a farmer's field as a fertilizer, he said, but the department would check the disposal site before the sewage could be spread.
"We do that to ensure that both the environment and the public's health is being protected," Olmstead said.
The department will check fields to make sure the dumping site is not too close to a dwelling, water well, streams or ponds, that the site is not in a flood area, and how soon the field will be planted or grazed by livestock.
The health board also will require an annual sewage removal permit, which will be issued at no cost to the haulers. The health department will check the haulers' pumps, hose lines and valves on their trucks before issuing the permit.
Several proposals were amended by the health board since they were made public late last year.
The city of Lawrence agreed to modify its dumping charges to haulers at the wastewater treatment plant. The charges will be based on the amount dumped rather than the size of the haulers' tank. The original proposal drew a storm of criticism from area haulers who felt the tank-size charge was unreasonable.
Haulers also won't be required to maintain a log sheet and can keep the lettering on their trucks at 2 inches in height as opposed to 4 inches, as originally proposed.
Olmstead said he thought the health board had been fair with the haulers.
"I feel that the health board listened very carefully to the concerns and made an effort to work with the city to resolve their concerns," he said.
The proposals will be mailed to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment this week, Olmstead said. After the state reviews the proposals, the Douglas County Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue and then decide whether to adopt the standards.