To the editor:
The Kansas River is the source of drinking water for many communities in northeast Kansas and is one of the few wild and scenic recreational resources that could bring in tourism dollars. For these reasons, the health of the Kansas River is a high priority.
I am pleased that the Kansas Legislature and Sen. Derek Schmidt are focusing on the water quality of the Kaw River. However, to concentrate on the Kansas River water quality, you must deal with the quality of the water that runs into the river, water that during a rain flows through normally dry or low-flowing stream beds that the EPA has allowed Kansas to remove from any type of protection. How can the water quality of the Kansas River achieve the "fishable, swimable" status provided for in the Clean Water Act if the feeder streams and tributaries have water quality standards that are less stringent than those for the Kansas River?
I have studied the very technical aspects of water quality presented by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. This is valuable information but not easily understood by the typical citizen. For those who would like an understandable explanation on how the Kansas law relates to the Clean Water Act, I recommend reading the article dealing with Kansas Senate Bill 204 by Jason Thompson in the latest Kansas Law Review.
Kansas Riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw,