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Accepted Items

How do you know if a household product is hazardous? Look for these words:


hazardous materialsIf a product's packaging has any of these signal words on the label, then the product has ingredients that contain one or more of the following hazardous characteristics: corrosive, reactive, toxic, flammable, or explosive. If not safely stored, used, or disposed, those items can present hazards to you and your environment.


Common Materials Accepted at the Hazardous Materials Collection Facility:

  • Adhesives
  • Arts and Crafts Materials
  • Car Batteries 
  • Brake Fluid
  • Cleaning Products 
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Tubes 
  • Disinfectants 
  • Gasoline
  • Herbicides 
  • Insecticides
  • Kerosene 
  • Motor Oil- NO TRANSFORMER OIL (Contains PCBs)
  • Paint
  • Photo Chemicals
  • Pool Chemicals 
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Solvents
  • Wood Preservatives
  • 1-3 lb. Propane Cylinders

Materials NOT Accepted at the Hazardous Material Collection Facility:

  • Common Recyclables such as Paper, Glass, Aluminum Cans, Magazines, etc.
  • Building Materials
  • Fireworks
  • Furniture
  • Appliances such as Microwave Ovens or Refrigerators
  • Humidifiers
  • Medications
  • Medical Waste
  • Railroad Ties
  • Smoke detectors
  • Styrofoam
  • Wood

For help with the items not accepted at our facility, start with the information here.

If you have any questions about what materials are accepted, please call our office at 913-715-6900. We will be happy to answer your questions.

Air Compliance

Permitting and Inspections

 dry cleaning businessAt the center of the air program is the inspection of companies that are subject to the federal Clean Air Act, ensuring compliance with what some people refer to as "outdoor air" quality. Companies receive unannounced annual inspections from the JCDHE staff to determine compliance.

Companies that are subject to air quality regulations under the Clean Air Act have their operations reviewed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. KDHE thoroughly reviews all processes and operations at the company's facility and determines the need for a permit and what specific regulations apply at that site. Some specific types of permits, usually for larger sources, are put on public notice to allow the public to have input.  (Find local permits in the Public Notices section.)  The completed permit will contain specific details that restrict the way a facility can operate in order to comply with the regulations. This insures that the facility's emissions will have the smallest impact on the area residents as well as the environment itself.rock quarry

After the permit is issued by KDHE, our department acts as the designated legal agent for the state. JCDHE conducts unannounced inspections at these facilities to determine compliance with air regulations and permits. We meet with company personnel and discuss and review records, existing operations, and any future facility modifications. The JCDHE staff works to educate company personnel about the regulations affecting their company and why these rules are needed. In the event of a violation, companies found to have relatively minor compliance problems may receive a letter from JCDHE requiring them to correct the situation within a specified period of time. If the inspection reveals, however, that serious or repeated violations have occurred, all information is forwarded to KDHE for possible enforcement action.

Air Quality Sources in Johnson CountyAir Sources chart

Air quality regulations may require that a company first obtain a Construction Permit/Approval from KDHE before the site is constructed. This is not to be confused with a construction permit issued by municipal building codes. Types of sources that can be subject to the air quality regulations vary, but here are some examples:

  • Diesel engines for electrical generation
  • Rock crushing
  • Painting of miscellaneous metal parts
  • Printing (lithographic, flexographic, rotogravure)

The pie chart shows some of the types of sources and the number of each that have been issued permits in Johnson County.

Pollution Control Equipment Used in Johnson County

Industries in Johnson County may be required to control the emissions created by their processes. There are different types of control equipment to help them meet this requirement. Different equipment is used by different types of industry. In some cases, more than one form of control is used by a company. Pollution controls can range from simple and relatively cheap to complex and very expensive. Here are three examples:

  • Ordinary water spray bars usually used in a rock crushing operation;
  • Afterburners which effectively "burn" emissions often found at printing facilities;
  • Baghouses which filter and collect particulates in asphalt plants.

Some types of control require a change in the manufacturing process. For instance, companies that use oil-based paints or inks would change to water-based paints or inks.

Spray Bars
This is one of several rock quarry operations within the county. Water spray bars are located at various points through the system to control the dust emissions. This is one of the least expensive methods to control emissions, which in this case is the rock dust or "particulates."


These two afterburners are examples of air pollution control equipment. Afterburners effectively "burn" the emissions and are often found at printing operations. Some use natural gas as a fuel, which can be quite expensive. More companies are switching to catalytic afterburners which use natural gas to get started, but then use the volatile fumes as fuel, thereby reducing the cost of operation. These units are located at a printing facility in Johnson County and were both operating at the time the photo was taken.

This is one of several hot mix asphalt concrete plants located within Johnson County. The pollutant of concern is particulates, just like the rock crushing operations. This plant, however, uses a "baghouse" (yellow arrow) to control emissions, which are exhausted through the stack (red arrow). The baghouse has numerous chambers with "socks" inside that collect the particulate.This is more effective than water spray but is also considerably more expensive. This plant was in operation at the time the photo was taken.

Air Monitoring

Ambient Air Monitoring

monitoring equipment

Johnson County is part of a regional air quality monitoring program for Kansas City. There are two current monitoring locations located in Johnson County, one at 8500 Antioch and the other at Heritage Park. The monitors are currently operated and maintained by staff from the Air Quality Program in the Unified Government of Wyandotte County (UGWC). Their monitoring staff have many years of experience and expertise in air quality monitoring and is responsible for operating an extensive ambient air quality monitoring network in Wyandotte and Johnson Counties.

Federal health levels for air quality are set by EPA for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The NAAQS is comprised of six criteria pollutants, each one having its own health limit: Ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), lead (Pb), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). This program monitors the ambient levels of these pollutants except for lead. Lead has largely been removed as a pollutant in most parts of the country as a result of the the use of unleaded gasoline. It is only monitored in local areas where there is a lead source. The monitoring staff also operates a complex weather station as part of the program. The monitoring staff coordinates closely with the Mid America Regional Council and the other state and local agencies in the region to insure that good data is collected and reported.

Gaseous Monitoring Network

The Gaseous Monitoring Network currently consists of four types of analyzers. There are for ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. One ozone analyzer is operated in Johnson County at Heritage Park at 15900 Lackman.

Particulate Monitoring Network

metropolitan towerThe Particulate Monitoring Network currently consists of five types of particulate samplers with eleven monitors total. These monitors sample for various sizes of particulate matter. This includes fine particulate matter which can lodge deep in the lung tissue and some may even get into your bloodstream. At some locations, there may be two identical samplers operating side-by-side. One operates as a regular sampler and one operates as the collocated sampler to provide data verification for the regular sampler. Two fine particulate samplers are located in Johnson County. One sampler operates at the Antioch Justice Center, 8500 Antioch, and one sampler operates at 15900 Lackman, Heritage Park.

All monitors operate on a specified schedule. The filters are recovered and sent to a lab for analysis.

Locations of Monitors


Air Quality

skyThe goal of the Air Quality program is to protect both human health and the environment for the residents of Johnson County as well as the surrounding metro region. We are the designated legal agent for the Kansas Department of Health & Environment on matters related to the Clean Air Act in the county. Currently there are approximately 170 facilities in the county that are subject to federal and/or state air quality regulations. The goals of the department are met through inspections, complaint investigations, and public education. Ground-level ozone continues to be the primary air quality issue in the Kansas City region and we continue to work towards staying below the health standard for ozone.



Alternate Fuel Vehicles

hybrid carIn 1992, the Johnson County Environmental Department became the first government agency in the Kansas City region to use alternative fuels in vehicles when we converted two of our vehicles to run on either propane or gasoline. Our office has represented the Kansas portion of the Kansas City Clean Cities Coalition as co-chair since the mid-1990's. We were one of the first to purchase a gasoline/electric hybrid when we obtained our 2002 Toyota Prius. The Department's pursuit of alternative fueled vehicles has resulted in a directive from the Johnson County Manager that all departments are to give serious consideration to buying hybrid and/or alternative fueled vehicles when they are making new purchases. As of January 2012, the County has 55 alternative fuel vehicles.

In November 2012, JCDHE was fortunate enough to receive an all-electric vehicle to use for several days. The vehicle has a range of over 80 miles on one charge and was charged on the charging station located at the Johnson County Sunset Office Building. The Air Quality program extended an invitation to all County employees to test drive the car and many took advantage of the offer.  Photo 1   Photo 2


Burn Bans in Effect

Welcome to the one-stop place for all current burn bans in Johnson County, Kansas.

Fire District Ban In Effect Comments

Bonner Springs

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-422-5674.

Consolidated Fire District #2
(N.E. Johnson Co.)

No Permanent. There is no open burning allowed in Consolidated Fire District #2.

Johnson County Fire District #1 (Gardner, Edgerton, New Century Air Center)

No To obtain a burn permit from this district, call 913-764-7635.

Johnson County Fire District #2 (Spring Hill, Stanley, Stilwell, Bucyrus)

No To obtain a burn permit from this district, call 913-913-681-2764.

City of Lake Quivira

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-631-5300.

City of Leawood

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-681-6788.

City of Lenexa

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-888-6380.

City of Merriam

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-888-6066

NW Consolidated Fire District (N.W. Jo.Co, includes De Soto)

No To obtain a burn permit from this district, call 913-583-3886.

City of Olathe

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-971-7900.

City of Overland Park

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-888-6066.

City of Shawnee

No To obtain a burn permit from this department, call 913-631-1080.

Burn Regulations

The Kansas Open Burning Regulations (K.A.R. 28-19-645 thru K.A.R. 28-19-648) 

fire extinguisher training

To read all the Air Quality Statues and Regulations for the State of Kansas, please visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.

In Johnson County, open burning is regulated by both the state air quality regulations as well as local fire codes, administered and enforced by our local fire departments or districts. Air quality regulations address public health as well as environmental protection. Fire codes are for the protection of life and property.

There is some overlap of the air quality regulations and the local fire codes. For the fire departments or districts that allow some type of open burning, an open burning permit is almost always required. But under state air quality regulations, an open burning exemption (same as burn permit) is required only in certain circumstances. As a result, for certain types of burning, you may have to obtain a burn permit from the fire department and a burn exemption from our office.

When to Contact the Fire Department

Under the state air quality regulation K.A.R. 28-19-647(a), if you are involved in the following activities, you DO NOT NEED AN OPEN BURNING PERMIT FROM JCDHE, but you must contact your local fire department to see if you need a burn permit under the fire code:

a)  The following open burning operations shall be exempt from the prohibition on the open burning of any materials imposed by K.A.R. 28-19-645:

  1. open burning carried out on a residential premise containing five or less dwelling units and incidental to the normal habitation of the dwelling units, unless prohibited by any local authority with jurisdiction over the premises;
  2. open burning for cooking or ceremonial purposes, on public or private lands regularly used for recreational purposes;
  3. open burning for the purpose of crop, range, pasture, wildlife or watershed management in accordance with K.A.R. 28-19-648.

When to Contact JCDHE

Under the state air quality regulations, a WRITTEN OPEN BURNING EXEMPTION IS REQUIRED FROM OUR OFFICE in accordance to K.A.R. 28-19-647(c):

Open burning operations for which an approval is required but which are deemed to be necessary and in the public interest include the following:

  1. the use of safety flares for disposal of flammable gases;
  2. fires related to the training of government or industrial personnel in fire-fighting procedures;
  3. fires set for the removal of dangerous or hazardous liquid materials;
  4. open burning of trees and brush from nonagricultural land clearing operations; and
  5. open burning of clean wood waste from construction projects carried out at the construction site.

New regulations in 2011 banned almost all types of open burning in Johnson and Wyandotte Counties during the month of April. Open burning during this month is essentially limited to the prairie burning that occurs in the Flint Hills region. The burning operations listed in 1-5 above are not to be conducted in April and should be scheduled for any other month.  If absolutely necessary, an application for burning can be made but approval will come from KDHE in Topeka and not Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. For more information and background regarding the open burning in April, please visit www.ksfire.org.firefighter training

Local fire departments sometimes burn houses or buildings destined for demolition for more realistic fire training. This may take several days before the entire house is consumed. Removal of carpeting, furniture, and asphalt-containing materials, such as shingles, is required. An asbestos inspection must be made of the premises prior to burning to comply with both state and federal regulations.

In the photo on the right, the fire department is burning a condemned house for firefighter training. They applied for and were granted an open burning exemption prior to the burn. (Photo taken by Michael Boothe)

Open burning of trees and brush from a non-agricultural land clearing operation requires prior approval. If you are removing trees and brush for some type of development, such as an office complex, residential area, or shopping center, prior approval is required in addition to meeting the requirements for the local fire department.


Certified Green Partners


Join the growing list of companies in Johnson County who are leading the way in sustainability. To learn more contact us, or to receive a free consultation call or email Sadie Gardner 913-715-6923


      Lifted Logic logo

Lifted Logic is a web design, development and graphic design firm who have implemented a number of creative waste reduction strategies. They have greatly reduced waste in their breakroom. In addition, their company vehicle is electric and they are in the process of installing hand dryers in their restrooms to reduce paper towel waste.

Marck recycling logo

MARCK Recycling is a full service recycling facility that has been recycling for over 20 years."We go beyond the basic recycling, we recycle more than 80 different materials." In addition, they offer many services such as waste audits, brokerage services, and equipment to help companies divert waste and meet their sustainability goals.

The Land Source logo

The Land Source is a commercial real estate brokerage company specializing in land properties. Within their office they make it a point to recycle, and reflect their commitment to sustainability by recycling their packing materials, and electronics in additon to paper and plastics. They also provide reusable plates and cups for their employees and have a thorough education program. 

     Johnson County Community College logo

Johnson County Community College continues to lead through example in integrating sustainability into its curriculum and daily operations, in conjunction with the new collaboration center located on campus. Among many successes, Johnson County has a robust recycling and composting program, which includes composting food waste from the cafeteria in an in-vessel composter. They have also undertaken several energy effeciency and water conservation projects, and are currently working towards becoming a zero waste-to-landfill and 100% renewable energy campus.  

Downtown Overland Park Partnership logo

The Downtown Overland Park Partnership has taken steps to increase recycling efforts as well as encouraged such practices in the businesses that fall within their district. By adopting green cleaning practices, increasing the use of reusable materials, increasing recycling efforts, and promoting enviornmentally friendly practices to member businesses, they have made Downtown Overland Park more sustainable.

Go Green Granite logo

Go Green Granite have created a business by taking one person's trash and turning it into a real treasure. Each year they keep hundreds of tons of usable granite out of the landfill and use it to create beautiful one-of-a kind pieces In addition to reusing the granite, they also reuse the grindings as a fertilizer and reuse all the water used in the cutting of the granite.

  Ten Thousand Villages logo

Ten Thousand Villages is a fair trade retailer and member of the Fair Trade Federation, and are committed to sustainability, both in the products that they sell and inthe operation of their store. They actively consider the implications of their decisions on the enviornment and promote the resoponsible stewardship of resources. They are working towards a zero landfill goal by reducing, reusing, reclaiming, and recycling materials whenever possible. They also encourage environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire trading chain.

















Clean Air Lawn Care

Clean air lawn care

Did you know that as much as 10% of contributing pollution comes from gasoline powered lawn care equipment? Those noisy mowers do more than hurt your hearing. They emit harmful gas into the air. High levels of air pollution mixed with a hot sunny day is the recipe for dangerous ozone levels. Ground-level ozone affects the respiratory system, causes scarring in the lungs, impairs breathing and damages vegetation. Children and adults of all ages who are active outdoors, and people with existing respiratory diseases air particularly sensitive to ground-level ozone. Adopting air-friendly lawn care practices can help improve the air quality in Kansas City.

Mowing one hour emits as much pollution as driving a car from KC to WichitaOne push mower can emit as much harmful gas in an hour as eleven modern cars. A riding mower can emit as much as 34 cars! By making the switch from gas powered lawn equipment to a more air-friendly machine, you can help prevent another Ozone Alert day in Kansas City. Also, prevent spilling gas when you fuel up your equipment by using a funnel or a spill-proof gas can. Mowing after 7 pm, especially on Ozone Alert days can prevent ground-level formation. Right from your front yard you can impress your neighbors and show them that you care about the health of your community by practicing natural lawn care.

Take Steps to Reduce Emissions

Mow Late in the Day
To reduce the amount of ozone that will form, mow after 7 pm. Avoid mowing altogether on Ozone Alert days. The harmful ozone causing fumes emitted by mowers are nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). These are more likely to form harmful ozone when the weather is hot and sunny. Mowing in the evening will help reduce the amount of ozone that form, not to mention make it easier on you.

Keep Your Equipment Well-Tuned
Well-tuned equipment runs more efficiently, uses less fuel, and emits less pollution. Keep your blades sharpened, too. Regular maintenance will not only benefit your lawn, making it more resistant to disease, but the mowing will go quicker and that means less air pollution and less wear and tear on your body.

Avoid Gas Spills

No spill gas canSave money and protect the air we breathe by using a funnel or a no-spill can. Americans spill an estimated 17 million gallons of gasoline each year while refueling small engines such as lawn care equipment. The vapor from gasoline spills is also a cause of air pollution.

NO-SPILL© gas cans are manufactured in Missouri and are available in the Kansas City area. Check your local hardware store. Or visit their website at www.nospill.com to find a dealer near you.

Practice Natural Lawn Care and Proper Mowing Techniques
The following is a maintenance guide for a lush, healthy, green lawn sourced from the K-State Extension Office. There are more thorough publications available on their website at www.ksuturf.com. There are also natural ways to sustain the ideal yard that suppress weeds, pests, and pollution as well as save water and reduce ground-level ozone.

Mow High - 3 to 3.5 inchesgrass cut high

  • This is crucial to natural lawn care. The grass will shade the weeds and suppress them as well as absorb more sunlight, lengthening their roots and thickening your turf. A deep root system will also lessen the amount of watering necessary.
  • Be sure to let your grass grow out to 4.5"- 5" which follows the 1/3 rule: cut one third off the top, leaving 2/3 of the grass blade.

Mulch Your Grass Clippings

  • The clippings act as a free natural fertilizer, returning the needed nitrogen to the soil as well as building depth to your topsoil.
  • Mulching your grass clippings can account for 25-50% of the nitrogen needed per year.

Water Less Frequently

  • Water when the grass begins to wilt or turn bluish-green in color. Less frequent watering encourages deep root growth of grass and reduces weed competition.
  • It takes about 1" of water per week, however some soils require more or less. A good method to follow is to soak your soil to a depth of 6-8". Use a screwdriver or a rod to measure the depth of water penetration.
  • Water early in the morning to prevent mildew disease and minimize evaporation.
  • Collect rain water from your roof for watering!  To purchase or build a rain barrel visit Bridging the Gap.

    grass roots






Natural Fertilizers

  • Most natural yards do not need heavy amounts of fertilizers. Building up your top soil and the soil life is the best remedy to preventing problems. It is also important to fertilize at the correct rates and times.
  • Natural compost adds high levels of nitrogen fertilizer without the NOx emissions that are formed from the production of synthetic fertilizers. It is best for your lawn and your pocketbook to not over-fertilize. The idea, "if you add more fertilizer, you will see more of the result" is incorrect. Excess fertilizer actually gets washed away with storm water and has adverse effects on the environment.  When synthetic fertilizer builds up in water systems, it causes dead zones where the marine life cannot survive.
  • See what you need before you add anything!  First test the soil. The Johnson County K-State Extension Office will perform a soil test for just $10. Call 913-715-7000.
  • Only add fertilizer/compost in the spring or the fall. The recommended application is in September, November, and May, in that order.

Organic Pesticides

  • Chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, if not properly applied, can be dangerous to the environment and sometimes expose the lawn to more infestation problems.  Chemical applications affect more than just the target organism, they also affect non-target organisms that are beneficial to the soil.  By building up your top soil with the above suggestions, your lawn may be less susceptible to pest and weed infestation.
  • If you decide to apply chemical pesticides, it is important to use the proper amount and apply them at the proper time. Avoid overuse of pesticides and apply per label instructions.
  • There are several options for organic pest control depending on the specific problem.  Here are some suggestions for common problems: grub
    • Grubs, ants, chiggers, fleas, ticks:  Nematodes are a beneficial biotic organism that live in healthy soil. Adding nematodes will eliminate these pests by eating them!  You can order a solution containing nematodes online, further instructions included.
    • Crab Grass (Digitaria) and other weeds: Corn Gluten Meal is an organic herbicide that inhibits the growth of roots in germinating plants, but does not affect established grass or bulbs. Do not apply the corn gluten for three weeks after planting new grass seed.

Natural Professional Lawn Care Services

If you use a professional lawn care provider to tend to your lawn care needs, consider hiring a natural professional lawn care service. Several companies in Kansas City specialize in natural lawn care. Here are some that we found using Google and Yahoo:

Johnson County Health and Environment does not endorse these lawn care companies, nor is criticism implied for those businesses and products not listed.


Commercial Systems

commercial buildingThe Commercial/Industrial On-Site Program issues permits to install and operate non-residential septic systems where property owners are not served by a public wastewater collection system. There are about 400 entities subject to regulation under this program including businesses, government agencies, institutions, and others. Most of the on-site systems consist of a holding tank which has been installed to receive only domestic wastewater. These holding tanks must be pumped on an as-needed basis by a licensed Johnson County sanitary disposal contractor. This domestic wastewater must be disposed of at an approved wastewater treatment plant. In a few cases, commercial/industrial systems involve components more similar to residential systems such as septic tanks and lateral fields.

Obtaining Commercial/Industrial Sewage Treatment Permit

All newly constructed commercial or industrial establishments are required to install a holding tank for the disposal of their waste if sewers are not available. The following are required steps to obtain the permit and the subsequent installation of the holding tank.soil profile

In most instances a holding tank will be required for the commercial property.  However, a soil profile analysis may need to be conducted if a conventional system needs to be installed.  A completed Profile Analysis Application and fee must be submitted for the soil profile analysis. A backhoe operator must meet a Johnson County Environmental Health Specialist at the site for the analysis.

When making an application for a permit the following materials must be submitted for review:

  • A completed application (only if a conventional system is required);
  • A design plan drawn by a JCDHE-licensed installer or designer for the installation of the holding tank;
  • A set of floor plans that includes the plans for plumbing;
  • A letter from a JCDHE-licensed sanitary sewage disposal contractor stating that they are contracted to pump the holding tank.

installing tankThe permit to install the holding tank will be issued after the plan review has been completed. The owner/agent will be contacted when the permit is ready. The permit will be available at the Environment Division office once the appropriate fees are paid.

Once the permit has been issued to the owner/agent, the holding tank may be installed. The Environment Division must inspect and approve the final construction and final grade. The appropriate county or city office will be notified by JCDHE once the final grade is approved.

After the final grade has been approved the county or city Building Codes office will be notified and the Operating Permit will be issued.

The Operating Permit must be posted in a conspicuous place for public view.

Types of Operating Permits

There are two types of operating permits issued.

Class A permit is issued for private onsite sewage treatment systems that have either the potential to discharge commercial waste or employ twenty (20) or more full-time equivalents per day.

Class B permit is issued for private onsite sewage treatment systems that are used solely for domestic waste and employ less than twenty (20) full-time equivalents.

Forms You Need:

  • Soil Profile Analysis (only if a conventional system is required)
  • Application for Commercial/Industrial On-Site Wastewater System

Find these forms and associated fees on the Form and Fees page.

Annual Permitting

Permits for the operation of a commercial/industrial on-site system are issued annually. The term of the permit is the calendar year and the Application for Annual Commercial/Industrial On-Site Sewage System Operation Permit must be completed and a fee paid. All permits are renewed at the beginning of the year, and a fee is charged, depending upon the size and type of operations discharging to the on-site system. The fee covers the cost of the annual inspection, enforcement activities, and the tracking of all wastewater to its proper point of disposal.

Facility Inspections on Installed Systems

Each year a JCDHE Environmental Health Specialist inspects each of the nearly 400 locations where on-site wastewater systems are permitted for commercial/industrial, institutional, and governmental entities. The purpose of the inspection is fourfold:

  1. To verify that the system is operating properly and not causing public health or environmental problems;
  2. To interview a representative of the permittee’s operations as to any increases in the number of employees, or process changes which might generate more wastewater and necessitate system modifications;
  3. To ascertain the quality of service being provided by the county-licensed sanitary disposal contractors who retrieve the wastewater and provide a current copy of all licensed sanitary disposal contractors, and
  4. To educate the permittee regarding the proper operation of the on-site system, public health and environmental issues, and to provide a copy of the Commercial/Industrial On-Site Sewage Disposal Inspection results.

System Failure

A failing system is any on-site sewage treatment system which, for any reason, does not function as designed or as prescribed by the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code.

Remediation of the Problem

When JCDHE becomes aware of a commercial/industrial failing on-site system through the annual inspection process or via complaint, a number of steps ensue to correct the problem. They are as follows:

  1. An initial visit is made to the location to assess and document the situation and gather all pertinent information – who, what, when, where, how.
  2. The responsible permit holder and/or landlord is contacted, advised of the problem, a solution is outlined, and cooperation is solicited for resolution.
  3. When cooperation is gained and a repair is specified, a JCDHE-licensed designer or designer/installer is contacted by the applicant to begin the system repair process.
  4. If the system is an on-site sewage treatment system that includes a septic tank and lateral field or a new holding tank, major work may be necessary to correct the problem. If this is the case the steps specified for obtaining a soil profile analysis and ultimately a new permit will be followed. The installer must submit a copy of the drawing of the proposed system and an application for the permit before the permit is issued.
  5. If the repair is classified as a minor repair, a minor repair permit is issued, specific conditions for the repair and its operation are made.
  6. Final construction and final grade inspections are made regardless of the type of repair done.


Contractor/Installer Licensing

JCDHE licenses installers and designers of private sewage treatment systems regulated under the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code, as well as the sanitary disposal contractors, also known as pumpers, who clean the treatment systems and transport the sewage to the disposal site. Following are the environmental code regulations for these professionals and the applications necessary for initial licensing and renewal.

Installers and Designers

A valid installer license must be issued to any person who installs or engages in the installation or repair of a private sewage treatment system. Employees of an installer who has a valid license are not required to be separately licensed. Licensed installers may, without separate license, design conventional and shallow in-ground systems that are pumped or gravity fed, but no others.

On-Site sewage treatment system designerA valid designer license must be issued to any person who conducts or performs design services for any private sewage treatment system regulated under the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code. Employees of a designer who has a valid license are not required to be separately licensed.  A designer license is required for the design of any alternative system such as mound, low pressure pipe, or other permitted alternative system. A licensed professional engineer will be considered licensed to perform the services of designer.

Installer licenses expire on December 31 of each year and must be renewed annually on or before January 15 of the following year.

Designer licenses are valid for a term of two years, running concurrently with the calendar year and expire on December 31 of each succeeding calendar year. Licenses may be renewed on or before January 15 of any succeeding year.

All fees for either license are due at the time of application of license or renewal.

The applicant will be required to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the regulations pertaining to private sewage treatment systems and general engineering principles pertaining to such systems. Actual experience, education, or professional licensing of the applicant may be considered in the granting or denial of an application, including prior revocations or disciplinary action.

Application requirements include attendance at an appropriate training workshop and satisfactory completion of a written examination. The workshop shall be conducted or sponsored by JCDHE or other recognized governmental, educational, or professional institution. The written exam shall be administered by the Environment Division and cover subjects related to public health concerns, sewage treatment techniques, standards for design or construction or installation of sewage treatment systems, sewage treatment theory, and/or hydraulics. Any applicant who fails to satisfactorily complete the written examination may retake the exam after thirty days.

Every person licensed as an installer or designer must obtain a minimum of three hours of approved continuation training each calendar year. No license will be renewed without submission of a certification of the training to the Director of JCDHE. The training must be directly related to the knowledge requirements necessary for issuance of the license under Chapter 2, Section 3 of the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code. Attendance of any workshop conducted, sponsored or approved by JCDHE or any applicable professional association will meet this training requirement.

The licensed installer must have and maintain insurance for liability and workmanship in amounts and forms as designated by the administering agency. A copy of the certificate of insurance must be filed with the agency. The licensed installer may also be required to be bonded.

A license may be revoked for failure to comply with the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code. The revocation procedure will comply with the provisions of Chapter I of the code.


  • Experience Questionnaire for Installer Licensing
  • Experience Questionnaire for Designer Licensing

Find these forms and associated fees on the Forms and Fees page.

Sanitary Disposal Contractors (Pumpers)

on-site sewage treatment system pumperA valid sanitary disposal contractor license is required to engage in the pumping or cleaning of a private sewage treatment system or the transport of sewage to a disposal site. Employees of a sanitary disposal contractor who has a valid license are not required to be separately licensed. The license shall also designate the vehicles to be used by the licensee.

Licenses expire on December 31 of each year and must be renewed annually on or before January 15 of any following year. All required license fees are due at the time of application.

Licensed sanitary disposal contractors must comply with the following performance requirements:

  • When cleaning a septic tank, a licensed contractor must remove the liquid, sludge, and scum, leaving no more than three inches depth of sewage.
  • All equipment must be maintained so as to ensure that no spillage of sewage will occur during transportation, and that his employees are not subjected to undue health hazards. All sewage must be transported in an enclosed tank.
  • Sewage must be transported only in vehicles approved for that purpose by JCDHE. Each vehicle must be inspected prior to issuance or renewal of a license to a sanitary disposal contractor. The vehicle must be kept in good working condition and both the name of the licensee and the sanitary disposal contractor license number are to be clearly displayed on both sides of the vehicle in bold letters not less than five inches in height.
  • Disposal of collected sewage may only take place at a site designated by JCDHE. A report stating the dates, sources, volume, and disposal site of each load or partial load of sewage or waste transported during the preceding calendar month must be submitted to the JCDHE Director, or her designee, not later than the 10th day of each month. This report must be on a form furnished by JCDHE. It must contain the signature of the person submitting the report and must bear the signature(s) of the responsible person operating the disposal site for each load or partial load received at the site from the contractor.
  • Prior to the issuance or renewal of a license the applicant will be required to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the regulations pertaining to sanitary disposal contractors. The administering authority may consider prior conduct of the applicant in localities not subject to the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code in the granting or renewal of a license as well as any prior violations to the Code.
  • The license holder must comply with any applicable federal, state, and local regulations or law including, but not limited to, those set forth now or hereafter adopted in Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge, volume 58, number 32, page 9388, of the Federal Register, February 19, 1993, as amended.

 A license may be revoked for failure to comply with the Johnson County Environmental Sanitary Code.


Find application and associated fee on the Forms and Fees page.


Decommissioning Tanks

Any septic tank that is not being used must have the sewage removed by a licensed sanitary disposal contractor. The top cover of the septic tank must be removed and crushed into the septic tank. The septic tank is then filled with sand, gravel, earth, concrete or other approved material. The Environment Division recommends that sand or gravel be used.

The septic tank must be inspected by an Environmental Health Specialist prior to its being covered with soil. There is an application that must be submitted with the required fee prior to the inspection of the decommissioned tank.

More Information

Plugging Cisterns, Cesspools, Septic Tanks, and Other Holes
(Publication from the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Office)


Environmental Complaints

Business hours for our office are 8am-5pm Monday-Friday.

If you believe the incident requires immediate response outside of business hours, but is not life-threatening, report it by calling our 24-hour response service at (913) 715-6900 and following the prompts in the message.

If you believe the incident is life-threatening, please call 9-1-1.

If the incident involves a chemical or petroleum product spill, gasoline odors inside buildings, or natural gas odors, please call 9-1-1.

We can only respond to swimming pool complaints if the facility is located within Leawood, Lenexa, Merriam, Mission, Olathe, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee, Spring Hill, Stilwell, and Westwood.

Note: No personal information will be released. If you choose not to enter your name please enter "No Name". Providing your contact information as well as an address where the incident occurred are required for us to respond to this complaint. Your information will not be shared.

Submit an Enviromental Concern:

Please provide your preferred form of contact, either email address or phone number. This information will not be shared.
Providing an accurate location is necessary for us to respond to this issue. This can be a street address, cross streets, or a business name.

Please provide a detailed description so that we can respond appropriately.

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Upcoming Events

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November 2, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

Walk-in Clinic Hours

November 9, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

Walk-in Clinic Hours

November 9, 2016 | 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Solid Waste Management Committee Meeting

November 11, 2016 | 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

JCDHE Closed on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2016)

November 16, 2016 | 10:00 am to 6:30 pm

Walk-in Clinic Hours