Low Quality Water Inventory

Photo of Gypsum HillsPurpose

Compile information on waters currently considered to be low quality water for traditional usage. Inventory would include categorizing based on total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations, possibly as slightly saline (1,000-4,999 mg/L TDS) and brackish (5,000-10,000 mg/L TDS).


Additional sources of supply identified in the 50 year Vision for Water in Kansas included a Phase I action item to compile an inventory of lower quality waters, including type, quantity, location and contaminants contained in water. In addition to naturally occurring low quality ground waters, low quality surface waters, wastewater effluent, graywater, stormwater runoff, oil and gas flow back and produced water, other waters with elevated levels of contaminants could provide additional sources of supply with treatment for some uses.


First step is to gather existing information on low quality ground waters, their location and estimated quantities. This step is anticipated to take 12 months to complete. Other sources of low quality water such as surface waters would then be compiled. Estimates for effluent, graywater, stormwater runoff and other sources can be made by agencies involved with programs related to these sources.

Additional activities include the identification of barriers that may exist to allow the use of lower quality waters including state and local laws, regulations, guidelines and policies.

Current Updates

It has been estimated that 1.06 billion barrels of water are produced from oil and gas activities in Kansas in 2012. The annual quantity depends on actual oil and gas production and varies by location in the United States. Generally in Kansas, during the recovery of one barrel of oil, 22 barrels of water are produced. Natural gas production is generally thought to produce 300 barrels of produced water per mmcf of gas in Kansas. (1 barrel = 42 gallons or approximately 0.000128893 acre feet).

Kansas received a grant for a 60 day pilot project treating produced water to be initiated in the fall of 2017. More information can be found on the Produced Water Project Page.

Specifications were put in place in 2014 to allow graywater to be reused in Kansas. It is estimated that graywater (wastewater from showers, bathtubs, laundry and bathroom sinks) is approximately 50 percent of a typical household’s wastewater, an average of 18,250 gallons per year. This could be reused when handled properly.

Graywater Reuse in Kansas, KDHE Report

Graywater System Specification, KDHE Report, 2014

Many communities and industries in Kansas reuse wastewater or stormwater. According to a 2013 Kansas Department of Health and Environment review, 167 permitted wastewater facilities were authorized to reuse treated wastewater. The most common reuse is for irrigation.

Water Use/Reuse - Freshwater, Stormwater, Graywater, & Wastewater, KDHE Presentation, 2016


Estimated cost is $ 27,000 for compilation of existing information, updating of maps and volume estimates by Kansas Geological Survey.

Project Manager

Diane Knowles

KWO Office
900 SW Jackson Street
Suite 404
Topeka, Kansas 66612
Phone: 785-296-3185
Fax: 785-296-0878
Toll Free: 1-888-526-9283
Email the Office
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