In the early 1990s, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) introduced strict regulations for sanitary landfills. The USEPA asked the individual States to enforce these new requirements, and the State of Kansas passed the responsibility down to the various counties.

At that time, most counties had county-operated sanitary landfills, that simply could not meet the new, tougher compliance regulations. Therefore, the State of Kansas, through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), asked each county to draft and submit a plan for how they would address these new requirements and plans for managing their solid waste. Under the planning program, counties were allowed to make regional compacts, or Solid Waste Authorities, to share the intense, detailed work of writing a solid waste management plan.

In 1995, six East-Central Kansas counties - Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, Linn, Miami and Osage - agreed to form a Solid Waste Authority for joint planning; giving it the name Lake Region Solid Waste Authority (LRSWA). In 2024, the Authority expanded to include a seventh member - Shawnee County. The governing document is called an Interlocal Agreement, which is signed by each county commissioner, in each of the counties, and then sent to the Kansas Attorney General for final approval. The document has been updated as the LRSWA has grows to meet the changing needs of its members, but the original focus and goal remains the same; to facilitate the three "R"s... Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The LRSWA is governed by a Board of Directors made up of two voting members from each county. The day-to-day operations are overseen by the Regional Coordinator, a staff position. The operating budget comes from "dues" or assessments paid by each county. The budget is adopted annually by the LRSWA Board of Directors and then sent on to each county commission for final approval.

Some of our old solid waste problems remain, but new and innovative solutions are always being explored and becoming available. Recycling Centers and Household Hazardous Waste Collection remain the key programs offered by the counties within the LRSWA, however we continue to look for new opportunities to reduce the amount of waste going to transfer stations and landfills. In the future, member counties are working towards also offer more re-use opportunities such as community composting.


Solid Waste Management Plan

The Lake Region Solid Waste Management Plan is the document that guides each of the six member counties with its solid waste issues. 

The Plan is only a guide. By state law, it is reviewed annually and filed with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Waste Management. The county commissions in each member county are the final authority in solid waste management decisions.