From N. Kent Carter, founding member of the KLEA:
In fall 1984, the KLEA was founded by four industry professionals: N. Kent Carter, Industrial Pretreatment Administrator for the City of Wichita Water & Sewer Department; Terry R. Loucks, Laboratory Supervisor for the City of Wichita Water & Wastewater Laboratory; Steve DeHart, Operations Supervisor for the City of Manhattan Wastewater Treatment Plant; and Robert Nichols, Director of Laboratory Services Division for the EPA Region VII.
Throughout the spring and summer of 1984, the four co-founders had multiple discussions about emerging environmental regulations and the challenges regional laboratories faced in determining and establishing compliance testing in response to those regulations. Requirements of the U.S. EPA Clean Water Act and the recent establishment of the Industrial Pretreatment Program under that act began to affect water and wastewater treatment facilities throughout the region. Robert Nichols suggested that the four men should meet to discuss their concerns and decide how to respond to the recent issues.
The four men decided to meet at Steve DeHart’s office in the Manhattan Wastewater Treatment Plant in September 1984. This was the first of about 10 meetings the men had in Manhattan before spring 1985. During those early meetings, the men discussed the common needs of laboratories across Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, specifically addressing:
- Information about existing and new EPA regulations
- Guidance from EPA and state laboratory certification personnel
- Emerging technologies to support required sampling and testing protocols
- What products and services were available on the market to support required testing
- Laboratory safety concerns
- Consistency across all labs in analytical techniques and reporting of test results
- The need for continuing education in all of the above areas
As their discussions continued, it became apparent that these issues not only affected laboratory technicians but also water and wastewater plant operators, field samplers, chemists, biologists and other industry professionals. They concluded that a formal organization was needed; the KLEA was born.
The men wrote the KLEA’s mission statement as it stands today, and they established Kansas State University as the permanent conference home. The inaugural conference took place on May 7, 1985. They contacted as many treatment facilities and laboratories across the state, recruited volunteers to serve on the unofficial “board” and planned the first conference.
Since 1985, the KLEA has grown from its four founding members to include approximately 12 members. It has been promoting continued dialogue among laboratories in the state of Kansas, and its members hope to continue to accomplish its goals as outlined in the mission statement for many years to come.
Our Mission & Appraoch
The purpose of the Kansas Laboratory Education Association, is to foster high Standards of performance within the Scientific Laboratory Professional community, to promote continued dialogue between the Laboratories of the State of Kansas, and to promote and develop high standards in Sampling, Analysis, and Testing methods. And also the Development of Safe, Sustainable, and environmentally conscious methods of operation for those Laboratories.