Looking for more information about Kansas City's wastewater system and our Smart Sewer program? Interested in learning more about the types of sewer projects happening around the City? Check out our list of resources to find the information you need.
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In 2010, the City of Kansas City, Missouri entered into a Consent Decree with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the volume and frequency of overflows from the City’s sewer system. KC Water's Smart Sewer program is a 25-year, $4.5 billion plan to address this challenge.
Download our Smart Sewer FAQ handout to learn more about the Smart Sewer program.
Inflow and Infiltration (I/I) Sources:
Sanitary sewer systems are designed to carry wastewater and stormwater in separate pipes. When it rains, stormwater can enter the wastewater sewer system through breaks and faulty connections, causing overflows.
|To reduce public sources of inflow and infiltration, KC Water’s Smart Sewer program is working to restore sewer mains, service lateral connections and manholes throughout targeted areas of Kansas City.||Improper private sewer connections place a burden on the City’s sanitary sewer system. The Keep Out the Rain program finds and fixes these prohibited sewer connections for free. Find out if you’re eligible.|
Combined vs. Separate Systems
|When it rains, the combined sewer system must carry both rainwater and wastewater. When wet weather flows overload the system, it is designed to discharge diluted wastewater directly into local waterways.||To reduce combined wastewater overflows, KC Water will be installing a second piping system to separate stormwater and wastewater flows in targeted areas of Kansas City.|
Smoke testing is used to find breaks or improper connections to our sewer system. It involves blowing air and artificially-produced smoke into the sewer system and seeing where it emerges. If the sewer is in good condition, the smoke will emerge from manhole covers and house vents on roofs. If the smoke emerges anywhere else, there is potential for water to enter the sewer system.
Download our Smoke Testing FAQ brochure to learn more about smoke testing, and what to expect if it is taking place near your property.
An easement is an area of private property that contains City-maintained infrastructure, such as water mains, sewer mains or stormwater mains. An easement is legally designated for specific uses, access, and travel-through by an entity other than the property owner. There are several types of easements including the sewer, water and public utility easements utilized by KC Water.
Download our Easement Access FAQ brochure to learn more about why crews need access to easements, who is allowed on your easement, and what to expect when work is taking place.
Water can make its way into your basement in a variety of ways. While checking and sealing cracks in your basement walls and floor are important steps to keeping your basement dry, remember the origin of basement leaks can often be traced back to the drainage conditions outside your home.
Download our "Why is my basement wet?" handout to help troubleshoot your wet basement and learn more about preventing future leaks.
Kansas City’s sanitary sewer system consists of separate and combined sewer systems. In the separate sewer system, stormwater and wastewater are collected in two different pipes, where wastewater is routed to a wastewater treatment plant for treatment, and stormwater flows directly to nearby rivers and streams without treatment. In the combined sewer system, stormwater and wastewater are collected in the same pipe and routed to a wastewater treatment plant for treatment.
To help reduce the frequency of combined sewer overflows, KC Water’s Smart Sewer program is separating portions of the combined sewer system in targeted areas of the City.
These improvements will help protect our community’s environment by reducing the amount of stormwater entering our sewer system, which will in turn reduce the frequency of sewer overflows and potential for basement backups. On some projects, green infrastructure is also being incorporated to handle discharges from the newly separated storm sewers and capture stormwater where it falls.
Neighborhood Sewer Rehabilitation
In many neighborhoods throughout Kansas City, wastewater and stormwater are combined to flow through the same pipes. As a part of KC Water’s Smart Sewer program, targeted areas throughout the City are being restored to remove excess rainwater from this combined sewer system. Repairing and rehabilitating neighborhood sewer systems, including pipes and manholes, will help protect our community’s environment by reducing the amount of stormwater entering our sewer system.
Diversion Structure & Sewer Consolidation
As part of KC Water’s Smart Sewer program, publicly-owned sewers in targeted areas throughout the combined sewer system are being consolidated. These projects can reduce the complexity of the sewer system by reducing the number of outfalls, and in some cases, removing them entirely. Consolidation typically results in lower maintenance costs, easier and more accurate monitoring of rain events, and fewer sewer overflows during smaller rain events.
Green infrastructure helps our community manage stormwater the way nature intended by capturing and utilizing rainwater where it falls. It decreases the amount of water getting into our pipes, improves water quality, and reduces flooding, pollution, and trash in our streams, rivers, and lakes. Green infrastructure slows, absorbs, and filters stormwater before it enters and overflows Kansas City’s sewer system. It replenishes groundwater and sustains plants, trees, and natural habitats while working with gray infrastructure to increase the capacity of our underground pipes. It also helps to filter pollutants from rainwater runoff before it is discharged into our streams and rivers.
KC Water’s Smart Sewer program is installing a variety of green infrastructure installations in targeted areas throughout the City. Learn more about green infrastructure in Kansas City.
Inflow and Infiltration Reduction
Inflow and infiltration (I/I) is a term used to describe rainwater and groundwater that enters sewer pipes that are meant to carry wastewater only. When it rains, stormwater can enter our wastewater sewer system through breaks and faulty connections, which can overwhelm the system and lead to sewer overflows.
As a part of KC Water’s Smart Sewer program, publicly-owned sewers, pipes, and manholes in targeted areas throughout Kansas City are being restored to reduce the amount of I/I entering our wastewater system. These repairs will help protect our community’s environment by reducing the amount of stormwater and groundwater entering our sewer system, which will reduce the frequency of sewer overflows.
Pumping and Conveyance
KC Water’s Smart Sewer program is working on pumping and conveyance projects within our combined sewer system — where stormwater and wastewater are collected in the same pipe. These projects will increase the capacity of key pump stations across Kansas City, allow more combined stormwater and wastewater to flow to our wastewater treatment plants, and reduce the frequency of sewer combined sewer overflows.
Storage and Conveyance
KC Water’s Smart Sewer program includes projects to improve storage and conveyance within our combined sewer system. This will increase the capacity of our system, redirecting and storing wet weather flows during large rain events. These flows are re-released into the system once the storm passes and the flows recede. This added capacity will reduce the frequency of sewer overflows.
Wastewater Treatment Plants
Wastewater treatment plants remove contaminants from wastewater before it reenters our waterways. Physical, chemical, and biological processes are used to remove contaminants and produce treated wastewater that is safe to release into the environment.
As a part of KC Water’s Smart Sewer program, improvements are being made to increase the capacity and functionality of our wastewater treatment facilities. This means our system will be able to handle more flow during heavy rain, reducing the frequency of sewer overflows.
Rain gardens are shallow depressions filled with native plants designed to catch and absorb stormwater runoff while bringing a touch of nature to your yard or business. But they do more than preserve the environment: They also enhance it by using native plantings to attract birds and insects, including pollinators.
Download our How to Build a Rain Garden handout to learn more about installing this green infrastructure feature on your own property.
Did you know an average 1-inch rainfall can produce more than 600 gallons of runoff from your roof? Installing a rain barrel can save you money on your water bill by collecting water and storing it for the dry summer months when you need it most.
Download our How to Build a Rain Barrel handout to learn how to make one for yourself!
Green infrastructure helps our community manage stormwater the way nature intended by capturing and utilizing rainwater where it falls. It decreases the amount of water getting into our pipes, improves water quality, and reduces flooding, pollution, and trash in our streams, rivers, and lakes. Learn more about the KC Green Infrastructure program.
KC Green Infrastructure Resources:
- Green Infrastructure Story Map
- Green Stormwater Infrastructure Manual
- Smart Sewer Adaptive Management Plan
There are over 230 sites throughout Kansas City that utilize green infrastructure to keep rainfall from getting into the sewer system. It is a sustainable, natural approach that is good for people, neighborhoods and the environment.
Download our KC Green Infrastructure Sites handout for a map of installations around Kansas City!