Stormwater Quality Programs

Public Works Stormwater Quality Programs Header

Protect Our Waterways

Help raise awareness about runoff pollution and keep our waterways clean. Unlike wastewater from a house or business, stormwater is not treated before it reaches lakes and streams. The rainwater can pick up substances along the way, such as lawn chemicals, oil, and other household chemicals like paint and soap, and wash it directly into the stream. This runoff can pollute our waterways, harm wildlife, and degrade water quality.

You can protect our waterways. We encourage everyone to participate in water quality programs offered by the Unified Government.

Free Soil Testing for Kansas City, Kansas Residents

Public Works Soil Testing

Download Free Soil Testing Brochure

Free Soil Testing

Kansas City, Kansas residents are eligible to receive one free soil test per household per year while funds last.

DOWNLOAD the free Soil Testing Brochure(PDF, 6MB).To obtain a free soil testing kit, visit the K-State Soil Testing webpage.

Take your soil sample to:
Wyandotte County Conservation District
1216 N. 79th Street, Kansas City, KS 66112

Public Works Soil Testing Mix Soil

What does a soil test tell me?

A basic soil test tells you if the soil has the nutrients for healthy plant growth at levels for most lawns and home gardens. Plants thrive when soil nutrients and minerals are within an optimal range.

A soil test measures soil pH (acid, neutral, alkaline), nutrients, basic minerals, and organic matter in the soil. This includes levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and cation exchange capacity (how well the soil holds minerals).

The test does not identify or measure insects, soil-borne diseases, pesticide residues, or other contaminants and cannot answer questions about soil composition, drainage, or compaction.

Samples are sent to the Soil Testing Laboratory at Kansas State University. A report will be mailed to you.

The soil test report shows the result on a scale from “Very Low” to “Very High”. The report gives recommendations to improve soil quality such as adjusting soil pH and nutrient levels or that your soil is healthy, and no additional nutrients are needed. Follow the recommendations for a healthy lawn and garden.

Public Works Soil Testing Why Flower Beds

Why should I test my soil?

Soil Health – A key to lawn and garden success is soil health. Healthy soil is the foundation of healthy plants. Soils contain the nutrients, water, air, and living organisms that help create healthy and sustainable lawns, gardens, and landscapes.

If you're spending money on your lawn and landscape, it’s smart to invest in improving soil health.

Testing the soil gives you information about the type and amount of fertilizer or soil amendment needed to maintain good plant health. This can save you money and time and helps the environment, too.

Applying too much fertilizer or nutrients can harm plants just as much as not enough nutrients in the soil. Excess fertilizer may wash away during a rainstorm, flowing into nearby streams or lakes and causing pollution such as algae blooms.

Soil Testing Brochure

How to Take a Good Soil Sample

Follow these steps to get a representative soil sample for testing.

  1. Using a clean shovel or garden trowel, dig down to a depth of:
    • 4 inches for lawns or pastures
    • 6 inches for vegetables, flowers, and small fruits (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  2. Collect soil from 4 - 5 locations for testing the area. Each sample should be about 1 cup in size.

  3. Mix soil samples together in a clean bowl or container. Remove all plant material or debris, like roots, sticks, leaves, worms, grubs, and bugs.

  4. Let the soil dry out in the open air. The soil should be dry, but do not use heat to dry the sample.

  5. Place two cups of the dry, mixed soil in a resealable, quart-size plastic bag; write your name and phone number on the bag.

  6. Fill out your soil test form on the K-State Soil Testing webpage.

  7. Bring the soil sample to the Wyandotte County K-State Extension Office at 1216 N. 79th Street, Kansas City, KS 66112, during the weekday (Monday to Friday) between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

  8. You will receive the soil test results by mail in 2-3 weeks.

Recommended Videos for Soil Sampling

University of Illinois Extension: Taking a Soil Sample

Public Works Soil Testing Video Illinois

Division of Agriculture: How to Collect Soil Samples at Home

Public Works Soil Testing Video Arkansas

Cost-Share Program

Public Works Cost Share Program

Public Works Cost Share Brochure

Cost Share Program

You Can Participate
Do you reside in Kansas City, Kansas? Are you interested in installing stormwater improvements on your property?

Review the program requirements below and on the Cost-Sharing Brochure(PDF, 2MB)and dial 3-1-1 if you have questions.

Reduce Runoff: Slow it down, Spread it out, Soak it in.
The Stormwater Treatment Facility (STF) Cost-Share Program is for Kansas City, Kansas residents and property owners. This program can help improve water quality in our creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes caused by stormwater runoff.

One goal of this Cost-Share Program is to support individual homeowners and businesses to install stormwater treatment facilities on their property that protect water quality by reducing runoff. By capturing rainwater where it lands, pollutants and sediment have a chance to settle out rather than flow into our water bodies.

The program helps cover the cost of materials and/or contractor labor to install approved stormwater treatment facilities.

The Unified Government will provide the following:

Public Works Cost Share Graphic Raingarden

  • 50% match up to $1,000
  • Rain gardens, native plant swales/buffers, cisterns, and permeable pavement (driveways/patios).

Public Works Cost Share Graphic Barrels

  • 50% match up to $75 each.
  • native trees*, maximum of 2 per household.

Public Works Cost Share Graphic Native

  • 50% match up to $75 each.
  • Rain barrels, maximum of 2 per household.

Funding is available to applicants on a first come, first serve basis. Applications are considered in the order received and may be limited depending on the number of requests and funds available each year. Stormwater control projects that are required to meet Chapter 8 Article XV of the Unified Government Municipal Code are not eligible under the Cost-Share Program.

Public Works Native Plant Resources

Native Plant Resources

Check these websites for native plants suitable for the home landscape and places to purchase native plants.

Public Works Native Contain RainContain the Rain Installing sustainable landscape solutions, like rain gardens, native trees, or rain barrels, on your property will help "contain the rain" where it falls, which reduces the amount of stormwater going into storm drains. Water from rain and melting snow that enters storm drains will eventually find its way to our streams, rivers, and lakes carrying all the pollutants it picked up along the way.

Program Details

  1. The applicant pays for all upfront project costs. The Unified Government reimburses for the costs after the project is completed. After submitting all final costs and receipts, the Unified Government will mail the applicant a check.

  2. Applications are accepted between April 1 and October 31. The project must be completed by October 31 of the same year.

  3. The Unified Government requires access to your property to check the project site at the following stages:
    • pre-construction
    • post-construction (final inspection of the project)
    • during the 3-year maintenance period
  4. Installation of an approved project is the property owner's responsibility.

  5. The funded project will be maintained for a minimum of three years from the date of final inspection. All maintenance is the responsibility of the property owner.

  6. The applicant is responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, including notifying Kansas One Call before digging. This application approval does not constitute a permit.
    Cost-share Application Form(PDF, 412KB)
    Public Works Cost Share Form(PDF, 412KB)

Deep Roots KC

Public Works Native Deep Roots
Our mission is to encourage the appreciation, conservation, and use of native plants in the heartland through educating, collaborating, and facilitating the planting of regenerative native landscapes that are essential for a healthy planet.

Grow Native!

Public Works Native Grow NativeKeep Nature Near, Grow Native! helps protect and restore biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use in urban, suburban, and rural developed landscapes of the Lower Midwest—Missouri, southwestern Illinois, northern Arkansas, and eastern Kansas.


Public Works Native MARC PosterNative Plants for the KC Region - 10 common species of plants, flowers, and trees that grow well in the weather conditions of our region.

Storm Drain Inlet Stenciling

Storm Drain StencilingStorm drain stenciling is a great activity for all types of organizations, from neighborhood associations to scout groups to service clubs. By participating, the members of your group will better understand of the close link between our streets and waterways, and you will leave behind a reminder for others.

To participate, please contact the Wyandotte County Conservation District

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