What We Do

What We Do and How We Do It

In order to fulfill our mission to protect public health and our environment we have several areas we are responsible for implementing, operating, and maintaining. Those primary areas are the Treatment of WastewaterSewer RepairsSewer MaintenanceFlood ReductionStormwater, and the Integrated Overflow Control Program.

Our job starts from the moment you flush your toilet. Your wastewater then travels through the sewer pipeline system (Combined or Separate) contending with possible stormwater or other pipeline issues to a treatment plant where it is treated before going back safely into the environment.

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Treatment Area Map

Wastewater Treatment

Water Pollution Control owns and operates five wastewater treatment plants.

  • Kaw Point Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant 20
  • Wolcott Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant 14
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant 3

 

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Combined, these five treatment plants can handle up to 35 million gallons of wastewater per day – ranging from 10,000 gallons per day at Wastewater Treatment Plant 3 to 28 million gallons per day at Kaw Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Over 100 employees effectively manage a complex system, which operates 24/7 to transport our community’s wastewater. There are several divisions within the Water Pollution Control Department that are each responsible for their own part of the process.

  • Over 20 operators effectively manage the disinfection process.
  • Around 10 lab technicians use a variety of tools to test water samples so that they meet standards.
  • Over 30 sewer maintenance crew members are hard at work to inspect and maintain our sewer lines every day.
  • Around 20 construction crew members work on major and minor sewer repairs to ensure the reliability of our sewer system.


An overview of the Treatment Process:

The Kaw Point Wastewater Treatment Plant cleans wastewater using a sophisticated process before it is discharged into the Missouri River. First, wastewater enters the treatment plant where bar screens filter out trash and solids not intended for the treatment plant. These solids and trash get into the system through various methods – but the most common is through flushing non-organic materials down toilets – including the mislabeled “flushable” wipes – which can cause problems throughout the system and cost taxpayers dollars. Once screened, the wastewater settles in basins which allow grit to settle out, leaving sludge behind.

Aeration-Basins.jpg In the aeration basins, operators bubble air through the sludge – activating microorganisms to further break down the waste to carbon dioxide and water. Next, the wastewater is pumped to another basin to settle out the microorganisms.
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The wastewater is then transported to UV disinfection, where bright UV disinfection lights kill off remaining microorganisms and disinfect the water. After the water is disinfected, it is discharged through an outfall to the Missouri River.

Sewer Repairs

Sewer-Repairs.jpg Repairing sewer pipes across Wyandotte County is a priority. The reliability of our existing infrastructure impacts public health, public safety, property, and local water quality. A majority of our pipes are over 50 years old and are in need of repair. We are working diligently to fix our aging sewer pipes in order to ensure reliable wastewater services to our customers. We are always working on:

  • Minor sewer repairs
  • Major sewer replacements
  • Rebuilding catch basins and manholes
  • Repairing line breaks during emergencies

Sewer Maintenance

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We are responsible for maintaining over 800 miles of wastewater pipes and 400 miles of stormwater pipes across Wyandotte County. We have developed an aggressive maintenance program that includes: 

  • Developing a system-wide cleaning schedule for the sewer lines
  • Televising and inspecting the condition of 800 miles of sewer lines
  • Prioritizing the most problematic lines in the system

We perform daily periodic maintenance and inspection of our sewer lines in order to:

  • Reduce sewer overflows
  • Reduce the occurrence of basement backups
  • Identify areas with high volumes of grease and roots
  • Identify potential repairs before they become costly emergency repairs

We own and operate:

  • 8 combination unit vehicles that have a large vacuum hose attached used to clean out the sewer lines
  • 3 CCTV inspection vans used to inspect and document existing conditions
  • 1 ATV equipped to monitor and visually record defects in the sewer lines

 

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Flood Reduction

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Public safety is our top priority and the reduction of flooding protects public health. Since Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas are uniquely situated between two major rivers, we have a need for reliable levees and pumping systems. Our flood control system is comprised of flood control levees and pump stations that protect our neighborhoods and roads from flooding. Our community is protected from the rivers by 20 miles of flood control levees. Additionally, we own and operate nine out of the fifteen flood pump stations located along the waterways. Pump stations protect low-lying areas from flooding by capturing and pumping away excess stormwater.

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Flooding can be caused by various issues:

  • Debris blocking curb inlets, drainage ditches, culverts, or outfalls
  • Increased runoff from increased development and paved surfaces
  • High water levels in rivers, streams, or lakes
  • Increased rainfall resulting from changes in climate

Localized flooding can occur in our yards, driveways, or near drainage areas. Localized flooding takes place when stormwater pools in areas that are failing to drain properly. Read more information on how you can manage stormwater and reduce flooding on your property. 

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Stormwater

Open-Drain.jpg Our stormwater is managed through a complex system of storm drains, pipes, culverts, drainage ditches, and even streams. Every time it rains, stormwater runs off into either a combined sewer system or a separate storm system. If it enters a combined sewer system, it mixes with wastewater and is sent to a nearby treatment plant. However, when it enters the separate storm system, it is sent directly to our waterways.

When stormwater flows across our yards and streets, it picks up pollutants along the way. These pollutants include trash, debris, pesticides, fertilizers, animal waste, oil and grease, and other contaminants. These pollutants ultimately end up in our waterways and can impact our water quality. Keeping our waterways clean is critical for life – our water is used as drinking water for residents and businesses and also serves important industrial, agricultural, and recreational purposes.

For more about Stormwater Runoff Management

Overflow Control Program

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas must continue to invest in its aging sewer pipes and wastewater facilities. Part of our original sewer system was built over 100 years ago, and much of this is still in use today. When it rains, rainwater gets into our sewer system through storm drains and cracks in the pipes. This can result in sewer overflows, which release a mixture of rainwater and sewage into our environment. In 2013, the Unified Government entered into a Partial Consent Decree (PCD) with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to develop an Integrated Overflow Control Program. To view the PCD, click here.(PDF, 1MB) The negotiated Integrated Overflow Control Program was finalized through a Stipulation of Settlement(PDF, 120KB) in 2020.
 
The Integrated Overflow Control Program focuses on fixing our aging pipes and facilities to reduce sewer overflows and improve the reliability of our sewer system. Your wastewater rates will fund the work that is outlined in this program.
 
Specifically, the Integrated Overflow Control Program includes:
  • Investigate and repair existing sewer infrastructure across the community
  • Upgrade technology throughout facilities to better monitor the system
  • Construct a new wastewater treatment plant to substantially reduce overflows and accommodate new ratepayers
  • Reduce rainwater getting into combined sewers by rehabilitating sewer pipes
  • Increase maintenance of existing sewer pipes and facilities

Community input played an important role in establishing priorities and identifying the work that needs to be done. As a result, the Integrated Overflow Control Program will bring many benefits to your community, such as:
  • Sewer system reliability
  • Community infrastructure enhancements
  • System capacity for redevelopment and growth
  • Cleaner waterways