KC Water is responsible for more than just the clean water that flows into our homes and businesses. KC Water, also known as the City of Kansas City, Missouri Water Services Department, is actually made up of three separate utilities: Water, providing clean water Kansas Citians use daily; Stormwater, capturing and managing water from rainfall that drains to our streets; and Wastewater, capturing and treating water flushed and washed down our drains after the usual household, commercial and industrial uses. The nearly 320 square mile service area is one of the largest in the nation. For comparison, the combined service area of San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia and Boston is 268 square miles.
The Wastewater Treatment Division is one of many divisions within KC Water and works closely with Engineering, Stormwater, Asset Management, Finance and other divisions, as well as design consultants and contractors. The collaborative approach using best management practices results in day-to-day operational reliability to protect the public health and our environment.
Approximately 100 City staff who work within the Wastewater Treatment Division are responsible for managing the wastewater that is collected and pumped to treatment plants. This includes rainwater in Kansas City proper and wastewater in 27 surrounding communities. These unsung heroes who are operators, maintenance mechanics, engineers, electricians, and others oversee wastewater operations 24 hours per day, seven days per week regardless of weather. They begin their shift at the Blue River Wastewater Treatment Plant located on Hawthorne Road off of I-435 & Front Street. It is the largest of six treatment plants in the system and the biggest in the state.
A dozen staff work at the Blue River Plant at one time. The remainder drive across the service area to ensure proper operation and to perform maintenance at over 60 facilities, which consist of 43 sanitary pump stations, 15 flood pump stations, five other wastewater treatment plants and one retention basin.
All six wastewater treatment plants, strategically located across KC, use treatment processes to provide preliminary, primary, and secondary wastewater treatment. They also provide disinfection before discharging cleaned and clear water into a nearby receiving stream or river, depending on the treatment plant location. Wastewater solids from all facilities are treated at the Blue River plant. Microorganisms convert the wastewater solids into a stable and more pleasant form for agricultural land application.
All flows are continuously sampled and tested per stringent state and federal water quality standards as defined by permits issued by the State of Missouri and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2020, plant staff took a total of 6,700 samples which underwent 15,700 analyses resulting in reporting by the Wastewater Treatment Division of 7,000 parameters.
Wastewater by the Numbers
- 320 square mile service area
- 2,800 miles of wastewater collection system
- 43 sanitary pump stations
- 15 flood (stormwater) pump stations
- 6 wastewater treatment plants
- 1 retention basin