Monday, April 26, 2010

Mary Lappin, P.E. receives national award

Mary Lappin, P.E. who appeared on "Water, Water Everywhere" in November 2009, received a Distinguished Service Award from NACWA. NACWA's National Environmental Achievement Awards Program annually recognizes individuals and member agencies that have made outstanding contributions to environmental protection and wastewater management. Congratulations!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Water, Water News Magazine

Here is a link to the Civil Engineering article on storm damage of water lines and wastewater systems. Dr. Deb walked the show through some surprising aspects of storm damage. She also shared some news about algae problems in China and how this radio show ("Water, Water Everywhere") fits in the need for public education about our infrastructure. Listen to the podcast.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Water, Water News Magazine

Dr. Deb reviewed the press release regarding the finalization of the plan for Kansas City's sewer repairs. Since the fountains in the area were just turned on, we discussed fountain and pump history (briefly). Listen to the podcast.

Friday, April 16, 2010

More progress on finalizing Kansas City's consent decree

Friday, Apr 16, 2010

Posted on Thu, Apr. 15, 2010

KC Council approves accord with EPA on $2.5 billion sewer system overhaul

By LYNN HORSLEY The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Council gave its blessing Thursday to a consent decree with the federal government for a $2.5 billion overhaul of the city’s aging sewer system.

The vote caps more than a year of intense negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency over allegations that Kansas City had been polluting rivers and streams with its sewer overflows.

The proposed settlement allows a 25-year schedule to fix those problems — a longer sewer repair time frame than other cities have received.

The plan still must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and a federal judge before it takes effect.

The 25-year schedule allows the city to spread out the costs over a longer period, thus somewhat reducing the serious financial effect on Kansas City’s sewer patrons.

In addition, the consent decree sets out $600,000 in federal civil penalties for alleged sewer violations and gives time frames and deadlines for the massive amount of work that must be done.

The project involves the installation of huge tunnels and new sewer pipes, along with “green solutions” — environmentally progressive, natural landscaping approaches designed to improve water quality.

The city also agreed to provide funds to help about 500 low- to moderate-income families on septic systems hook up to nearby sewer lines.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-234-4317 or send e-mail to

© 2010 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kansas City is quite green

Kansas City ranks 16th among 41 metropolitan areas in the ACBJ Green Index: Kansas City Business Journal article.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cheyenne Bottoms wetland - Pete Jarchow, P.E.

Pete Jarchow from HNTB told us about the restoration work at the Kansas Cheyenne Bottoms Wetland that his firm completed. The wetland can now move flood waters around and maintain habitats using refurbished berms and pumps. Pete's comments about muskrats burrowing into the berms reminded Deb of the Wind in the Willows (installment 1/installment 2). Listen to the podcast.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Missouri River sediment loss impact

John Grothaus, P.E. and Christina Ostrander from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers talked about the sediment loss in the Missouri River near Kansas City. Christina explained how sediment levels are monitored and John discussed how sediment loss in the Missouri affects the tributary streams which flow into it. Listen to the podcast.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kansas City finalizes consent decree

News from the Water Services Department


CONTACT: Colleen Doctorian, (816) 513-0232, Public Information Officer, Water Services Department, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Ordinance proposed for City Manager to authorize consent decree for the Overflow Control Plan

The City Council introduced an ordinance today to authorize the City Manager to execute a proposed consent decree with the United States to cover the implementation of the Citys Overflow Control Plan.

The Plan is the largest infrastructure investment in Kansas City's history with an estimated cost of $2.4 billion (in 2008 dollars) to control overflows from its wastewater collection system over a period of 25 years.

"This culminates a tough, multi-year effort, which has resulted in the right plan and schedule for Kansas City that will improve water quality, bring us into compliance with State and federal law, and reduce the occurrence of basement backups, all in a cost-effective and sustainable manner," said City Manager Troy Schulte.

The City's plan is unique and innovative in its approach to solving these challenging problems. The City will reduce overflows as required but will look for ways to maximize economic, social and environmental benefits. The City will invest in infrastructure improvements that produce the highest benefit in terms of water quality for dollars spent. The City plans to:

" improve operations and invest in maintenance of the systems " increase on-going efforts to repair and replace the existing systems " add storage, conveyance, and treatment capacity " enhance our community with green solutions.

Mayor Mark Funkhouser said, "The Overflow Control Plan offers a solution for problems created by decades of neglect. For the last several years, the City staff and the Council have negotiated hard for a plan that offers results for the taxpayers of Kansas City. This consent decree charts a course that will protect this region's streams and rivers, and also will result in new 'green collar' jobs in Kansas City. I want to thank the City staff and the City Council for developing a plan that protects the future for our children and puts the residents of our City to work."

Water Services Director Bernardo Garcia said the Overflow Control Plan is the right plan because:

" we have developed the most cost-effective plan consistent with environmental requirements, public input and council direction " a world class city needs adequate sewer infrastructure " we are not spending past point of commensurate public/environmental benefit.

He added that the 25-year-plan is also the right schedule because it will:

* keep rates affordable

* maximize green solutions

* integrate this work with other KCMO projects and programs

"The plan will also minimize rate impacts," Garcia said. "The City has been in lengthy and tough negotiations with the EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resource to achieve the most affordable plan that still meets City objectives and complies with Federal/State mandates. The Plan allows for optimum funding balance. We will relentlessly seek opportunities to manage costs and find the optimum funding balance between rates and debt financing. We expect priority for State/Federal grants and/or loans (particularly with grant equivalents like negative interest loans, principle forgiveness, etc)."

The Kansas City, Missouri Water Services Department maintains and operates water collection treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management and wastewater collection and treatment for residential and business customers in Kansas City, Missouri. Water Services produces the No. 1 ranked tap water in the country. The department also sells water to 33 wholesale customers in the metro area and treats wastewater for 27 satellite customers. Operation of all three utilities is funded entirely by fees charged to customers based on their use of products and services, not taxes.