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.

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