Kansas City Overflows Must Go- Taking Action to Improve the Sewer System

Kansas City is in the midst of recovering from floods due to severe rain events, as well as rehabilitating the water infrastructures that have given way to leaks and fractures in the sewer pipelines. For the last several years, there have been ongoing repairs and replacement programs for the purpose of bringing an unstable system back up to date. In addition to this, the city is also proceeding with a massive overhaul to the water mains that have fallen into a state of disrepair. Neighborhoods, more specifically, residences near North Brighton Ave and North Highland Ave are one of many areas that have concluded the replacement of their water mains. Some dating back to the late 1800’s, with the majority of pipelines dating back over sixty years ago, will be included in a multibillion-dollar sewer overhaul program. Homes built in the 1950’s in low-lying areas, now experience flooding from both rushing rain water and infiltration of that water from the storm pipes to the sanitary sewer lines. Some residents have experienced sewer backups in basements and have installed grinder pumps as a means to stop water from entering their homes. Older homes have rain gutters or other storm drains connected directly to the sewer line. Additionally, Instead of allowing the excess water to back up into streets and basements, an old-age tactic was to build overflow valves that divert some of the untreated flow into the nearest waterway. While these practices have become obsolete and are no longer accepted, rehabilitating the century-old sewer lines is a vital measure in assuaging sewer overflows. A combination of the rehabilitation projects and modifications to pumps and operating procedures have resulted in a significant reduction in sewer overflows due to inflow and infiltration.

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