The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. (UG) collects and treats domestic, commercial, and industrial wastewater from about 110,000 residents at five water resource recovery facilities. The system contains more than 1290 km (800 mi) of sewer lines, one-third of which are combined sewers. Since 2004, UG has reported more than 450 sewer overflows, which affect the Missouri and Kansas rivers and their tributaries.
On March 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with UG to address sewer overflows and urban stormwater pollution. Based on the agreement, UG will improve sewer system operation and maintenance programs, begin addressing sewer overflows, and implement an improved stormwater management plan.
UG will focus on the most-severe water quality problems first, developing an overflow control plan by September 2016. Short-term projects and ongoing programmatic activities alone are estimated to cost $20 million. However, UG will also work on a long-term approach that will likely cost substantially more.
The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.