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Phone: 913-715-8500

11811 S. Sunset Drive, Suite 2500, Olathe, Kansas 66061

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wastewater department

Johnson County Wastewater is responsible for the safe collection, transportation, and treatment of wastewater generated by residential, industrial, and commercial customers. Johnson County Wastewater works to eliminate disease-causing bacteria and to protect the environment for human and aquatic life. Johnson County Wastewater's role is to ensure that our streams, rivers and lakes are free from disease-causing bacteria and viruses that are harmful to the public health.

Department News

Your 2015 Johnson County Wastewater Bill
February 4, 2015

In 2015, a median JCW residential customer will be billed $65.39 bimonthly ($32.70 per month) to collect, transport, and treat about 9,000 gallons of wastewater. Customer user charges are the primary source of funding for these general activities.

More information about the 2015 rates.

Utility Assistance is Available
March 5, 2015

Financial assistance to promote safety and avoid utility disconnection is available to qualifying Johnson County households. Help may be provided with electric, water, propane, gas, wastewater, or wood bills. To apply, call 913-715-6653. Services are available by appointment only. More utility assistance information.

Cooking Involves Disposal of Grease and Oil
March 5, 2015

If you're like most people, the disposal of grease and oil left over from the turkey fryer and other cooking adventures is simple - down the drain or the toilet, right? Actually, that's the worst thing you can do. The grease and oil will solidify in your sewer pipes and can cause some nasty problems. The grease team at Johnson County Wastewater suggests the following:

The oil can be used several times if you filter out the solids.  Once the oil is a mixture of teriyaki and Cajun you can either take it to the HHW site for disposal or many restaurants will take the oil if they have a dumpster for it because they will get paid for it.

Otherwise, you should put it in a container after it’s cool and dispose of it in the trash.

Happy cooking!

Water Quality Improves in Indian Creek Following Wastewater Treatment Upgrades
October 1, 2014

Study Finds Urbanization Plays a Large Role in Water Quality

Nutrient levels decreased 40 to 55 percent in Indian Creek following upgrades and changes to treatment processes at the Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin and Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTFs) in Johnson County, Kansas, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

High levels of nutrients, which are essential for plant growth, are not necessarily beneficial. Excessive nutrients can be harmful by degrading habitats and decreasing the amount of oxygen in the water. This can result in areas experiencing stress or death of near or bottom dwelling organisms. Johnson County Wastewater completed treatment upgrades at both wastewater treatment plants totaling approximately $37 million, and a significant part of the investment went directly to nutrient removal facilities.

While wastewater discharge has the most substantial effect on nutrient levels in Indian Creek, urban influences were also found to play a major role in affecting water quality. Indian Creek is one of the most urbanized drainage basins in Johnson County, and receives discharge from two WWTFs. After upgrades to the Indian Creek WWTFs in 2008–2009, nutrient levels decreased by about 40 to 55 percent in both wastewater discharges and water tested downstream of the plants from 2010-13.

However, increasing urban development contributes to the decline of water-quality and habitat, and aquatic plants and animals adapting to those declining conditions. The complete USGS study, done in cooperation with Johnson County Wastewater, can be found online.

“Johnson County Wastewater values the information provided in this USGS study,” said John O’Neil, general manager for Johnson County Wastewater. “In our role of providing wastewater treatment to a significant population and discharging to effluent-dominated streams, this information is critical in making sound decisions to further improve water-quality in the receiving streams while also minimizing the impact to our rate payers.”

Aquatic plants and animals that tolerate degraded water-quality conditions were more prevalent in Indian Creek than in less urbanized drainage basins in Johnson County.

“The Indian Creek study furthers our understanding of the relationship between urbanization, wastewater discharges and stream health,” said Mike Tate, Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “This study, and others like it, will assist policy makers in determining the most cost effective means of improving stream health in urban areas.”

Despite decreases in nutrient concentrations, effects of wastewater discharge on Indian Creek were still evident. When wastewater represented a substantial portion of total streamflow, nutrient concentrations were ten to 100 times larger downstream from the WWTFs than upstream from the WWTFs.

“This study was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the effects of wastewater discharge on an urban stream,” said Jennifer Graham, research hydrologist and lead USGS scientist on the study. “The high-resolution data collected by this study allowed us to document water-quality improvements following WWTF upgrades and differentiate between urban and wastewater influences on Indian Creek.”

More information about USGS studies in Johnson County can be found on the USGS Kansas Water Science Center website.

The Top 10 Things to Keep Out of the Sewers
May 19, 2014
  1. Prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals
  2. Hair
  3. Rags and towels
  4. Baby wipes and diapers
  5. Disposable toilet brushes
  6. Syringes
  7. Personal care products
  8. Grease
  9. Aquarium gravel and kitty litter
  10. Cotton swabs

You plug it, you pay for it

Not only do these items, and a host of others, create sewer backups and overflows, they also cause backups in the public sewer pipes and at the local wastewater treatment plant. The related costs are then passed on to rate payers. Disposable doesn’t mean flushable, and even if it reads flushable, you are still safer and more environmentally correct to place it in the trashcan. It’s also a waste of water to flush or send down the drain those things which don’t belong there.

And there’s more …

Whatever ends up in the sewer can potentially impact the water environment. Remember, cleaner water and a healthier environment begins with you and how you choose to dispose of pharmaceuticals, household hazardous wastes, fats, oils, and grease, and trash. Controlling what goes through the sewer pipes is the easiest and most effective way to protect the environment and you can start today.

In the national spotlight …

Wipes in the pipes is not only a problem for Johnson County Wastewater plant operators, but it has become such a far-reaching and expensive problem, that NBC produced the following news story on the topic.


Sources: www.nbcwashington.com and the Water Environment Federation