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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

Susan Pekarek hired as new JCW general manager
September 26, 2016

Susan Pekarek, chief engineer at JCW for the past three years and a 15-year employee with the department, has been named the new general manager of JCW which provides sanitary sewer service to more than 400,000 customers throughout the county.

She succeeds John P. O’Neil, who retired from JCW on July 1, ending a 27-year career with Johnson County. During the county’s national search for his replacement, Pekarek served as the interim manager of the department.

A resident of Overland Park, Pekarek assumed her new duties September 25.

The selection of the new wastewater administrator was announced by Deputy County Manager Penny Postoak Ferguson.

“Susan Pekarek has long served the residents of Johnson County in her role with JCW. She has demonstrated leadership, knowledge, professionalism, and hard work in wastewater operations,” Postoak Ferguson said. “The county will continue to benefit from her incredible value as a well-respected wastewater professional, a team player, a team leader, and a dedicated county employee. She’s a good fit to fill big shoes.”

In her new role, Pekarek will oversee the $280 million Tomahawk Wastewater Treatment Facility expansion project which is the largest project JCW will have completed in its 70 year history. Overall, she will oversee assets in excess of $2 billion.

“I am very excited about the challenges and opportunities for community service this position offers,” Pekarek said. “Johnson County Wastewater is recognized as one of the best wastewater utilities in the nation and I look forward to working with the excellent staff at JCW to continue that tradition.”

Pekarek has served as chief engineer, including overseeing the Asset Management, Planning and Public Projects Division, since 2013. She joined JCW in 2001 as a managing engineer in the Engineering and Operations and Maintenance Divisions along with assisting in three major wastewater treatment plant expansions totaling more than $100 million.

Before joining Johnson County, Pekarek began her professional career in 1997 as an environmental engineer at Burns and McDonnell where she worked for four years.

She received a bachelor’s degree (1996) in civil engineering from Kansas State University and a master’s degree (1997), also from KSU, in civil engineering with an environmental focus.

Her professional memberships and collaborations include the Core 4 Blue River Watershed Integrated Planning Task Force, the Kansas Water Environmental Association and Water Environmental Research Federation.

Johnson County Wastewater is responsible for the safe collection, transportation, and treatment of wastewater generated by more than 139,000 residential, industrial, and commercial accounts.

JCW operates a total treatment capacity of nearly 64 million gallons per day, including six major treatment plants, 31 pump stations, and more than 2,250 miles of wastewater lines that processes more than 18.5 billion gallons of sewage annually. The wastewater system covers a service area of more than 172 square miles and 16 cities. 

Imagine a Day Without Water!
September 15, 2016

No water to drink, or even to make coffee with. No water to shower, flush the toilet, or do laundry. Hospitals would close without water. Firefighters couldn't put out fires and farmers couldn't water their crops.

Some communities in America already know how impossible it is to try to go a day without our most precious resource: Water. Johnson County Government joins the Value of Water Coalition on September 15, 2016, with a proclamation as we raise awareness and educate America about the value of water.

We all depend on freshwater for drinking, food, energy, work, and play. Our waters are overtapped, but we can fix this! 

No American should have to imagine a day without water. For more information, please visit Imagine a Day Without Water.

Peak Performance Awards announced
August 25, 2016

The Peak Performance Awards recognizes National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) member facilities for excellence in permit compliance. Award recipients were recognized at NACWA's Summer Conference and Annual Meeting in Denver on July 11. Click here to view the award video.

Two JCW treatment plants received Platinum Awards, honoring Blue River Main with a Ten Year Award and Mill Creek Regional with a Nine Year Award. Platinum Awards recognize 100 percent compliance with permits over a consecutive five-year period. Platinum Awards are given to facilities with a consistent record of full compliance for a consecutive five year period (Platinum Nine and Ten is for nine and ten consecutive years). If 100 percent compliance is maintained beyond the initial award, Platinum Award status is continued.

Should 100 percent compliance not be maintained, member agency facilities must receive four consecutive Gold Awards to again be eligible for another Platinum Award in their fifth year of compliance. All of the remaining JCW plants received Gold Awards. They are: Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin, Myron K. Nelson, New Century Air Center and Tomahawk Creek. Gold Awards are presented to facilities with no violations for the calendar year.

Members of the Operations and Maintenance staff were recognized at the Aug. 25 meeting of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.

"JCW is double platinum again! I am so honored to announce that all JCW wastewater treatment plants have received platinum or gold NACWA awards again this year," said Susan Pekarek, interim general manager. "The teams enhance our communities and the environment everyday by being truly dedicated to their work."

JCW introduces Pilot Street Restoration Program
June 8, 2016

Homeowners are responsible for the repair/replacement of their private service line from the home’s connection to the point of connection on the public sanitary sewer main. The service line sometimes runs under paved public streets in public street right-of-way. The cost for replacement of a private sanitary sewer service line serving a single family residential property can be substantial and including the cost of public street restoration can make the repair even more costly.

To mitigate public street restoration expense, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved a pilot street restoration reimbursement program in March 2016 which allows reimbursement of up to $5,000 per single family residential property for restoration of the paved public street in the public street right-of-way. The program is administered by Johnson County Wastewater (JCW) and is subject to the homeowner meeting specific application and qualification requirements. All private service line repairs must meet JCW standards and all street repairs must meet City permit and inspection standards.

The reimbursement may be subject to federal or state income tax and participants are advised to consult with their tax advisers.

The pilot program has been funded for a total of $500,000. Applicants must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for reimbursement consideration:


  1. The property must be connected to and served by a sanitary sewer district that is operated by and under the jurisdiction of JCW;
  2. Property is currently and/or regularly occupied exclusively for single-family residential uses;
  3. The building service line for the property runs under a paved public street;
  4. First come, first served.  Reimbursement is dependent upon funds remaining in the Street Restoration Fund for reimbursement.  Once the reserved fund ($500,000) is depleted, no additional reimbursements will be available.

Once the total allotted funds are exhausted, additional funding for the program will be evaluated by the Board.

Complete information and required documentation is available online

Update on Tomahawk Creek expansion and upgrade
April 21, 2016

The Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility, located at 10701 Lee Boulevard in Leawood, was originally built in 1955. More than 60 years later, times have changed and so have the needs of the facility. New water quality regulations require upgrades to the existing Tomahawk Creek facility to improve water quality in Indian Creek and downstream waters. The facility currently treats seven million gallons per day, 40 percent of the wastewater collected from parts of Leawood, Olathe, Overland Park and Prairie Village. The remaining 60 percent is currently sent to Kansas City, Mo., for treatment. In 2016, $17 million was budgeted for payments to Kansas City, Mo. The cost to continue sending flow and paying Kansas City for treatment will substantially increase because of the city's $4.5 billion planned infrastructure improvements over the next several decades.

Johnson County Wastewater has studied how to accomplish two goals in the most cost-effective manner:

  1. Meeting new water quality regulations requiring upgrades to the existing treatment facility.
  2. Confirm a previous study recommendation to expand the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility and discontinue sending flow to Kansas City, Mo.

A previous study identified $280 million in investments to expand the Tomahawk Creek Facility to treat all flow as the most cost-effective, long-term solution.

The project team is nearing completion of the preliminary phase of the project and has completed several public outreach meetings, including a presentation to the Leawood City Council on Feb. 1, 2016, and a public meeting on Mar. 22, 2016.

A recommendation for the next phase of the project was presented to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Mar. 31, 2016. At that time the BOCC directed JCW to execute the regulatory permit for the project and to bring forward an authorization for design of the recommended improvements. Pending BOCC approval of that authorization, design of the improvements will begin in Summer 2016. Construction is projected to begin in Summer 2018 and the improved facility is anticipated to be placed in service by the end of 2021. If you have any questions regarding the project, please contact Johnson County Wastewater's Director of Communications at 913-715-8572.

Project background

The Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) treats wastewater from the Tomahawk Creek watershed, the Indian Creek watershed downstream of the Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin WWTF (Lower Indian Creek), and the Dykes Branch sub-watershed. The WWTF treats only a portion of the flow arriving at the plant, with the balance being diverted around the plant to the Linking Interceptor which carries it to Kansas City, Mo., for ultimate treatment at their Blue River WWTF.