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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

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.

JCW honors employees who shine
December 17, 2015

Rick Beery, treatment crew member with Johnson County Wastewater, was awarded the department’s 5th annual S.T.A.R.S. Employee of the Year Award. S.T.A.R.S. is JCW’s Special Thanks And Recognition Spotlight Award, with nominations based on consistent modeling of at least one of the department’s five Core Values.

Rick was recognized by two co-workers, Jeremy McCracken and Paul Coughlin, both of whom are industrial electricians at the Blue River Plant. They submitted their nomination during the second quarter, based on the leadership that Rick exhibited during his assistance on a signal relocation project. He devised various approaches to the job and was instrumental in its completion.

Rick has 10 years of electrician experience with his family’s company. His qualifications and knowledge have proven to be valuable resources for JCW as he is always willing to help and offer opinions and insights, as well as serve as counsel on topics such as codes and regulations.

Not only did the nomination address Rick’s use of creativity on the job, but it also provided solid examples of his consistent modeling of JCW’s other Core Values: Humor, Respect, Integrity and Service.

JCW’s practice of recognizing and award employees is yet another example of the LEAP principles and the Pillars of Performance in action.


November 19 is World Toilet Day
November 19, 2015

Today is World Toilet Day and while it may sound like a humorous occasion, it’s no joke. This is actually serious – deadly serious. November 19 is a day that has been set aside to recognize that not everyone has access to toilets or good sanitation, which in 2013 lead to 1,000 children dying each day from diarrheal diseases related to poor sanitation. Did you know that toilets and sanitation are considered a human right? In 2010, the UN General Assembly recognized sanitation and water as a human right, essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights. Yet, one third of the world’s population still lacks access to adequate sanitation. An estimated 2.4 billion people worldwide (about one in three) lack access to a facility that at least separates human excrement from human contact. More than a billion relieve themselves on the ground or into open bodies of water. The amount of germs in human feces is staggering. In one gram of human waste, there are 1 million bacteria, 10 million viruses, 100 worm eggs, 1,000 parasite cysts and 50 infectious diseases. An estimated 1.8 billion people use drinking water that contains fecal matter. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid. Those who are interested in more information, including how you can support the work of the World Toilet Organization may visit worldtoilet.org. They are currently working on sanitation projects in Cambodia, India, and Mozambique. This short video, Where You Go Matters, offers further insight into this problem.


The Top Ten Things to Keep Out of the Sewers
November 3, 2015

The Top Ten Things to Keep Out of the Sewers

  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.

Sources: Water Environment Federation