Our System

Collection and Treatment JCW collects and cleans over 18 billion gallons of wastewater each year (an average of 79 million gallons per day) for over 500,000 customers throughout Johnson County. This is equivalent to filling Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center more than 84 times. Wastewater is collected through a network of sewer mains and pump stations for transport to seven area treatment plants. 

The Wastewater is cleaned to defined National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) standards at the treatment plants and the cleaned water is returned to local creeks and streams. Biosolids from the water treatment processes are collected and treated further for disposal. 

Compliance In 2020, Johnson County Wastewater had a 99.87 percent compliance rate with regard to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) limits. Of a possible 2,399 violations, only three non-compliance issues were recorded for the year. We were also recognized by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).    

NACWA Peak Performance Awards were awarded to JCW for the 2020 compliance year to these outstanding facilities: 

  • Platinum Peak Performance Awards for Blue River Main, Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin and New Century Air Center   
  • Gold Peak Performance for Mill Creek 
  • Silver Peak Performance for Nelson 

NACWA Platinum Awards recognized 100% compliance with permits over a consecutive five-year period or longer. JCW received a 15-year Platinum award this year at its Blue River Main facility.

Simply said, we are meeting our goal to eliminate disease-causing bacteria and to protect the environment for human and aquatic life. 

Our Collection System

Our Collection System

The wastewater collection system is massive, covering a service area of more than 172 square miles and 16 cities. The estimated replacement value of the entire system is more than $2 billion. Wastewater is collected by a vast network of 2,300 miles of sewer mains, approximately 28 miles of active low-pressure sewers, 42 miles of force mains, and 31 pump stations which route sewage to six major treatment plants. 

The miles of sewer lines would span the distance between Johnson County's Administration Building in Olathe to New York City and back. 

Our Treatment Facilities

Blue River Main Treatment Facility

Blue River Wastewater Treatment Facility Aerial View

Blue River Main is an award winning Biological Nutrient Removal facility that currently treats an average of 5.7 million gallons per day (MGD) and can treat up to 37.5 MGD of peak flow. The plant currently serves approximately 53,000 customers in southeast Johnson County and discharges to the Blue River.  

Liquid treatment processes include: Influent Pump Station, Bar Screen, Grit Removal, Biological Nutrient Removal, Secondary Clarifiers, UV Disinfection and Re-aeration.  Solids are thickened onsite by a Dissolved Air-Floatation Thickener.  

Thickened solids are hauled to the Nelson Facility or the DLS Middle Basin Facility for additional treatment. The site also includes lagoons for temporary wet weather flow storage and odor control for various areas throughout the plant.  

Blue River Main team also operates and maintains one lift station that pumps wastewater to the facility. 

Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin Treatment Facility

JCW Douglas L Smith Middle Basin Wastewater Treatment Facility Aerial

Douglas L. Smith Middle Basin is an award winning Biological Nutrient Removal and cogeneration facility that is designed to treat an average of 14.5 million gallons per day (MGD) under strict nitrogen and phosphorus effluent criteria for discharges to Indian Creek. It can treat up to 23 MGD of peak flow.

The facility serves approximately 100,000 customers in central Johnson County along with acceptance of fats, oils and grease (FOG) from local restaurants and industries. Liquid treatment processes include: Influent Pump Station, Bar Screens, Grit Removal, Primary Clarifiers, Biological Nutrient Removal, Secondary Clarifiers, UV Disinfection and Re-aeration.  

FOG received at the dedicated on-site receiving station and treatment process solids from Middle Basin  are centrifugally thickened then treated in digesters and dewatered with Belt Filter Presses. Treated solids are transported to agricultural fields where they are applied as a fertilizer source for the growing field crops. Bio-gas production from the digestion process is harnessed by the cogeneration system to reduce the plant’s dependence on energy, which we would need to purchase from the grid.  

The improvements to DLS Middle Basin including the cogeneration system were recognized as the largest “green infrastructure” project in Kansas at the ground breaking in 2009. The site also includes lagoons for temporary wet weather flow storage and odor control for various areas throughout the plant. The DLS Middle Basin Plant has one lift station that pumps wastewater to the plant for treatment.

Mill Creek Regional Treatment Facility

JCW Mill Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility Aerial

Originally constructed in 1995, Mill Creek is an award winning Activated Sludge and Lagoon facility that is designed to treat up to an average of 18.75 million gallons per day (MGD) and can treat up to 105 MGD of peak flow The plant currently serves approximately 96,000 customers in Shawnee (northcentral Johnson County) and discharges to Mill Creek. 

Liquid treatment processes include: Influent Pump Station, Bar Screens, Grit Removal, Activated Sludge and Lagoon treatment trains, Secondary Clarifiers, and UV Disinfection.  Solids are dredged and land applied as a nutrient source on agricultural fields. 

The site also includes lagoon capacity for temporary wet weather flow storage and odor control for various areas throughout the facility. The Mill Creek team also operates and maintains 12 lift stations to pump wastewater to the plant. 

Nelson Complex Treatment Facility

JCW Nelson Complex Wastewater Treatment Facility Aerial View

The Nelson Complex is an award winning facility that actually includes two treatment plants (Mission Main and Turkey Creek) and a sludge thickening facility at one site.  In total, the plants are designed to treat an average of 15 million gallons per day (MGD) with treatment of up to a peak flow of 52 MGD.  

The plants currently serve approximately 130,000 customers in northeastern Johnson County and discharge to Turkey Creek.  Liquid treatment processes include: Influent Pump Stations, Bar Screens, Grit Removal, Primary Clarifiers, Trickling Filters, Secondary Clarifiers, Disinfection and Re-aeration.  

Solids are thickened onsite by gravity thickeners and centrifuges for landfill disposal.  Odor control is also provided for various areas throughout the plant.  The Nelson Complex also operates and maintains 12 lift stations to pump wastewater to the facilities.

The Nelson Complex was originally constructed in 1947 with many modifications over the years. Major improvements to address discharge limits for constituents such as ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus that can be harmful to aquatic live and encourage the growth of nuisance algae in surface waters. 

Since the current treatment technology at the Complex is not capable of meeting these stricter water quality standard, significant improvements have been identified for the Complex and the planning process is underway.  Visit www.jcwnelson.com for additional information. 

New Century Air Center Treatment Facility

JCW New Century Air Center Wastewater Treatment Facility Aerial

New Century Air Center is an award winning Activated Sludge plant designed to treat an average of 1.1 million gallons per day (MGD) and up to 4.0 MGD of peak flow for primarily industrial customers with high strength waste. 

The plant is located between Olathe and Gardner in Johnson County and discharges to the Little Bull Creek.  Liquid treatment processes include: an Influent Pump Station, Bar Screens, Grit Removal, Primary Clarifier, Aeration Basins, Secondary Clarifiers, and UV Disinfection. 

Solids are thickened onsite by a Dissolved Air-Floatation Thickener and hauled to the Nelson Facility or the DLS Middle Basin Facility for additional treatment. The New Century Air Center team also operates and maintains five lift stations to pump water to the plant.

Tomahawk Creek Treatment Facility

aerial view of wastewater plant

The Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) is a new state-of–the-art facility that replaced the previous treatment facility originally built in 1955. Prior to construction, the Tomahawk Creek WWTF treated approximately 40% of the wastewater flow from this watershed with the remaining 60% sent to Kansas City, Missouri for treatment.

The new facility has increased capacity to treat all received flow as well as meet new regulatory requirements for nutrient removal. The Tomahawk Creek WWTF is designed to treat an average of 19 million gallons per day (MGD) and permitted to treat up to 172 MGD at peak flow.  Commissioning activities for the facility began in August of 2021.  The facility currently serves approximately 150,000 customers in east central Johnson County and releases reclaimed water to Indian Creek. 

Liquid treatment processes include: Influent Pump Station, Peak Flow Pump Station, Bar Screens, Grit Removal, Primary Clarifiers, Biological Nutrient Removal, Secondary Clarifiers, Tertiary Filters, Chlorine Disinfection, Dechlorination, and Re-aeration. 

A Plant Effluent Water Pump Station reuses the cleaned water onsite to reduce the cost of utility water.  Solids are thickened on-site by Rotating Drum Thickeners then stabilized in digesters and dewatered with Centrifuges. 

Treated and dewatered solids, i.e. biosolids, are transported to agricultural fields where they are applied as a fertilizer source for growing field crops. Bio-gas production from the digestion process is harnessed and beneficially reused onsite for heating the digesters.  

The facility also includes an innovative sidestream treatment system that efficiently removes ammonia from solids treatment instead of sending it to the liquid side for removal. Odor control systems are installed at various areas throughout the site. Currently one lift station pumps wastewater to the Tomahawk Creek WWTF with the remainder of flow arriving by gravity. 

Please visit www.jcwtomahawk.com for interesting info and videos.