As early as 1945, Johnson County, Kan., attempted to negotiate agreements with the City of Kansas City, Mo., to have the City treat wastewater from the County. Terms were never agreed upon and instead, Johnson County chose to build its own sewer system.
Johnson County's Board of Commissioners created the first sewer district in the county in 1945. The Johnson County Sewer System was created at the same time. Two (2) years passed and construction on the first treatment plant began before the Board hired a sole employee to manage the sewer system.
The Board hired Chief Engineer Myron K. Nelson who laid the foundation for a growing wastewater treatment system in what, at that time, was one (1) of the fastest growing counties in the country. He and his staff were responsible for laying the foundation of the sewer system both in physical buildings and lines, as well as philosophies of quality and determination.
The first treatment plant, then called Mission Township No. 1 Treatment Plant, began operation in 1949. In the 1940s and 1950s, subdivision after subdivision was developed in Johnson County. The sewer system was hard pressed to keep up with the demand for sewers. In fact, many times there were not enough contractors available for the construction jobs. Four (4) years after its completion, the Mission Township Plant was upgraded to double its treatment capacity from a population of 15,000 to 30,000. Soon afterward, construction on the second treatment plant would begin.
Growth is a part of our heritage
The one (1) treatment plant in 1949 grew to six (6) major treatment plants in 2010. Johnson County Wastewater presently employs approximately 206 people, compared to the one (1) employee hired in 1947.
Johnson County Wastewater continues to meet the challenges of growth. One (1) major accomplishment took place in 1995 with the completion of the newest regional treatment plant; the Mill Creek Regional Plant. It has proven to be an environmental and economic success for Johnson County. Located in Shawnee, Kan., the plant provides vital sewer capacity for the fast growing cities of Shawnee, Lenexa, and Olathe.