Wastewater 101

Sewer system basics

Diagram of pipes running underneath houses and into a wastewater treatment facility

Sanitary sewers protect public health and the environment. They carry wastewater flows from sinks, dishwashers, showers, washing machines, toilets and industrial sources via underground pipes to a wastewater treatment plant. At the treatment plant, contaminants are extracted and the wastewater is purified before being discharged back into the environment.

  1. Manholes grant access for cleaning and inspecting sewer lines. They can join pipelines that would otherwise not connect due to elevation differences.
  2. Sewer mains receive sewage from lateral lines and use gravity to channel sewage toward the treatment plant. They are sometimes referred to as gravity mains.
  3. Sewer laterals connect properties to the public sewer system and are the property owner’s responsibility.
  4. Lateral clean-outs give access to lateral lines and can be found in yards, basements and crawl spaces.
  5. Interceptor mains receive the contents of the sewer mains, carrying the flows to the treatment plant. These are generally the largest lines within a collection system.
  6. Pump stations move wastewater when gravity conveyance is not an option.
  7. Force mains connect a pump station to an interceptor sewer .
  8. Basins collect wastewater for treatment.
  9. Outfalls discharge treated water back into the environment.

Backup Prevention Program

Water backed up into a basement

April showers bring May flowers – but April showers can also bring basement flooding. If the sanitary sewer around your home backs up during heavy rains, this can spell disaster for your property, causing foundation damage, mold and more. Luckily, Johnson County Wastewater has a voluntary program to help mitigate this risk. The backup prevention program provides funding to eligible homeowners to install a backup prevention device or make plumbing modifications on their property.

Who qualifies?

  • You must be a JCW customer or property owner within the JCW service area.
  • Your home must have experienced a confirmed sanitary sewer basement backup as a result of an intense rain event.
  • The backup must have been the direct result of capacity problems in the sanitary sewer system.

To get started, visit us at jcw.org and complete a questionnaire so JCW staff can determine if your property qualifies for the program. If you qualify, JCW will walk you through the process of getting the work completed with a plumbing contractor of your choice.

Are there out-of-pocket costs?

Once the work is done, JCW staff will make an in-home visit to verify the work is completed. JCW can make the payment on your behalf directly to the plumbing contractor so there will be no out-of-pocket costs to you, or we can reimburse you for the costs if that is what you prefer.

If you have any questions about this program, please visit us online at jcw.org or call 913-715-8554.

Johnson County Wastewater survey

Wastewater Logo

Johnson County Wastewater operates and maintains an extensive, complex system serving more than half-a-millioncustomers and we want your input.

JCW is responsible for the safe collection, transportation and treatment of wastewater; and for building and maintaining the wastewater infrastructure, which requires long-term planning and investment as our community grows and facilities age.

Safe wastewater treatment is critical for protecting public health and our environment. As JCW looks to the future, prioritizing investments informed by community input is vital. These investments include wastewater treatment facility improvements, collection system maintenance and renewal, wet weather management strategies and pumping facility performance.

What are your priorities?

JCW’s 25-year integrated plan is designed based on the current and future needs of our system, our community priorities and regulatory requirements. As we evaluate this long-term capital plan, it is critical that we receive feedback from our customers and community partners so we can ensure our investments align with what is best for Johnson County.

Do you want to help plan the future of our community?

Please take a moment to complete the short survey to let us know your priorities and play a role in the future development of your community. Your feedback will be used as a foundation to help inform our infrastructure investments.

Do you want to be entered to receive $50 off one of your 2023 JCW bills?

Complete the survey and enter to win $50 off one of your 2023 Wastewater bills! Entering the drawing sweepstakes is optional; a complete set of rules is available on the website.

Learn more about JCW’s Integrated Plan at jcwprogram.com. Go to jcwprogram.com/survey to tell us your priorities.