Nelson Wastewater Facility Improvement Project uses multiple strategies for savings

Aerial rendering of finalized Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility

Johnson County Government achieved some large milestones as it moves closer to the construction phase of its largest-ever capital project.

At its Dec. 7, 2023, meeting, the Board of County Commissioners voted on two actions regarding the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvement Project. Nelson was built in late 1940s and is now at the end of its useful life. Its existing technology won’t meet future regulatory requirements for handling wet weather nor removing nutrients. 

Dec. 7 BOCC Action

In one action, the BOCC voted to allow Johnson County Wastewater to accept a low-interest $100 million loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The loan rate of 2.14%, which is more than a full percentage point below the estimated conventional bond rate of approximately 3.48%, will save JCW an estimated $19 million in interest payments over the 20-year life of the loan. This funding is part of the Kansas Water Pollution Control State Revolving Fund and is only one piece of the innovating financing that is saving this project an estimated $133 million.

In addition, now that the project has been fully designed, the BOCC voted to increase the final project authorization to $609,984,000. It is important to note that the Nelson project team has come up with several ways to control costs with this project. The cost reductions have created about $61 million in savings.

“There has been a massive amount of work and innovation done alongside our trusted partners to strategically phase this project, procure the best project estimates and sub-contractor bids, come up with creative cost-saving ideas and utilize financing options that provide much lower interest rates than traditional methods,” said BOCC Chairman Mike Kelly. “The result will be a savings of more than $210 million for the project. That’s quite a win for the ratepayers in Johnson County.”

Project Background

The Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility is the oldest in the Johnson County Wastewater service area, and it is currently undergoing renovations as part of Johnson County Wastewater’s 25-year Integrated Plan. The facility serves two main tributary basins in northeast Johnson County – containing all or part of the cities of Fairway, Merriam, Mission, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, and Shawnee.

The treatment technology in place at Nelson is not capable of meeting future water quality standards and much of the facility needs replacement. Once improvements are complete, the treatment facility will be able to treat 15 million gallons per day during average daily flows and 105 million gallons per day during peak flows.

Learn More

View the flyover video of the proposed Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility. Project updates can be found at Learn more about Johnson County Wastewater by visiting

To learn how the $210 million savings was achieved, please read this article.

Board of County Commissioners
News Releases
Media Contacts: PIO 3