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KC Water Announces Storm Drain Manhole Design Contest Winner

Posted on January 21, 2016

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Most of us likely pay little attention to manhole covers. After all, there are tens of thousands of them cemented into concrete storm drains across Kansas City. But soon, you’ll have a good reason to take a closer look.

In October 2014, KC Water invited the community to submit designs for a new storm drain manhole cover. A panel of eight experts from the design and education communities selected the winning design from the 50 entries that were received. KC Water is pleased to announce that a joint-entry submitted by Kate Corwin and Michael Buster, both of Kansas City, Missouri, was selected as the winner of the Storm Drain Manhole Cover Design Contest.

“We hope our design will catch people’s attention, and help them understand that the trash on the ground and the chemicals that wash off our lawns and cars pollute our creeks, streams, and ultimately the Missouri River, the source of our drinking water,” said Corwin.

The winning design features a turtle, fish, and frog – all creatures that are dependent upon clean water – along with a prominent message of “Think: Protect Your Water, Protect Our Home.” The manhole cover also includes a “Dump No Waste! Drains To River” message (please see images below). KC Water hopes the playful and creative design will raise water quality awareness by reminding everyone that most of Kansas City’s stormwater runoff, and the pollution it carries from streets, parking lots, and driveways, goes directly to area waterways, not the local treatment plant.

“No matter where you are in Kansas City, pollution that finds its way to a storm drain can end up in our streams, lakes and rivers,” said Terry Leeds, KC Water Director. “We need everyone’s help to keep our streams clean and free of pollution. We engaged the community in the design process because water quality in our streams, lakes and rivers is a community issue and our educational message needed a community perspective.”

After testing to make sure the design met the needed specifications, production of the new manhole covers is underway. Completion is expected near the end of February and installation will be begin soon after that. Initially, 100 new manhole covers will be installed in strategic locations across Kansas City.

See the remaining top entries below. For more information, please contact Brooke Givens, Media Relations Coordinator, at or 816.513.0284.


KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.

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2nd place – Theresa Slater

3rd place – Anthony Schmiedeler

4th place – Jeremy Collins

5th place – Joshua Booth

Honorable Mention for Connection to Kansas City – Steven Bridgens

Honorable Mention for Water Quality Message – Andrea Repinsky

Honorable Mention – Lyla Clark, age 5

Honorable Mention – Steven Clark, age 7