Home / News

KC Water Goes 300-Feet Underground To Take a Closer Look at 90-Year Old Tunnel

Posted on December 6, 2017

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Imagine digging a tunnel underneath the Missouri River with a pickaxe. That’s how KC Water built its first tunnel to send treated water to homes and businesses south of the Missouri River. That was in the 1920’s. Now, some 90 years later, an underwater camera shows just how well that crucial pipe is holding up.

“It is exciting to have a look at a more than 90-year old piece of pipe that we’ve been sending water to customers,” said Mike Klender, KC Water’s Water Treatment Plant Manager. “It provides a little bit of confidence to the Department and to the City about one of its major assets, which is water to the southland.”

In November, KC Water sent a submersible camera down into the 300-feet deep and three-mile long tunnel. The investigation focused on the condition of the concrete, how well the joints are holding, and whether any cracks have formed. For a pipe that’s nearing the century mark, the preliminary report is optimistic.

“This will identify that, yes, one of the two tunnels we have is in good condition and should stay for another 200, 300 years,” said Klender.

More investigative work may be done later in the year as part of KC Water’s ongoing commitment to today’s customers and future generations. In the meantime, KC Water will continue to provide a reliable source of safe, clean water to the hundreds of thousands of customers living in all parts of Kansas City.

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.

Follow KC Water: WebsiteFacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram • NextDoor