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KC Water Smart Sewer Program Highlights the Trolley Trail Basin

Posted on June 28, 2022

Heavy rainfall may damper outdoor plans, but it gives customers a chance to see KC Water’s Smart Sewer projects in action.

For example, in the video it shows just how much rain water was captured at the Trolley Trail Basin after a downpour.

Water that most likely would have overflowed from a combined sewer system into waterways.

“With this new basin we have here that excess storm water will come into here,” says Carey Robinson/ KC Water Wastewater Utility Superintendent.

The Trolley Trail Basin project was designed to capture combined sewer overflows. It gradually releases the stored stormwater and wastewater back into the sewer system 24 hours after a storm ends. Construction started in 2019 and ended in June of 2021.  So far, with the exception of some minor adjustments… the basin is doing what it is supposed to do…says Smart Sewer Division Head, Brian Hess.

“That 3 million gallons otherwise, if that project was not there, could overflow into creeks and eventually into downstream waterways,” says Brian Hess/ Smart Sewer Division Head.

How does the basin know when to release the overflow? There are sensors inside the pipes.

“There are gates that will close the storage basin, it fills up to a certain point and then once the levels in the downstream system are clear, to a point where the flow can go back in, then the gates will open,” Hess explained.

As part of this project, KC Water and KC Parks also resurfaced and widened the walking trail in South Oak Park and added a connecting trail from the park to the Trolley Track Trail at 83rd and Oak Street, including two pedestrian bridges. Additionally, more than 51,000 tons of buried trash were removed from an abandoned landfill that exists underneath part of South Oak Park to construct the basin. Residents can now enjoy a cleaner creek and a beautiful trail.

In 2010, the City of Kansas City, Missouri entered into a Consent Decree with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the volume of sewer overflows into the City’s waterways. KC Water’s Smart Sewer program is a 30-year effort to adaptively address this very challenge. More information about completed projects can be found  here.

For more information contact Heather Frierson, KC Water Media Relations Coordinator, at, phone 816-513-0280, cell 816-674-0211.

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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