(Kansas City, Mo.) – Down the toilet or down the drain, when dirty water leaves your house its next stop is a wastewater pump station.
KC Water operates 39 of them. They receive waste from sewer mains, remove some of the solids, and then pump it to one of KC Water’s wastewater treatment plants. Two of the stations are undergoing significant renovations.
“The stations were at least 40-50 years old and had outdated equipment, failing HVAC, and failing instrumentation and pumps that were past their useful life cycle so they had to be rehabbed,” explained KC Water Wastewater Division Manager, Joel Sendra.
“The Turkey Creek wastewater pump station has been in service since 1962 and none of the equipment has been replaced since then,” said KC Water Project Manager Bon Marie Gardner. “KC Water has been band-aiding a lot of the pumps and bar screens.”
Among the improvements is a new rock box which collects rocks and prevents grit from clogging up the piping and pumps in the station, which could result in costly repairs. A unique feature of this project was ground freezing. Workers froze the ground so the contractor could safely build the rock box.
Pumps, pipes, valves, the electrical system and HVAC are all being replaced or upgraded.
“We’re putting new equipment in. You’re hoping you get at least another 30-35 years on the equipment without doing major repairs or modifications,” said Gardner.
Across town, the 87th Street pump station is also getting rehabbed. Morris Ross is the Project Manager.
“This 87th Street pump station was built in the 1980’s. The pumps and the station itself were in desperate need of repair. In order to make sure people’s basements don’t flood, don’t back up with sewage, we’re replacing all of our pumps and all of the associated equipment so we’ll have a more efficient, more reliable pump station,” said Morris.
Improvements include new bar screens, pumps, electrical and HVAC upgrades, and new slide gates that let the water in. When the work is completed, which is expected next spring, the pumps will be able to move up to 85 million gallons of sewage a day. That’s a 30% increase in capacity.
The work is expensive, but necessary. “This is analogous to a family vehicle. It may not have completely failed but at some point in time you’re spending more on maintenance monthly on that vehicle and it’s in the shop more than you’re using it so it doesn’t serve you very well,” explained Sendra.
This work is being done to upgrade Kansas City’s water infrastructure and also as part of the Overflow Control Program, KC Water’s plan to meet a federal consent decree to reduce sewer overflows in Kansas City’s combined and separate sewer systems.
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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.