Consent decree to address KS wastewater, stormwater system overflows

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KANSAS CITY, KS, April 19, 2013 -- The Unified Government (UG) of Wyandotte County / Kansas City, Kan., continues to renew its aging wastewater infrastructure and is formalizing a plan to address overflows in its wastewater system after signing a consent decree that allows the UG to plan for and implement improvements that are sustainable and affordable.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice approved the decree that gives the UG four years to develop a sustainable Integrated Overflow Control Plan and then propose an affordable implementation schedule.

Burns & McDonnell, the UG's program manager, assisted the UG in negotiations with the EPA and Department of Justice on the best strategy for complying with regulations and implementing an affordable plan on a reasonable schedule. The strategy includes reinvesting approximately $20 million in wastewater infrastructure while the plan is being developed.

"Our goal is to help the Unified Government meet its clean water obligations set by the EPA and DOJ in a reasonable timeframe at a reasonable cost," says John Mitchell, Burns & McDonnell practice director. "We are bringing our experience with cities like Kansas City, Mo., Omaha, Neb., and St. Louis, Mo., to bear in this effort."

"More and more cities are turning integrated solutions that address water, wastewater and stormwater in a well-planned and coordinated manner, we can no longer afford to address water quality issues and regulations separately, and we must take a broader approach that integrates multiple water quality solutions for the same investment," Mitchell says.

Municipalities have increasingly been subject to EPA mandates intended to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and wet weather sewer system overflows. Combined sewers, built decades ago, convey both sewage and stormwater in the same pipe system and deliver the combined flow to a plant for treatment. Problems can occur during heavy rainfall when both stormwater and sewage exceed combined system capacity.

Burns & McDonnell is assessing the UG's aging wastewater infrastructure and designing a program to reduce its combined sewer overflows and improve the sanitary sewer system including conveyance, pumping and treatment.

"Burns & McDonnell has a strong relationship and proven track record with the UG, which played a big role in the firm being chosen for this job," said Jim Larkin, director of the UG's Water Pollution Control Division.

Burns & McDonnell has also done extensive work related to sewer system improvements for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, the City of St. Joseph MO, the City of Omaha NE, Atchison KS and was recently selected to serve as program manager for Kansas City's $4.5 billion long-term control plan.

About Burns & McDonnell

Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a 100 percent employee-owned, full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services firm. Burns & McDonnell is currently the 23rd largest AEC firm in the Engineering News-Record top 500 ranking. With the multi-disciplinary experience of more than 3,800 professionals in more than 30 regional, national and international offices, Burns & McDonnell plans, designs, permits, constructs and manages facilities worldwide with one mission in mind -- to make our clients successful. For more information about Burns & McDonnell, visit www.burnsmcd.com.

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