News Release 361

Department investigates a pair of sewer releases in Kansas City

Volume 38-361 (For Immediate Release)
Contact:   Renee Bungart

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 18, 2010 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is investigating a pair of wastewater releases in the Kansas City area Thursday and today.

City officials reported the first release began around 6 p.m. at 11700 Cleveland Ave. after a sewer line broke overflowing an estimated 95,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into Kernoodle Lake. The city took water samples from the lake to determine the environmental effects and posted signs in the area to notify the public about the overflow.

City officials reported a second incident after a manhole near 9551 Harrison Street sheered off due to erosion.  The city estimates the overflow releasing from the manhole is 10 gallons per minute and is entering Indian Creek. 

City crews are sampling the stream upstream of point where the sludge entered the creek, at the point of entry and downstream of the point of entry to determine the extent of environmental contamination. The city will post signs in the area to notify the public about the situation and is taking steps to stop the overflow and fix the pipe. The department has dispatched an investigator from its Kansas City Regional Office in Lee’s Summit to investigate and determine whether any public use areas have been affected.

Clean water regulations require the city to submit a report detailing the release to the department within five days. The department will base future enforcement action on the city’s report.

The department considers discharges of wastewater from sanitary sewer collection systems to be potential threats to public health and the environment. Such discharges have the potential to contaminate lakes and streams, causing serious water quality problems.

Sanitary sewer overflows can be caused by mechanical failure, obstructions in sewer lines, infiltration of rainwater and snow melt into aging systems, or undersized systems that cannot compensate for sudden increases in wastewater.

Communities across Missouri produce millions of gallons of wastewater that must be properly transported and treated before being released to waterways. However, some communities are facing challenges in accomplishing this.

In order to protect public health and the environment, the department requires communities to take appropriate action to eliminate their sanitary sewer overflow issues. To do this, communities should develop a system to track information about such incidents, including the date, time, location and size of the overflow, weather data, who notified them, when they notified the department and the measures taken to respond. The community can then use this data to aid in developing a plan to inspect the collection system, and plan and finance system upgrades.

For more information on sanitary sewer overflows or other water quality issues, contact the Department of Natural Resources’ Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300 or 800-361-4827 or visit the department website at

To report an environmental emergency, including sewage overflows, please contact the DNR spill line at 573-634-2436. For more information contact the department at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-3443, or visit the department's Web page at