News Release 372

Department investigates a pair of sewer releases in Kansas City

Volume 38-372 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 23, 2010 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was called out to investigate a pair of wastewater releases in the Kansas City area Tuesday.

City officials reported to the department Tuesday afternoon that a portion of an 18-inch sewer pipe located at 7400 Oldham Road was washed away during the recent heavy rains, allowing an estimated 81,000 gallons of sewage to escape to an unnamed tributary to the Blue River that flows through Swope Park.

City crews have posted signs along the waterway in the park warning visitors of the contamination.

The department dispatched an investigator from the department’s regional office in Lee’s Summit to the scene to take water samples and establish the extent of the environmental damage.

City officials also reported that a mechanical malfunction at the Crystal lift station, 7601 Truman Road, resulted in the release of an estimated flow 2,000 gallons of wastewater into the Big Blue River starting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Clean water regulations require the city to submit reports detailing the releases to the department within five days. The department will base future enforcement action on the city’s reports and the result of the department’s on-scene investigations.

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