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Kansas City residents pace out raw sewage - river woes into 2035

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Mark it on your calendar. The year will be 2035 before Kansas City is finally able to safely flush at flood stage. -AR

A federal judge has approved a consent decree that requires Kansas City to pay a $600,000 penalty in the next 30 days and $1.6 million over five years as part of a massive sewer overhaul. The approval of a consent decree between Kansas City and the Environmental Protection Agency marks one of the initial steps of a $2.5 billion project the city is required to undertake to replace its aging sewer system.

Kansas City has 25 years to finish the project, which will cost an average of $100 million a year to finance. Financing for the plan will come mostly through rate increases for residential and commercial customers.

The city already started on a 100-acre pilot project in the Middle Blue River Basin near 75th Street and Troost Avenue.

“The carefully developed long-term infrastructure investments in the consent decree will greatly reduce the volume and frequency of overflows and will serve our residents for several generations,” Terry Leeds, acting director of Kansas City’s Water Services Department, said in a written statement.

The city’s antiquated sewer system has been blamed for 138 overflow incidents that have discharged 4.6 million gallons of raw sewage into the Missouri, Kansas and Blue rivers since 2002.

Read more: Judge OKs agreement between Kansas City, EPA about $2.5B sewer overhaul - Kansas City Business Journal