Kansas City's sewer system gets smart

Some of KC's sewer lines are up to 150 years old, and improvements could lead to better commutes for drivers across Kansas City.

Kansas City's Morning News
August 06, 2019 - 7:01 am

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Eight feet under the streets of Kansas City, hundreds of miles of sewer lines are the veins keeping water running and toilets flushing across the city.

Andy Shively, Special Assistant City Manager for the city of Kansas City, heads up a massive 4-point-5 billion dollar dollar project to make the city's sewer system smart.
 
"The Smart Sewer program has been working towards using data and technology to achieve an overall lower cost," Shively said.

The city has raised sewer rates by more than 290 percent since 2010 to fund the Smart Sewer project, and Shivley says that the money is being put to good use - deteriorating sewer lines can cause potholes and sink holes, and the system will help keep those problems from happening. 

"Some of the potholes have been related to failed sewers," Shively said. "If a sewer segment gets a crack, or a defect, or a hole, then it carries those soils away as it falls down into the sewer. And it can create, actually, larger voids."

The project, currently in its ninth year, is slated to be completed by 2035. 

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