Kansas City has implemented a new, and much needed, program to improve the quality of unstable sewer systems throughout residential areas. For a limited time, residents facing street repair for sewer work are able to receive as much as $5,000 for charges associated with the repair. Ongoing improvements are taking place due to a number of households with improper plumbing connections and drainage problems. If a resident chooses to participate in the optional program, the primary focus will be on disconnecting gutter downspouts, sump pumps and other drainage mechanisms on private property; that are improperly connected to sewers. Because of these faulty connections, heavy rains have overwhelmed the city’s sewer system and contributed to several incidences of sewer backups in homes and businesses. The reimbursement program is designated only for single-family homeowners facing repair on a paved public street, incurring a fee. Sewer and water line repair have been on the radar of many cities within past few years. Many cities have promoted insurance programs that cover broken lines for a monthly fee. While leaks in the sewer pipelines, faulty meters, and unmetered water remain part of the problem, the city has also lost significant water by way of abandoned houses and rental properties, where water meters have been removed. The city has recently replaced approximately 100 miles of water mains. Interestingly, the oldest pipelines, valves, and meters are located south of the Missouri River. As the city expanded south of the river, it inherited older water systems. Kansas City has nearly 2,800 miles of pipes, 35,000 valves, 23,000 fire hydrants and 18 pumping stations which are dispersed across more than 300 square miles.
Interesting fact: nationwide the average water treatment facility pumps 25,000 to 30,000 gallons of nonrevenue water per connection per year. That averages approximately $30 to $40 per ratepayer.