Aquifer Storage, Recovery & Treatment Facility

When drought struck and water quality issues surfaced in Wichita two decades ago, city leaders opted to launch a comprehensive search for solutions: Secure potential water sources, prevent ongoing supplies from drying up, and protect existing sources from contamination.

Burns & McDonnell evaluated a broad range of ideas, options and approaches, leading to development of an innovative system that taps into both surface and groundwater.

The result: Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR), an ambitious vision for treating water from the Little Arkansas River during high-flow periods, then injecting the treated flow into the overdrawn Equus Beds underground repository.

Burns & McDonnell provided design-build services for a new surface treatment and river intake, which together had been anticipated to cost $104 million but instead — thanks to value engineering and focused construction methods — ended up at $74 million.

The unique system combines membrane filtration with the world’s largest advanced oxidation system — six times larger than next biggest of its kind — to remove atrazine and other contaminants from as much as 30 million gallons of raw river water, operating only when the river is at high flow.

The treated water is used both enhance and secure the 900,000-acre aquifer for future use.

The city of Wichita procured the project, with Burns & McDonnell teaming with Alberici Constructors and CAS Constructors on design-build work to complete the river intake, water treatment facilities, recharge wells and basins.

In delivering the first ASR project in Kansas, the project’s planning team worked with multiple state agencies and conducted a wide-ranging public relations and awareness campaign to inform area residents while averting a mounting environmental crisis.


City of Wichita, Kansas


Wichita, Kansas


Master Planning for Water & Wastewater Utilities

Water Reuse & Reclamation

Source Development & Groundwater Supply

Municipal Water & Wastewater


Government, Military & Municipal



Water Project of the Year Finalist, Global Water Summit

DBIA Mid-America Regional Award

Engineering Excellence Award, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Kansas

National Recognition Award, ACEC

Spotlight project, U.S. Water Alliance’s One Water Leadership Conference

Case Study

Equus Beds Aquifer Storage and Recovery Key Component of Sustainable Resource Management

As the largest city in Kansas continued to grow, its water resources remained limited, posing a threat to the local water supply. City of Wichita offi...