Kansas City Smart Sewer Program

Client: City of Kansas City
Completion Date: Ongoing
Location: Kansas City, Missouri


Since 2011, Burns & McDonnell has served as program manager for the largest capital program in the history of the Kansas City region — the $4.5 billion Smart Sewer program, formerly known as the Overflow Control Program (OCP). The Smart Sewer program was developed as part of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consent decree to meet regulatory requirements related to reducing overflows in Kansas City’s sewer system. This program improves water quality and rehabilitates aging infrastructure systems throughout the city’s combined and separate sanitary sewer systems. The city and its regulatory partners agreed to meet the objectives over a 25-year time period by completing a planned list of improvements targeted at capturing or treatment of 88 percent of combined sewer flows and eliminating sanitary sewer overflows during a five-year rainfall event. 

Our team is embedded with Kansas City’s Water Services Department and acts as an extension of the city staff. Team members are engaged at all levels of the program to see that the proper leadership, administration, execution, tracking and communication measures are in place. City staff and our consultant team work side-by-side daily to move the program forward.

Each Smart Sewer project is held to a rigid completion deadline and many of the projects must satisfy specific performance requirements. Our program team is tasked with developing every phase of each project to ensure that deadlines are met and that technical requirements are achieved. Basin coordinators are assigned to assist project managers with the execution of projects from cradle to grave. These efforts include direct involvement in the planning, design, construction and post-construction monitoring phases of each project. Basin coordinators also serve as the primary point of contact to coordinate all projects in the same portion of the watershed.

Our program team implemented an efficient and intuitive project controls system to assist in managing and tracking projects. A SharePoint site was established to house all program and project specific information. Controlled access is granted to city staff, program staff, design professionals and contractors to encourage the collaborative sharing of information. The project controls team is directly involved with the annual development of a five-year capital improvements program for all Smart Sewer projects. This planning and budgetary exercise is critical to the utility in funding the program improvements and maintaining project budgets. PublicWay™ pulls information at regular intervals from numerous sources, including Water Services Department work orders, the city’s 3-1-1 Action Center, the Public Works Department, the Smart Sewer program and more. It translates the data from many different formats and displays it in near-real-time geospatially, where it becomes more intuitive to find correlations and conflicts.

Communications and reporting are critical to the success of this high-profile project. The program team’s communications staff supports the program and the utility by promoting public communication through regular public meetings and online communications. The communications team also is responsible for regular reporting to the EPA as well as frequent reporting to city leaders. The entire Smart Sewer program team is responsible for contributing to these reports as project specific information is frequently required. Key aspects of the program include development of document control systems, reporting criteria, project delivery manual, communications protocols, community outreach guidelines and standard operating procedures.


  • Program management
  • Public participation and community involvement
  • Combined and sanitary sewer system data assessment and characterization
  • Technologies assessment
  • Funding sources
  • CSO long-term control plan
  • SSS control plan
  • Wastewater treatment plan capacity assessment
  • Green solutions pilot project
  • I/I program development and pilot projects
  • CMOM program development
  • Nine minimum controls program development
  • FOG program development
  • Flow monitoring program development


The following specific services were also performed by Burns & McDonnell as part of the LTCP development:

Blue River WWTP, Westside WWTP and Birmingham WWTP capacity studies
Determined the current flow and treatment capacities of the Blue River, Westside and Birmingham wastewater treatment plants, including capabilities to receive additional wet weather flows as part of the LTCP.

Middle Blue River green solutions pilot program
Analyzed multiple areas within the city's combined sewer area, selecting the Middle Blue River Basin as a prime candidate to implement a green infrastructure solution for reducing CSOs. Burns & McDonnell completed preliminary designs for the first 100-acre pilot project in the basin. Green infrastructure included bioretention cells, rain gardens, pervious sidewalks and parking areas, and infiltration galleries. Click below to download: 

Middle Blue River Basin Green Solutions Pilot Project Final Report

Development of CMOM plan
A CMOM plan was provided to document current operational procedures, as well as enhancements and modifications that can be made to more effectively achieve regulatory compliance and contribute toward minimizing overflows throughout the service area. The CMOM plan describes the findings of the assessment and identifies planned changes and/or improvements to current capacity, management, operation and maintenance procedures to be implemented by the Water Services Department.

I/I evaluation and rehabilitation program development and pilot projects
Burns & McDonnell developed an I/I evaluation and rehabilitation program and conducted pilot projects to verify the effectiveness of the program. Burns & McDonnell managed pilot projects in two basins, 220 acres and 28 acres.

Basement backup program development
Burns & McDonnell prepared recommendations for a program to address water-in-basement complaints from Kansas City residents resulting from backups in the city's sewer collection system. Current procedures will be expanded to include cleanup and damage compensation for backups caused by surcharging (lack of capacity) and the installation of backflow prevention devices or systems where it is deemed necessary.

CSO LTCP work plan
Prior to the program management initiative, Burns & McDonnell prepared an initial assessment of the existing CSO situation and the need for a CSO LTCP. An LTCP work plan was created to develop the scope of services, budget and schedule for preparing a complete LTCP for CSOs.


  • This large-scale initiative manages more than 100 capital projects throughout 16 basins, covering 308 square miles of combined and separate sanitary sewer areas. 
  • Serves as the first program in the nation to use green infrastructure and adaptive management techniques in reducing combined sewer overflows.
  • Provides project management training, improved data management systems, new project controls systems, and extensive public involvement initiatives.
  • Developed Smart Sewer University to target capacity expansion of small, minority, and woman-owned businesses in preparation for more than $1 billion in SLBE, MBE and WBE spending.
  • Led the development of PublicWay™, a public sector variation of Burns & McDonnell’s proven OneTouchPM™, where city officials can access capital projects information, provide coordination between city departments and outside utilities, track operations and maintenance work orders and manage customer calls throughout the city.