What Strategies is Kansas City Using to Address Sustainable Infrastructure?

The Council Goal for Infrastructure and Transportation is: To strengthen the transportation system and the City's physical infrastructure in ways that enhance connectivity among neighborhoods, business centers, and cultural/recreational destinations while maintaining the City's standing as the major American crossroads.

Below are the objectives from the current Citywide Business Plan that outlines the specific strategies that the city is pursuing that relate to strengthening sustainable infrastructure. These objectives provide insight into the departments that are involved and the actions that are being taken

Overflow Control Program

During periods of moderate or heavy rainfall, sewer systems can reach capacity, overflow, and discharge a mixture of wastewater and stormwater into our streams and river. The Overflow Control Program is a commitment by Water Services to meet regulatory requirements to reduce overflows from combined sewer systems and prevent overflows from separate sewer systems. Reducing and preventing overflows from Kansas City’s sewer systems creates a cleaner, healthier environment for our community and improves the quality of the water that is returned to area waterways.
The Overflow Control Program is the largest infrastructure investment in Kansas City’s history. The program will address overflows from both the combined and separate sewer systems by reducing the number of combined sewer system overflows by 88% and repairing separate systems to eliminate overflows. These solutions will be implemented over a 25-year time period by completing a list of improvements that can be found in the Overflow Control Plan, and in our Overflow Control Program Roadshow. You can read more about this program by visiting the Water Department's Website.
Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) is water that enters the sewers when it was not meant to enter the sewers. For example, water entering a sewer pipe through a crack would count as infiltration. The Water Services Department is dedicated to lowering the amount of I&I in Kansas City. The visualization below shows the projected levels of I&I decreasing over time due to infrastructure improvements. The blue line demonstrates the actual reduction achieved. This blue line is updated as measurements can be made, but typically lags by 1-2 years.

Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System

The City is in the process of training staff on using the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Rating System. In the future the Envision system will be used to rate all infrastructure planning and projects to maximize sustainable development solutions.

The purpose of Envision is to foster a dramatic and necessary improvement in the performance and resiliency of our physical infrastructure across the full spectrum of sustainability. Envision provides the framework and incentives needed to initiate this systemic change. As a planning and design guidance tool, Envision provides industry-wide sustainability metrics for all infrastructure types.

Overview of Envision

  • A holistic sustainability rating system for all types and sizes of civil infrastructure
  • Guide for making more informed decisions about the sustainability of projects
  • Framework of criteria and performance objectives to help project teams identify sustainable approaches during planning, design, construction, and operation
  • Optional third-party verification and award for recognizing project achievements

From the Envision Factsheet

Benefits of Envision

Using the Envision rating system to guide development will produce infrastructure with:

  • Long-term livability
  • Lower cost
  • Few negative impacts on the community
  • Potential to save owners money over time
  • Credibility of a third-party rating system

From the Envision Factsheet

KCStat Schedule

All Council priorities, including those in the area of Public Infrastructure, are discussed at KCStat Meetings, which are public meetings held at City Hall and moderated by the Mayor and City Manager. Anyone from the public may attend, or follow the discussion via Twitter (#kcstat). Videos of KCStat meetings and meeting documents are archived online and can be accessed at kcmo.gov/kcstat/. A list of past and future KCStat meetings for Public Infrastructure is below.