The Future of Wastewater Treatment Series: Kansas

This article is part of our feature on the future of wastewater in the U.S.’s fastest growing metro areas. We’re using the Transcend Design Generator to automatically build, expand, or upgrade regional wastewater treatment systems in each of these regions.

As our series on wastewater plant designs for extension or new wastewater plants in rapidly growing US cities moves forward, we shift our focus to the heart of America: Johnson County, Kansas. Ranked #92 on the TOP100 growing population by county list from 2010 to 2020, Johnson County has experienced significant population growth, which has led to an increased demand for efficient and sustainable wastewater management systems. It is interesting to note that despite the two recent Super Bowl wins boosting the region’s profile, Kansas has only managed to secure one county with a relatively low ranking in the list of growing populations. Wyandotte county, the other one represented from the State of Kansas was only 398th on the list, and on the other side, Missouri, Jackson county only reached 153rd, Clay county as the 200th, and Platte county as the 314th.

Despite the information provided on the KC Water page indicating that they offer wastewater services for 166,000 people, we have reason to believe this figure may be a typo. Upon examining the 2010 data, we found that the size of Kansas City, including its suburban areas, was approximately 1.6 million people. Therefore, we will treat the KC Water page as a faulty source and use the corrected figure of 1.66 million people as our reference point.

With the projected population for Kansas City and its surrounding areas expected to reach 2.04 million by 2030, the demand for wastewater treatment services will inevitably increase. Using the standard 70 gallons per person per day estimation, this population growth translates to an additional wastewater treatment demand of approximately 27 MGD. Given these projections, it seems the time has come for the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant on the Kansas side to accommodate the growing needs of this dynamic region.

Kickapoo, located just northwest of Kansas City along the Missouri River, could indeed be an ideal location for constructing a new wastewater treatment plant. Not only would its positioning upstream help reduce the need for flow equalization due to the limited impact of rain fluctuation, but the area also provides a suitable setting to implement innovative wastewater treatment technologies.

For this new plant in Kickapoo, we propose incorporating a primary treatment method that was introduced to our system in 2022: a primary filter. This technology allows for more efficient solid-liquid separation and reduces the load on downstream treatment processes. Additionally, we plan to design the plant with anaerobic digestion, an effective method for treating sludge and generating biogas as a renewable energy source. To further demonstrate the state-of-the-art capabilities of TDG, we will implement a Biological Phosphorus Removal (Bio-P) process in conjunction with the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology. A Bio-P MBR plant combines the benefits of both enhanced biological nutrient removal and advanced filtration provided by the MBR system. The new wastewater treatment plant in Kickapoo will not only meet the increased demands of the growing population but also provide an environmentally friendly solution that maximizes treatment efficiency and resource recovery.

With a nod to Tenacious D’s memorable song, Kickapoo’s proposed wastewater treatment plant is poised to become an innovative and sustainable solution for addressing the region’s wastewater management needs, striking a harmonious chord between technological advancements and environmental stewardship.

If you’d like to see the full design package for this treatment plant, send us a note at or contact us here and a member of our team will share it with you!

If you enjoyed this piece you may also want to read about the future of wastewater in Los Angeles.



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