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City of Kansas City, Mo.


Water Services installs bio-retention cell at I-29 and North Oak

To help reduce the impacts of pollutants in stormwater runoff, the City of Kansas City, Mo., Water Services Department has installed an innovative bio–retention cell at Interstate 29 and North Oak Trafficway.

This bio-retention cell, much like a residential rain garden, is a grassy, downhill area that contains native plants, a grass buffer strip, a sand bed, mulch and planting soil. The cell is designed to efficiently capture and absorb stormwater runoff and pollutants. An underdrain installed beneath the cell contains and treats the stormwater, improving water quality for any creeks or steams that receive water downstream.

“This bio-retention cell is the first of its kind in Kansas City, and we are very excited about how it benefits the community,” said Andy Shively, systems engineering division manager. “The cell has been constructed in an area that typically would just contain typical turf grass and now will serve as a ‘green solution’ to capture some of the stormwater runoff that is created by the adjacent streets and serve as an amenity to the area.”

The bio-retention cell area has been seeded with native plant seeds including Little Blue Stems, Prairie Blazing Stars, Missouri Black Eyed Susans and Coreopsises. The seeds will take approximately one year to fully develop. Native plants also require less maintenance than regular grass and need mowing about once per year.

Missouri Department of Transportation District Maintenance Engineer Jesse Skinner said MoDOT was pleased with the project.

"Slowing storm water runoff from our highways, enhancing the beauty of our system and keeping contaminants from entering streams fit well with MoDOT's green initiatives," Skinner said. "We encourage native plants throughout our system to minimize the cost of frequent mowing, and this is a great partnership with Kansas City and the Water Services Department."

In the summer of 2010, the City’s Water Services Department began the installation of the Arrowhead Transmission Main, which includes a new two-mile-long, 54-inch-wide water transmission main from the Water Treatment Plant at 9 Highway and North Oak Trafficway northward to Vivion Road.

“The department is working to include stormwater management projects in conjunction with other capital projects, such as the Arrowhead Transmission Main, whenever possible,” said Acting Water Services Director Terry Leeds.

The Arrowhead Transmission Main project will:

increase system capacity

improve overall system reliability

provide redundancy to existing 36-inch MCI transmission main

accommodate Northland community growth

For more information, contact Colleen Doctorian, public information officer for the Water Services Department at 816-513-0232.

The Kansas City, Mo., Water Services Department maintains and operates water collection, processing and distribution systems, stormwater management and control systems, and waste water collection and processing systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City region. Operation is funded by fees charged to customers based on their use of products and services.

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