Congressman Cleaver Join Senators McCaskill, Blunt to Fight Rising Water & Sewer Rates in Kansas City Lawmakers Call on Administration for Assistance

May 14, 2018
Press Release
Area lawmakers request federal government modify current sewer overflow control program to allow more flexibility, lower rising water and sewer rates for residents

WASHINGTON – As Kansas City residents continue seeing water and sewer costs rise, U.S Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, have requested the Trump Administration support modifications to the Kansas City sewer overflow control program to help lower costs for Kansas City residents.

“To comply with the consent decree Kansas City has raised local sewer rates, averaging double digit increases every year since the decree was entered,” wrote the Missouri lawmakers to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Such rate increases cannot continue indefinitely. Kansas City has used these rate increases to make considerable progress, and its program has become a model for communities nationwide. Unfortunately, the economic impact of the skyrocketing water and sewer rates on residents, especially low-income residents, has become alarming.”

Since reaching a consent decree with the EPA in 2010, Kansas City has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a sewer overflow control program to meet regulatory requirements and reduce overflows from the sewer systems, which the city has continually complied with—often at the cost of city residents through increased rates. Due to the sheer magnitude, complexity, and cost of the program, Johnson County, Kan., and the City of Liberty, Mo., have left the Kansas City regional water and sewer system.

The Missouri lawmakers continued, “Given the increasing economic burden, the loss of regional partners, and Kansas City’s consistent efforts to achieve the requirements of the consent decree we ask that your offices continue to work with Kansas City to modify the [overflow control program]. A modification should focus on meeting the City’s environmental goals while managing the economic burden on City residents, preventing the loss of any of the City’s other regional sewer partners, and be adaptive so City residents will receive the greatest possible benefits in return for the significant wastewater rates they will have to pay over the next several decades.”

Full text of the letter can be found here.