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News from the Water Services Department

City Communications Office

City of Kansas City, Mo.

CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356


City to build rain garden at water treatment laboratory

On Friday, Sept. 25, the City of Kansas City, Mo., Water Services Department will install a 1,457-square-foot rain garden at the department’s Water Treatment Plant Laboratory, located at 1 N.W. Briarcliff Drive.

The installation is part of Bridging the Gap’s Environmental Excellence Business Network program, “From the River to Your Faucet: 101 Things About Water and Water Treatment You’ve Never Had a Chance to Ask Before.” The site was chosen because the surface parking lot at the building drains to this area and has been eroding the soil.

“Properly designed rain gardens can effectively trap and retain up to 99 percent of common pollutants in urban storm runoff, potentially improving water quality and promoting the conversion of some pollutants into less harmful compounds and absorb up to 30 percent more water than the same size area of lawn,” said Bernardo Garcia, director of the Water Services Department.

The City will install five sampling devices in and around the rain garden, which enable staff to monitor the actual performance of the rain garden.

This event is free for Environmental Excellence Business Network members, $30 for non-members at the door. The event is limited to 45 people. Attendees should please plan to wear comfortable shoes that can accommodate a variety of walking surfaces including gravel and metal grates during a tour of the facility.

The program includes a tour of the treatment plant and a presentation on the City’s Overflow Control Program. After the main program and tour, attendees will be able to participate in an optional rain garden installation or participate in a rain barrel workshop. (Appropriate clothes, including work gloves recommended.)

Attendees can enter at the event for a chance to win one of two rain barrels that will be constructed during the rain barrel workshop presented by the Water Services Department. A rain garden fact sheet and schedule of the event is available at

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

The Environmental Excellence Business Network is a program of Bridging the Gap. To become an EEBN member, register online at or call 816-561-1061, ext. 128.

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 entirely by fees charged to customers based on their use of products and services, not by taxes.


Rain Garden Fact Sheet

The rain garden was designed by Steve Van Rhein and Wendy Sangster with the Missouri Department of Conservation with assistance from Mark Govea from the City of Kansas City, Mo., Water Services Department.

Plants will be plugs as they will establish quickly this fall and take off great in the Spring at much less cost. The plants were provided free of charge by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Approximately 15 yards of compost was donated by Missouri Organics.

The Water Services Department provided equipment and labor for site excavation and rough grading. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department provided equipment and staff for tilling in the compost and finish grading.

The garden will include the following native plants:

Tussock Sedge

    Soft Rush

    Slender Mountain Mint

    Joe Pye Weed

    Blue Lobelia

    Cardinal Flower

    Orange Cone Flower

    Southern Blue Flag

    Foxglove Beardtongue

Prairie Blazing Star


8-8:30 a.m. Registration, continental breakfast and networking

8:30-8:35 a.m. Welcome on behalf of the Environmental Excellence Business Network Program Committee and introduction of Jim Mellem (Debra Smith)

8:35-8:45 a.m. Welcome on behalf of the Water Services Department

    (Jim Mellem, assistant director, Engineering Division)

8:45-9:30 a.m. Overflow Control Plan and Green Infrastructure presentation (includes about 10 minutes for Q&A (Terry Leeds)

9:30-9:40 a.m. Brief break between presentations

9:40-11:10 a.m. Water treatment presentation and tour of facility; will end at the Lab Building for rain garden install and rain barrels demo. (Mike Klender)

11:15 a.m. to noon Rain garden installation and rain barrel demonstration by lab building

(Wendy Sangster, Missouri Department of Conservation will give a brief overview about this specific rain garden; Colleen Doctorian will give a demonstration on making a rain barrel.)

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