JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — A new online portal could soon make it easier for homeowners in Johnson County to address sewer backups on their property.
Last week the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted unanimously to allocate $405,000 to create and maintain a new web-based customer service portal for Johnson County Wastewater (JCW).
Since 1986, JCW has operated the Private Infiltration/Inflow (I/I) Removal Program. Private inflow describes the way rainwater gets into the sewer system through things like roof drains, sump pumps and floor or yard drains. The program reimburses customers for disconnecting I/I sources on their property.
“As part of the program illicit connections to the sanitary sewer are removed. These are connections that can contribute excess rainwater to the sanitary sewer system during peak wet weather events causing backups and overflow,” Wastewater General Manager Susan Pekarek said.
Currently, customers are notified about the program by JCW staff through a series of phone calls and customer notice letters. Pekarek said without the new portal, it would take the equivalent of an additional 3.5 full-time employees to keep up with the process manually.
The web-based portal would help manage the entire I/I removal process from customer outreach to the plumbers to final invoice.
“It’s because of programs like this that are proactive and actually save a lot of money in the long-run that Johnson County Wastewater has the second lowest rates in the whole metro area,” Commissioner Janeé Hanzlick said.
The new online portal will link to Johnson County’s Automated Information Mapping System (AIMS) to pre-populate current property owner information to JCW’s asset management program to store and provide information for future planning and reporting.
Since the 1990s, JCW has removed over 16,000 private I/I sources to reduce basement backups and sewer overflow.
The county will enter into a one-year contract with Daupler, Inc to develop the new web portal with the option to renew annually for up to four, one-year terms. The board allocated $119,550 for the development of the online program and will allocate roughly $57,150 annually to operate the program.