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LEAWOOD, Kan. — The future of wastewater in Johnson County is about to be cleared up.

Construction to expand the Tomahawk Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility in Leawood begins Thursday, and it’s expected to eventually save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

When you flush the toilet or when you wash dishes that water needs to be cleaned. But the Leawood treatment plant is not big enough to clean all the wastewater coming from Johnson County residents so they’re expanding it.

Right now, the plant only treats about 40-percent of the wastewater coming from Leawood, Overland Park, Prairie Village and Olathe. The other 60-percent of the wastewater from these towns go to a treatment facility in Kansas City. Johnson County taxpayers give Kansas City $16 million a year to treat this water.

After this wastewater is cleaned, it is then dumped into Indian Creek.

This new project will expand the wastewater plant in Leawood and allow it to treat all the wastewater from this area – saving Johnson County at least $16 million a year.

Since they first built the plant in the 1950s, they’ve expanded it several times, but haven’t been able to keep up with the pace of growth in Johnson County. Too many homes have been built, too many families have moved to this area. So now it is ready for a major overhaul.

They are also making sure construction doesn’t cause Indian Creek to flood local areas.

The total cost of the project is $335 million, and they hope to complete it in the next three years.

Assuming the cost of having Kansas City treat Johnson County’s wastewater doesn’t rise, it will take about 17 years for the county to recoup the cost of this project.