KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A crowded room of mostly concerned Platte County homeowners once again urged KC Water to consider alternatives for a planned wastewater treatment plant in unincorporated Platte County.
Platte County’s Presiding Commissioner wrote a letter to KC Water, saying he doesn’t want an existing Kansas City sewage plant moved to Platte County. Congressman Sam Graves has also expressed concerns. But right now, it’s all up to the Kansas City Council.
Residents in unincorporated Platte County say they’ve dealt with the smell of a KC Water wastewater treatment plant just across the Kanas City line on Todd Creek for generations, but at least they didn’t have to see it.
That could change as KC Water has plans to move the plant uphill onto farmland right across from Platte County homes to help support growth in the Northland. The plant is also more than 50 years old and is in a floodplain.
“Kansas City is growing, so we know it has to grow. We know it needs a new wastewater treatment plant. We know they need places for their landfills. But this coming in without asking the stakeholders that it’s going to affect is what we’re upset about,” nearby resident Elizabeth Hileman said.
KC Water says it chose the site after vetting alternatives because it is the best and most affordable option and isn’t just trying to pump its sewage into Platte County.
“The location of the plant is more dictated by the physics and operation things than geographic boundaries,” KC Water Director Wes Minder said.
Since it’s a utility, under state law, Platte County has no say on the project regardless of its own zoning and land use plans.
“They should not be putting their sewage treatment plant in unincorporated Platte County where we don’t benefit from the services. It’s a beautiful rural area that doesn’t want to have a sewage treatment plant,” Platte County Presiding Commissioner Scott Fricker said.
“It does have to change. These are people’s homes, people’s livelihoods, people’s retirements that are being taken away without consideration,” Hileman said.
At a meeting on Monday, KC Water told the crowd of concerned homeowners alternative sites in Kansas City would cost the city $12 to $14 million more and take two years longer to build.
The proposed purchase of Platte County land will go before the transportation, operations and infrastructure committee on Nov. 29.
Both First District Councilmen Nathan Willett and Kevin O’Neill, in attendance at the meeting, told the crowd based on neighbor concerns they’ll be recommending the city go with an alternative site on Todd Creek in Kansas City.
Wherever they choose, KC Water says with the newer plant, the odor should be reduced.
Staff also discussed plans to try to reduce traffic, noise and light pollution and make the site more aesthetically pleasing.