Report: Kansas City water very safe to drink

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Every day millions of gallons of murky water from the Missouri River provide filtered, clean drinking water for Kansas City residents. But the process to get it done is a lengthy one.

It begins with the pumps inside a building near the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport that pulls water from the river into basins at the water treatment plant at Northwest Briarcliff Road.

"It flows through gravity if they stop pumping, it takes 30 minutes before the water stops flowing through out filters," Plant Manager Michael Klender said.

The 18-hour filtration process begins with chlorine to disinfect the murky water, lime softens the water and ammonia allows the chorine to stay in the water.

Pressurized pumps from the 1920s send the water to the nearly half a million faucets of Kansas City homes and businesses.

Security is a priority because the treatment plant is the only one for the Kansas City, Mo., water supply.

Each year, at least $100,000 is spent to protect the facility and recent improvements have been made to safeguard the property. 

The water services department is working to get ahead of the aging infrastructure.

Revenue bonds to the tune of $500,000 that voters approved in April will go toward replacing 28 miles of water mains each year.

Last year, Kansas City experienced more than 1,200 water main breaks, each one requiring the expertise of scientists.

"what we're testing there is the absence of bacteria and other microorganisms we're also testing to make sure that our chlorine disinfectant residue levels is up at an adequate level," David Greene said, the KCMO water services laboratory services manager.

Rigorous testing is done for water quality. Each year, the department's scientists look for more than 400 items, 81 of those items can harm you.

This year's results deem Kansas City water very safe to drink. 

"We want the most potable and agreeable product for our customers, not just water that's safe that won't make you sick," Greene said.

To read the 2014 KCMO water quality report, click here.

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