Wastewater Collection & Treatment

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Imagine A Day Without Water

Wastewater Collection

All water that has been used for residential or industrial purposes and goes down a drain enters the city’s wastewater collection system, which is gravity-fed and contains 400 miles of sewer mains, over 15,000 manholes and 33 lift stations.

Lift stations, which are spread throughout the city, help move wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher elevation, so it can continue to flow with gravity toward one of the two Wastewater Treatment Plants in Lawrence.

The entire Wastewater Collection System is maintained and inspected by different divisions of the Municipal Services & Operations Department.

Wastewater Treatment

The City of Lawrence operates and maintains two wastewater treatment plants. The wastewater treatment plants reduce or eliminate trash, ammonia and harmful pathogens from entering the environment. The Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant (KRWWTP) serves as the city’s main wastewater plant, receiving nearly 80% of the City’s wastewater, and was the only wastewater treatment plant in Lawrence until 2018, when the Wakarusa River Wastewater Treatment Plant (WRWWTP) began operations. On average, the two plants treat 10 million gallons per day (MDG) of wastewater. Once the wastewater is treated, it discharges into either the Kansas or Wakarusa River. The treatment process creates a byproduct called Biosolids, which undergoes further treatment as part of the City’s Biosolids Management Program.

Kansas River Wastewater Treatment Plant
1400 E. 8th Street

  • Began Operations in 1956
  • Activated Sludge Facility
  • Dry Weather Capacity: 25 MGD; additional 40 MGD for wet weather
  • Average Daily Flow: 8 MGD
  • Discharges into the Kansas River

Wakarusa River Wastewater Treatment Plant
2300 E. 41st Street

  • Began Operations in 2018
  • Biological Nutrient Removal Facility
  • Peak Flow Capacity: 12.5 MGD
  • Average Daily Flow: 2 MGD
  • Discharges into the Wakarusa River

Help Keep our Wastewater System Clean

To help keep Lawrence’s wastewater system functioning properly, prevent the following items from being flushed or going down drains:

  • Fats, Oils & Grease
  • Rags
  • “Flushable” Wipes
  • Baby Wipes
  • Hair
  • Bandages
  • Feminine Products
  • Toys
  • Sand/Dirt/Rocks
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee Grounds


If you have a sewer backup, smell sewer outside of a building/home, or want to speak with someone about wastewater treatment, please call Municipal Services & Operations Customer Service at 785-832-7800 or email MSO@lawrenceks.org.