Keeping the Flood Waters Away

W above Indian Creek on Holmes

The recent flash flooding of Indian Creek in South Kansas City resulted in major repercussions for homes and businesses near the creek. Storm watch rain gauges located near Holmes Road and 103rd Street in Kansas City  indicated an average of 4.69 inches of rain over a 24 hour period. The highest intensity of rainfall fell between 2AM and 5AM on July 27, 2017, totaling 3.8 inches in just that narrow three-hour window.

Several of the restaurants and businesses that run the span of 103rd Street between State Line and Wornall roads were inundated with water. We at TREKK are saddened by the damages and losses to businesses along 103rd Street, including Coach’s Bar & Grill, which has been in business for more than 34 years.

As a GIS specialist at TREKK, my focus is primarily on water and wastewater data collection and management. Events like this flood remind me why I, along with my team of amazing field personnel and fellow office staff members, work every day to help manage these problems.

Why am I so passionate about this issue?

Storm water is the leading cause of pollution to our communities. While this may seem like a significant problem only when the wet weather event is actively creating chaos, the damage will far out-live the receding waters. When flooding occurs, pollutants like the oil from vehicles, chemicals and solid deposits gather and get distributed into the waterways. These events are devastating to the aquatic life and animals that rely on these waterways. A wet weather event like this and even those with far less intensity can cause problems, such as sanitary sewer overflows into streams and creeks, as well as backups into basements.

Sanitary sewers are designed to handle domestic wastewater flows from buildings and become overloaded during these extreme rain events when excessive storm water leaks into the system. Excessive flows enter the system through defects like cracks or offset joints in the pipes and through illicit connections on private property.  When the pipe has reached full capacity, the polluted water overflows wherever there is a path of least resistance.

Local governments spend an exuberant amount of money trying to rectify the damages to both private and public property caused by flooding. It is the efforts of the government, community and the people who are passionate about water/wastewater management that create and maintain a sustainable system with the hopes that flooding can be reduced or eliminated.

— Joann Smith, GIS Analyst

With the help of Officer Kaiser of the KCMO Traffic Unit, Joann took these photos at 8:15AM, nearly three hours after the conclusion of the rain event at the Indian Creek and Holmes Road intersection. 

E above Indian Creek at Holmes N toward Indian Creek Bridge on Holmes 2 NW above Indian Creek on HolmesE above Indian Creek at Holmes 2

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