Drinking the Big Muddy

Published: September 22, 2015

A small part of the Kansas City water treatment plant, which transforms the silty Missouri River into drinking water for a huge metropolitan area. photo courtesy of Kansas City Water Services

A small part of the Kansas City water treatment plant, which transforms the silty Missouri River into drinking water for a huge metropolitan area.
photo courtesy of Kansas City Water Services

Presentation by Micheal Klender, Plant Manager for Kansas City Water Services

Original Presentation, September 22, 2015 at Westport Coffeehouse Theater, Kansas City, MO.

Watch a video of this presentation here. (Produced by KCDV. See more BMSS recordings here.)

Believe it or not, 43% of Missourians get their drinking water from the Missouri River. That statistic includes the City of St. Louis water plant which, although it is technically located on the Mississippi River just downstream of the Missouri (just below the Chain of Rocks), is considered Missouri River water by the Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources because it is extracted before the Missouri and Mississippi River waters begin to mix.

Despite it’s high turbidity and muddy appearance, the Missouri River is still considered a high quality water source. Of course, drawing water directly from a big river brings its own engineering and logistical challenges. How do they turn that muddy river into drinking water? What effects do agriculture and urban runoff pose to water quality?

The Kansas City Waterworks Plant draws water from the Missouri River near the downtown airport, upstream of most of the Kansas City metropolitan area. Kansas City Water Services plant manager Michael Klender explained some of the unique engineering and water quality challenges that he faces on a daily basis turning the Muddy Missouri into quality drinking water.

Resources and Links

Dig deeper for more info on this topic.

The Big Muddy Speakers Series in Kansas City

is hosted by these wonderful partners!

Thanks to all of our venue hosts for making this possible! Click here for a list of upcoming presentations» The Big Muddy Speaker Series is also held monthly in Rocheport and St. Charles.

Recordings of Presentations

Kansas City Digital Video has been recording Big Muddy Speaker Series presentations. These are available on their website at this link. Some contain synchronized powerpoint presentations. We will be posting these to the archived presentation pages on bigmuddyspeakers.org. Thanks Micheal Morgan and crew for putting this important archive online! The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.


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