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KC Water Begins Installation of New Storm Drain Manhole Covers

Posted on May 4, 2016

(Kansas City, Mo.) – When’s the last time you noticed a manhole cover? Starting soon in Kansas City, you’ll have a very good reason to look down. There’s a new design that will be on 100 storm drain manhole covers.

Kate Corwin, of Green Works Kansas City, and Michael Buster, a local Kansas City artist, created it.

“I hope it catches their attention. I hope it helps them think. I also hope they begin to understand that the trash that goes on the ground, the car fluids that end up on the ground, the fertilizer that washes off of our lawns, that all of it goes down into our rivers and creeks and streams,” said Corwin.

Buster added, “I hope it captures their attention and makes them look down and read what’s going on and educate them about what they put down a storm sewer.”

KC Water launched a design contest in 2014 so a local artist could create a water quality message that would resonate with the public. A panel of eight experts from the design and education communities selected the winning design from the 50 entries. The winning design and other finalists were announced in January.

The winning design features a turtle, fish, and frog – all creatures that are dependent upon clean water – along with a prominent message of “Think: Protect Your Water, Protect Our Home.” The manhole cover also includes a “Dump No Waste! Drains To River” message (please see images below). KC Water hopes the playful and creative design will raise water quality awareness by reminding everyone that most of Kansas City’s stormwater runoff, and the pollution it carries from streets, parking lots, and driveways, goes directly to area waterways, not the local treatment plant.

“No matter where you are in Kansas City, pollution that finds its way to a storm drain can end up in our streams, lakes and rivers,” said Terry Leeds, KC Water Director. “We need everyone’s help to keep our streams clean and free of pollution. We engaged the community in the design process because water quality in our streams, lakes and rivers is a community issue and our educational message needed a community perspective.”

The new covers will be placed in strategic locations throughout Kansas City.

The January 21 announcement, that includes the designs from other finalists, can be found HERE.

For more information, please contact Brooke Givens, Media Relations Coordinator, at or 816.513.0284.


KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.

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