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Neon Green Water Helps KC Water Prevent Sewer Backups

Posted on June 23, 2017

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Underneath Kansas City’s streets and lawns lies more than 2,800 miles of sewer mains. Checking the condition of those pipes involves a small camera on wheels and some powder that turns neon green. The process is call dye testing.

Problems with the sanitary sewer system can lead to basement backups. That’s why this work is so important.

When a customer reports a sinkhole or sewer smell, KC Water sends an investigation team. One tool they have is dye. They sprinkle it into the system and it turns the normally grey water bright green. A robotic camera follows the colored water to the source of the problem.

“We drive the camera up to the where the dye is coming in. We see exactly where it’s entering the sewer,” said KC Water Engineering Technician Brandon Taylor.

Once identified, the break or fracture is recorded and sent to a repair crew.

KC Water uses two colors of dye. Red is used to confirm the location of a service line to a property. Green is used for cave-ins and sinkholes and also in storm drains which is why you might see stories posted on local media about green dye in a local stream or creek.

The dye is easy to see, but it isn’t dangerous explains KC Water Stormwater Engineer Technician Cedric Augmom. “It’s basically like food coloring. It will dissolve and disintegrate after a period of time.”

KC Water performs dye testing every day. Finding the problems and making repairs helps prevent sewer backups from happening to Kansas City homes.

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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