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KC Water Highlights World Toilet Day

Posted on November 19, 2015

(Kansas City, Mo.) – According to the book, Everybody Poops 410 Pounds a Year, we could spend some 9,000 hours on the toilet in our lifetime. That’s one full year. The same book also tells us Americans flush an estimated 200,000 trees worth of toilet paper a year. World Toilet Day is November 19th and KC Water is encouraging folks to take a moment to be thankful for something that is used every day and that is often taken for granted.

Shaun O’Kelley is a Plant Engineer at KC Water’s Blue River Wastewater Treatment Plant. That’s where the contents of your toilet go after you flush.  Workers have seen all sorts of items wash into the system including golf balls, turtles, and even bowling balls.

He wants you to know the toilet isn’t a trash can. “No plastic should ever go down the toilet. Nor should rags or the new fancy wet wipes. They are flushable, but they don’t break down in the system and can cause costly damage to both private and public sewer lines.”

When foreign items go down the toilet, machines must pull them out. KC Water’s treatment process returns wastewater to the Missouri River cleaner than when it was taken out. On average, KC Water treats 72 million gallons of wastewater per day.

However, World Toilet Day is about more than local plumbing. It’s about the 2.4 billion people on the planet who don’t have access to improved sanitation.

  • According to the World Health Organization, roughly 50 percent of all malnutrition cases are associated with repeated diarrhea or intestinal worm infections as a direct result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene.
  • 1.5 million children under the age of five die every year due to sanitation issues.
  • More than 80 percent of sewage in developing countries is discharged (untreated) into rivers, lakes, and streams due a lack of infrastructure, toilets, and city utilities.

Bruce Wayne Harden is a Kansas City Master Plumber who’s worked in bathrooms all his life. “Toilets are the key to our public health – we have to have them. You don’t pay attention to them until a line backs up and you have all this stuff back up into your basement. You really realize this system is key to your life,” says Harden.

On World Toilet Day, please take a moment to appreciate the difference that an easily accessible toilet makes in your life and consider those who don’t have the same level of sanitation.

And, please remember not to flush anything other than #1, #2, or toilet paper.

“Everybody in their bathroom has a trash can right next to their toilet,” says O’Kelley. “So, when you have a piece of plastic in your hand – a plastic applicator, a rag – you have a decision to make. Do you put it in the toilet or do you put it in the trash can? The trash can takes it to the landfill. The toilet ultimately goes to the ocean.”

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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