Biological Nutrient Removal Project

Project Background

The City of Wichita and its Department of Public Works and Utilities staff have been preparing for Wichita's water future through an ongoing master planning process updated in 2016. In collaboration with Burns and McDonnell, the Integrated Water and Wastewater Master Plan was developed to prepare for projected changes in Wichita's population, aging infrastructure and treatment challenges posed by growth and/or changes to regulatory nutrient removal requirements anticipated through the year 2045.

Needed wastewater investment related to impending discharge permit requirements is now moving forward in preparation for more stringent effluent regulations expected by KDHE in the City's 2027 discharge permit.

The City of Wichita is responsible for providing drinking water and clean water services for approximately 500,000 people (nearly 17% of the Kansas population). The city has taken great strides to upgrade its drinking water facilities and is now prioritizing significant improvements at its largest water quality reclamations facilities in the City's portfolio.

  • Lower Arkansas Water Quality Reclamation Facility (LAWQRF), also known as "Plant 2"
  • The City's largest pump station (Grove Street Pump Station or "Plant 1").

Figure 1 below illustrates the locations of the City's five water quality reclamation facilities. Plants 1, 2, and 5 are hydraulically connected, while Plants 3 and 4 operate independently.

Map Showing the Biological Nutrient Removal Plants in Wichita and How They Are Connected Opens in new window

Program Timeline

Biological Nutrient Removal Project Timeline


The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued by KDHE establishes criteria for discharge from the water reclamation facilities.

Permits are issued on a five-year cycle.

The City of Wichita needs to make improvements to the Arkansas River discharge by increasing the amounts of biological nutrients removed during the wastewater treatment process by end of 2027.

Current Effluent Level
Next Cycle Permit Regulatory Level
Expected Future Permit Level
7 to 36 milligrams per liter (Nitrogen)10 milligrams per liter (Nitrogen)5 milligrams per liter (Nitrogen)
4 to 6 milligrams per liter (Phosphorus)1 milligrams per liter (Phosphorus)0.5 milligrams per liter (Phosphorus)

Project Updates

On March 7, 2023, City Council approved the Wi-FiA (Water Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act) Credit Agreement (WCA) and authorized staff to insert interest rates and the repayment schedule into the agreement. Negotiations for State Revolving Funds (SRF) are currently underway.



Press Releases

  • December 3, 2021 - Wichita Selected to Apply for Wi-FiA Loan for BNR Project

Bid Packages

Contact Us

We are currently gathering questions from the community and ensuring our technical staff can provide the most accurate information. We will compile the most commonly asked questions and answer them in our Biological Nutrient Removal Project Feedback Form.