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Segment 1: The history behind Brush Creek and where it is today.

On this episode, we find out how Brush Creek, a once natural body of water, became a dual-purpose sewage system and recreation area. Hint: it starts with Pendergast and cement.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

High poverty rates, aging infrastructure and vacant homes.

These are problems that commonly occur together and that discourage community revitilization.

The Marlborough Community Coalition in south Kansas City, five neighborhoods come together as one, is trying to do things differently.

The City of Liberty

Residents in Liberty, Missouri, now have a $78 million wastewater treatment plant, and will no longer rely on Kansas City for processing services.

Greg L at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

Who's digging in the street outside your window? Hopefully, it's Kansas City Water Services.

The city recently embarked on a major, multi-billion-dollar overhaul of the combined sewer and wastewater system, which was first laid out in the nineteenth century.

Four years into the overhaul, officials from the Water Services Department visited the Central Standard studios to remind us why we're doing this in the first place, and to let us know how it's going so far. 

City of Kansas City, Mo.

The Kansas City city council was in an infrastructure-improving mood Thursday — some of its very old infrastructure.  The city council took several steps toward replacing crumbling sewer and water lines.

The full council gave its approval to rehabilitation of sewer lines around 22nd and Paseo. Infrastructure chair Russ Johnson emphasized how old they were.

"That was constructed in 1890," he said. "It's time to rehab it.”

The other council members agreed, and approved spending $1.48 million in existing bond money to do the job.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Parks, streets and sewers projects in Kansas City just got a major funding boost, as voters approved both city ballot measures yesterday.

Flickr user Clearly Ambiguous / Creative Commons

As of May 1, 2012, Kansas City, Mo. residents can expect higher rates on water usage and wastewater (sanitary sewer) services.

Kansas City, MO – This spring and summer, an alarming number of sewage spills are threatening local waterways. Millions of gallons of human waste have poured into rivers and lakes. And it's unclear if this is business as usual, and the public just didn't know about it before.

What's changed is that the city and the state are now reporting these spills more consistently. To understand the situation better, KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross caught up with journalist Karen Dillon, who covers the environmental beat for The Kansas City Star.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas City , Mo. – Federal and Kansas City officials have agreed on a partial fix for the city's sewer system. It will cost more than 2.5 billion dollars and take 25 years the largest infrastructure project in the city's history. A consent decree lodged in US federal court Tuesday all but sealed the deal after years of negotiations pitting the city against the EPA and Justice Department.