Long-Term Partnership with Kansas City Aviation Department Protects Downtown Airport from Flooding

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2023 by
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The Kansas City Downtown Airport has approximately 50 relief wells on site. Since 2009, our team has been partnering with the Kansas City Aviation Department (KCAD) to replace them as funding is available. We are targeting wells that are no longer performing and those that have collapsed. The first two phases are complete, and the third phase was recently finished.

Before we began design, our survey team conducted topographic and as-built surveys. That information was used to inform our plans. For our most recent effort, we replaced eight existing relief wells and cleaned six.

To clean the relief wells, we inserted acid into the relief well. It dissolves mineralization that clogs the screen. A brush is then used to clean it, and the acid is pushed into the granular filter pack around the screen via surging.

In addition to the replacement and cleaning, we also pump tested another six relief wells. Not all passed. These relief wells are candidates for additional rehabilitation in future construction phases.

Our construction engineering group oversaw construction, as well as the pump tests after the wells were finished. They also worked with our design team to find solutions when some sub-surface groundwater caused challenges during excavation. However, the most complex aspect of their role was coordinating our plans with KCAD’s operations. It was critical that we operate safely around the aircraft and work around flight plans.

With the third phase fully complete, our team has started work on the fourth and final phase. When it is done, the airport will have all the original relief wells replaced. This is except for the one remaining relief that is still performing. The repair of this levee safety critical infrastructure keeps our community safe by reducing flood risk with a properly functioning levee system that operates as designed.

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