How is water quality being measured?
This application provides an estimate of E. coli bacteria, which might be found in particular streams in the Kansas City area. Ingestion of E. coli in sufficient quantities can result in gastrointestinal distress. Bacteria is often one of the most challenging water quality problems associated with streams in urban areas.
How often is this information updated?
Stream measurements are continuously recorded and sent via satellite once ever hour. Estimates are updated once per hour based on measurements from the previous hour.
Where does bacteria in water come from?
Bacteria are found naturally in all flowing waters, however in urban areas, E. Coli (fecal bacteria) is typically the result of animals or pet waste, and during heavy rains, sewage overflows from combined sewers.
What do the different colors mean?
KCWaterBug uses a colored index just like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index. Colors represent different levels of water quality and the types of activities that are expected to be generally safe based on esimates of bacteria concentrations.
How can I find out more about bacteria concentrations?
Kansas and Missouri both have separate requirements for actual bacteria concentrations in streams based on the type of stream. You can find out more at
What about metals, pesticides, or other contaminants in the water?
You can find out more information about water quality at any of these streams, as well as many others and lakes by visiting
How can I protect myself?
We encourage everyone to enjoy streams throughout the Kansas City area. It is always a good idea to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after coming in contact with streams, and to rinse off after wading or swimming. If bacteria estimates are elevated (yellow or red) minimize contact with water to the extent possible, especially for small children and the immunocompromised.