October 22, 2021

Creston Water to work with SIRWA

As Southern Iowa Rural Water Association is planning its groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 21 for its water treatment plant at Three Mile Lake, Creston Water Works formed a committee Tuesday to work with SIRWA about how both entities can benefit each other in the future.

“We just formed a committee to have discussions,” said Creston Water Works General Manager Steve Guthrie after the meeting. “We probably won’t have any formal talks until this spring, but we wanted to form a committee now so we know who is on board.”

Creston Water Works named members Dawn Loudon, Kyle Huck and Guthrie.

Guthrie said one of the goals for Creston Water Works and SIRWA is to find ways to benefit each other when needed.

“We have had some informal talks how our future agreements will look now that each will have facilities and how we can help in case of emergencies; they help us and we help them,” Guthrie said.

As of now, it’s only discussions and research.

“We are just an information gathering unit. We will bring things back to the water board to discuss,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie said the idea to form the committee was created just in recent weeks.

“We’ve never done anything like this before, between the two,” Guthrie said. “Once agreements are done, this committee will go away.”

Guthrie said there are other rural water organizations in Iowa that have operational agreements with municipal water services.

“Each agreement is based on what each wants and wants to accomplish. How much notification do we need? We may have to ramp up production? When do we have to sell water? What will be the price? We want that price set in stone so all we have to do is flip some valves around,” Guthrie said about all the factors.

SIRWA purchases water from the city of Creston’s water treatment plant at Twelve Mile Lake. SIRWA General Manager Dan McIntosh said about 85% of SIRWA’s water is from Creston Water Works. Creston Water Works owns the water rights to Twelve Mile Lake while SIRWA owns the rights to Three Mile Lake.

The treatment plant was pursued after SIRWA’s growth using Creston City Water Works facilities. Creston and SIRWA had contractual agreements SIRWA using Creston’s water treatment plant at 12 Mile Lake and paying a percent of how much water was used. SIRWA had more customer growth than Creston’s. Both entities agreed SIRWA would pay for a percentage of maintenance of plant use but as SIRWA’s customers grew in numbers, so did its plant expenses.

SIRWA was paying about 75% of the plant operation, which created the idea to have its own water treatment plant. SIRWA is not expecting its water treatment plant to be operational until 2023.

In other Creston Water Works news....

The board approved a fee schedule for water main extensions. For water mains 6 inches or lager, there will be a $500 fee for the tap and $1.50 per foot for inspections. Guthrie said the board’s existing policy focused more on individual homes. The new fees are geared more for developments of multiple houses.

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.