April 15, 2024

Water construction projects may clash

The timing of the water intake improvements Creston Waterworks is making at 12 Mile Lake may interfere with the progress of the construction of Southern Iowa Rural Water’s treatment plant.

Southern Iowa Rural Water Association co-managers Brenda Standley and Jeff Rice said Wednesday the issue was part of the association’s monthly board meeting.

“There are lots of pieces for this construction puzzle,” Standley said.

In late 2021, Creston Waterworks approved a $2.97 million bid to replace the 40-year-old infrastructure. The work started in early 2022 with a completion date by the end of 2022, but supply-chain issues since with various construction material companies have slowed the progress of the work.

Creston Waterworks General Manager Steve Guthrie told his board Tuesday he was optimistic work will pick up speed beginning April. Creston Water approved a payment for the work at $82,183.

In fall 2021, SIRWA began construction of its own water treatment plant east of Creston along U.S. Highway 34. The goal is to have it complete in early 2024. Southern Iowa Rural Water had been paying for water for its customers from Creston Waterworks.

Standley and Rice said their construction companies have not provided specific dates for when Creston Water must have its work complete, but the two fear SIRWA will have additional construction-related penalties to pay if dates are not met.

Guthrie said Tuesday he has contacted Iowa Department of Natural Resources over water use permits, how much entities are allowed to use from sources. The permit is in Creston Waterworks’ name, but Southern Iowa Rural Water is allowed use of the water. Once SIRWA’s plant is operational, SIRWA will have its own water use permit for 3 Mile. Creston Water will have a permit for 12 Mile Lake.

The permit that includes Creston and SIRWA allows for 2.7 billion gallons a year combined from both lakes.

Creston Waterworks and SIRWA are in negotiations over a mutual aid agreement after SIRWA opens its own plant

Southern Iowa Rural Water is interested in having raw water, water that has not been prepared for use and consumption, in the agreement under certain emergency situations. Creston Waterworks only wants to negotiate treated water.

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.