July 18, 2024

Timing, season helps with water quantity problem

Creston Waterworks General Manager Steve Guthrie explains the water treatment process to Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird during a tour of the plant earlier this year. Creston Waterworks is continuing to find a problem in the system which limits the amount of water produced.

In June, Creston Waterworks noticed how its system was not producing the desired amounts.

Three months later, with fall approaching, it might not be that much of a concern.

During Tuesday’s Creston Waterworks board meeting, General Manager Steve Guthrie said acquired devices used to assess the entire water producing system have shown the limitation on quantity will require even more analysis and an expected high cost to repair. The problem, or problems, have been difficult to locate.

In June, the water plant was producing about 4,100 gallons a minute, short of the desired 4,500 amount. The 4,100 amount is still enough for Creston and Southern Iowa Rural Water Association and its customers, Guthrie said.

“It’s only a concern when we get daytime temperatures in the high 90s,” Guthrie said after the meeting, noting how water usage typically increases with hotter temperatures. “But with September here and cooler weather coming, it might not be as urgent.”

Guthrie said review of the entire system is still being done to find and fix the limited amount.

Since June, Creston Water and SIRWA each asked their customers to voluntarily have water conservation practices and officials from both are appreciative of the response.

Southern Iowa Rural Water Association’s new treatment plant is scheduled to go online in early next year. The association will use water from Three Mile Lake for its customers. Creston Water will use 12 Mile Lake. Both entities are working on mutual-aid agreements during emergency situations.

In other water news...

The board approved a 30 day extension for an account holder in the 600 block of North Cherry to find assistance to pay an outstanding bill.

A representative for the account holder said the account missed a $73 bill payment before Creston Waterworks had the water shut off to the property. A death within the household earlier this year caused the delay in the water bill payment. The amount was not large enough to be eligible for a payment plan according to waterworks policy. Payment plans are intended for catastrophic events, like a broken pipe.

The representative, who said she does not live in Creston, claimed attempts were made to pay the outstanding bill before the general contractor was scheduled to access the valve on the property. The person said she was denied to pay the bill and now has to pay more for landscaping to repair the ground.

“It all started from a $73 bill and now we are up to over $3,000,” the person said. She said a church has paid the outstanding water bill. She said she was told about $400 is needed to have the water service reactivated, which has been done. The representative requested to have the water service reactivation fee be waived.

After further discussion, the board approved a 30-day extension to allow time for the account holder representative to research charitable organizations that offer assistance. Creston Waterworks is aware of such organizations.

Guthrie said dates will be scheduled this fall for public hearings regarding upgrades including the water infrastructure in the 100 and 200 blocks of Maple Street. Bids may be held in early December.

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.