canada africa partner reservation Water Works gearing up for expansion and maintenance projects | News, Sports, Jobs

Water Works gearing up for expansion and maintenance projects | News, Sports, Jobs


TR PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY — Shown is the Marshalltown Water Works logo with wording “Quality, Affordable, Reliable Since 1876.” It is centered above the entrance to the MWW office at 205 E. State St. in Marshalltown.

The Marshalltown Water Works (MWW) believes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, and this year and in the immediate future the utility will begin applying it in earnest.

Scheduled for major maintenance or expansion are three critical MWW systems: distribution treatment plant and wellfield.

The utility’s 10,127 account holders — made up of commercial, industrial and residential users — will be the beneficiaries, said MWW General Manager/CEO Shelli Lovell.

Among the account holders are MWW’s top three customers – Alliant Energy’s Marshalltown Generating Station, Iowa Rural Water Association in Newton and JBS’s pork-processing facility in Marshalltown.

“The more preventive maintenance the less emergency repair and interruptions in service,” Lovell said during a recent interview. “We also want to be proactive and be prepared for future growth in Marshalltown.”

Distribution system improvements

“The distribution system is a network of buried pipes and valves,” according to material provided by Lovell. “There are hydrants, four storage towers, one booster station and meters that deliver treated water to homes and businesses.

MWW’s distribution system is aging. The flushing and valve maintenance programs that have been in place for decades have helped them far exceed their life expectations, but some of our oldest water mains are more than 100 years old and need replacement. The MWW studies patterns of main break locations and coordinates with city of Marshalltown street projects to prioritize our replacement efforts. In the last few years, we have replaced sections of water main on May, South State and Washington streets as well as South Fourth Ave. MWW is currently working on plans for water main replacements on High and Main streets. With more than 160 miles of water main serving Marshalltown, the utility anticipates many similar projects into the future. MWW budgets approximately $1.2 million per year for these efforts.

Lovell said MWW replaces water utility lines made of lead serving customers if they are discovered in the replacement of water meters, which is currently in progress.

“In previous decades, MWW trustees and staff did an excellent job replacing water utility lines made of lead,” Lovell said.

Water utility lines made of lead have been cited as causing major health problems in some cities like Flint, Mich.

Treatment plant expansion

Construction of Marshalltown’s existing water treatment plant at 1957 N. Center St. Rd. was completed in 1977. It has two-six million gallons per day (MGD) treatment trains and is able to produce 12 MGD of treated water when everything is working properly. Both treatment trains need to be operational to meet Marshalltown’s needs, often exceeding nine MGD.

It is a complex plant with a lot of moving parts, and MWW has done its best to continuously provide great-tasting, high-quality water to residential, commercial and industrial customers.

MWW has been awarded “best tasting water in Iowa” three times.

“However, the nearly 50-year-old pumps, valves, chemical feed systems, and basins are showing their age, and preventative maintenance and repairs occasionally require that portions of the plant be idled for service,” Lovell said. “Collaborating with consultants and engineers, MWW has determined an additional six-MGD treatment train is needed to keep up with Marshalltown’s growth and to provide maintenance windows for the existing plant. Design of a six-MGD reverse osmosis plant is nearly complete. It will continue to provide softened water as well as an additional barrier against potential emerging contaminants. The estimated construction cost for the addition is $43-million, which will be financed with a low interest 20-year loan through the State of Iowa Revolving Fund. MWW is hoping to request bids from construction contractors late this spring and are anticipating a two-year construction window.”

Wellfield expansion

MWW water is sourced from nine wells located along the Iowa River. Eight of those wells collectively can provide approximately 10.5 MGD; the ninth well is able to provide 4.5 MGD individually. Like the treatment plant, many of the wells are aging. Five of the nine wells were drilled 50 to 60 years ago. MWW has an aggressive maintenance program, but wells do have a finite life. With age, their production rates are slowly decreasing, so MWW is conducting studies and making plans to replace existing or drill additional wells. MWW has budgeted slightly more than $1-million per year for the next few years to continue maintenance of existing wells and drill new wells.

Lovell, a Cedar Falls native, has been in the water utility business since 1990. She became MWW general manager in November of 2018. She is primarily responsible for day-to-day operations of the utility, which is owned by the city.

“We have a good working relationship with the city,” she said.

Lovell reports to a volunteer board of trustees that meets monthly. Trustees are chairperson Laura Eilers, a Marshalltown attorney, Nick Loney, employed by RACOM and Tom Mack, a retired plumber and businessman. Trustees set MWW policy and regulations, considering all state and federal regulations, according to the city of Marshalltown’s website. Lovell and staff implement policy. Marshalltown’s mayor appoints trustees, who serve six-year terms.

The MWW office at 205 E. State St. is open M-F, 8 am to 5 pm For more information contact 641-753-7913 or [email protected] or

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