There might be the possibility that there is a main break and because of that, or because repair work involved main shutdown, homes may be without water until repairs are completed. The water distribution system is the responsibility of the Public Works Department. They strive to notify homeowners when a planned shutdown will occur; but when it comes to unexpected main breaks, there is often not time to notify nearby homeowners. Often conditions of the break, weather, and other factors determine when (or if) staff is able to give notification.
For apartment-dwellers, it's a good idea to first check with the owner or property manager. Often landlords or managers arrange for plumbing work to be done and fail to give notification. If, indeed, this is not an internal problem, call the Water Plant 515-239-5150 to report. Sometimes Water Meter staff will be doing a routine change-out on a meter or bank of meters at an apartment complex. this information does not always get relayed to each tenant. A quick call to the Water Meter Division 515-239-5151 will confirm whether or not city employees have shut off the water to do these routine changes.
During extremely cold weather, people often have no water because their meter is frozen. Staff from the Water Meter Division are called out to replace the broken meter.
Also during cold weather, individuals living in mobile homes can experience the problem of no water. Usually, this means the lines in the mobile home are frozen. Mobile homeowners may want to contact their court manager.
Also, check to make sure the shut-off valve which is located near the water meter in completely turned on. Sometimes children or even adults will unknowingly close the shutoff valve.
There is a septic or sewer odor in my house. Who can tell me what to do?
Individuals who are experiencing a strong septic or sewer gas odor should air out their house but opening windows and/or doors where possible.
It's likely that the trap in the basement floor drain has become dry and has allowed sewer gas odor to escape into the home. Pouring a bucket of water down the basement floor drain can cure the problem quickly. Some older basements may even have more than one floor drain.
Also, during the winter, the opening to the vent stack can form ice and cause a backup of sewer gas odor into the home. Even at other times of the year, the vent stack can become plugged by debris or nests.
As a precaution, you can report septic or sewer gas odors to the Public Works Operations Division 515-239-5550. They will determine if investigation is needed.
After hours, weekends, and holidays, you may call the Water Plant to report 515-239-5150.
What if I have a water quality question?
Water utility customers in Ames may call the Water Plant 515-239-5150 with any water quality questions or concerns. A staff member is available to help answer questions 24 hours a day, every day, including holidays and weekends.
Where can I dump my travel trailer wastewater?
The Water Pollution Control Plant (56797-280th) south of Ames will accept travel trailer waste water at the facility. Individuals should notify the plant staff 515-232-7423 about when would be a good time during the day to dump the waste water.
It should be noted that getting to the plant can be somewhat challenging and includes driving about a mile and a half on gravel. There is a dump station at the Story City rest area north of Ames on Interstate 35 that my be more easily accessible.
Where can I report a rusty water problem?
Customers of the Ames water utility experiencing rusty water may call the Public Works Operations 515-239-5550 to report the problem. After hours or on the weekends you can call the Water Plant 515-239-5150.
Where can I report low water pressure?
Low water pressure can be caused by several things. If water pressure is consistently low, water utility customers may call the Water Meter Division 515-239-5151 and report the problem. At no charge, Water Meter staff can take a water pressure measurement at the home or business to determine what sort of pressure is available where the water comes into the building. If the pressure is adequate at that location but remains low inside, it's possible there is an internal problem.
It's not unusual for very old homes to have build-up inside the plumbing, causing low water pressure. Solutions may include some re-plumbing and upgrading fixtures.
If there is low pressure, say, just in the kitchen, check the faucet by unscrewing the aerator. It may be clogged with fine particles. Usually, a quick rinse of the screen will solve the problem.
These types of issues may also be reported to the Water Plant 515-239-5150. There is someone on duty 24 hours a day.
Where can I report water coming up in the street?
Possible water main breaks can be reported to the Public Works Operations Division 515-239-5550. After regular business hours, weekends, or holidays, the public may call the Water Plant 515-239-5150 to report possible main breaks.
Why are the water towers so close together?
The City's water distribution system is made up of two distinct pressure zones. The east pressure zone has two water towers (also known as elevated tanks), and they are named according to their location. The first is the Bloomington Road Elevated Tank (BRET), and the second is the State Avenue and Mortensen Road tower (SAM). The west pressure zone has one water tower located near the future intersection of Mortensen Road and County Line Road (MAC). The water tower near North Dakota Avenue has been permanently taken out of service.
Typically, water towers within a given pressure zone are spaced apart from each other in a city. That is the case with BRET and SAM, which are three and a half miles apart. However, since MAC is in a separate pressure zone, it's location is less dependent on the other towers. This is why MAC can be located relatively close to SAM (approximately two miles) yet serve its intended function, which is to provide an adequate supply of water to the west pressure zone.