The Ames water utility was formed in 1891. The "old" Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was constructed in 1927 as a two million gallon per day (MGD) iron removal facility. Numerous improvements and expansions over the years have expanded the treatment to include lime-softening and brought the current capacity to 12 MGD.
After extensive evaluation, it was determined that the cost to renovate, modernize, and expand the facility would exceed the cost of constructing a new treatment plant facility. On July 14, 2009, the Ames City Council directed City staff to proceed with planning and design for a new water treatment plant at 1800 E. 13th Street.
Design was complete in the Spring of 2014. The project was awarded to Knutson Construction for $52,497,000. The project will be funded in large part through a low-interest loan from the Iowa Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF). Repayment of the loan will be made from utility revenues. A series of rate increases were put into place to account for the loan repayment and those increases are completed.
Construction started November 2014 and the water plant began treating the city's water in August 2017 with no issues. It took two years, eight months, 12 days, 12 hours, and 12 minutes of construction for the plant to be able to produce water to the distribution system.
On August 26, 2017 we hosted a ribbon-cutting and open house for the public to tour the new facility. A record number of the community were in attendance with approximately 1,250 to 1,300 attendees.
Did you know?
In Ames, water treatment is provided for more than 18,000 homes and businesses, Iowa State University campus, and the National Centers for Animal Health (National Animal Disease Center and National Veterinary Services Laboratories). Water is also sold to Xenia Rural Water District.
The water distribution system consists of more than 248 miles of mains, ranging in size from 4" to 24". More than 2,785 hydrants are available for fire protection.
The average single-family home in Ames uses about 160 gallons of water each day. At the price of 3.5 gallons for one penny, this means a water bill of less than 50 cents a day for the average family. At 50 gallons per person per day, a family of three uses approximately 4,500 gallons (or 600 cubic feet) of water per month.
Revenue from water customers pays all costs of the water utility, including the new construction needed to keep pace with our growing city. No tax funds are used for any part of the Ames water utility operation.