Ames Animal Shelter
- Visit the Ames Animal Shelter, select and spend time with the animal , then fill out some helpful forms and plan on a next day departure!
Ames Area MPO
The Ames Area MPO is required by Federal law to adopt a new Long Range Transportation Plan at least every five years. The plan must have a planning horizon at least 20 years into the future.
The long range plan can be updated at anytime as needed. Updates to the plan may include changes to proposed projects, funding, or to update significant community changes. Any proposed updates to the Long Range Transportation Plan will follow the public participation process prescribed in the Public Participation Plan.
The Passenger Transportation Plan is a coordinated effort between transportation providers and human services agencies providing transportation services to enhance access throughout the community, minimize duplication of services, and facilitate the most appropriate and cost-effective transportation possible with available resources. The Ames Area MPO adopts a new Passenger Transportation Plan (PTP) every five years. The current PTP was adopted in March 2014 and has been amended as needed. The next PTP will be adopted by March 2019. Click here to learn more about the PTP and view the current document.
The Ames Area MPO adopts a new program annually and shows the next four years of capital projects which receive Federal funds or are regionally significant.
The Ames Area MPO adopts a new program annually showing how planning dollars will be spent during the fiscal year.
The Ames Area MPO develops and maintains the regional traffic model for the Ames-Gilbert metropolitan region. The current model is based on the regional roadway network and CyRide network from 2010, along with 2010 economic and demographic data. The model is calibrated using traffic volume counts and observed CyRide ridership data to verify the model is accurately forecasting traffic patterns in the region.
The model is used to evaluate the impacts of modifications to the network, such as new population areas, new employment centers, and regional transit service changes. A new model is developed in concert with the periodic update to the MPO Long Range Transportation Plan every five years.
The State of Iowa administers funding for transportation projects which contribute to curbing emissions of mobile source emissions from surface transportation in a Federal program known as Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement (CMAQ). Iowa accepts applications from governmental agencies such as cities and transit agencies, to fund projects with measurable impacts on attaining or maintaining the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Currently, all metropolitan areas in the State of Iowa are considered "Attainment" areas, meaning that they do not exceed air quality standards. However, Ames is eligible to submit projects for the ICAAP grant to maintain our attainment status and continue improving the air quality for residents of "criteria" air pollutants. The City of Ames transit service, CyRide, and Public Works department have been successful in obtaining ICAAP funds for projects such as additional transit service and traffic signal optimization studies.
Agency who awards funding
- Resolution of concurrence made by Transportation Policy Committee - Ames Area MPO
- Final selection made by Iowa Transportation Commission - Iowa Department of Transportation
Links for more Information about ICAAP
- About Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) (Federal Highway Administration)
- About Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program (ICAAP) (Iowa Department of Transportation)
- ICAAP Grant Application (Iowa DOT)
A bulk of Federal transportation funds go towards projects funded by the Surface Transportation Block Grant. This block grant provides flexible funding for projects to preserve and improve the conditions and performance on any Federal-aid highway, bridge, and tunnel projects on any public road, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and transit capital projects including intercity bus terminals. In Ames these funds are generally allocated towards capacity building projects, preservation, and transit vehicle replacement, among others.
Agency who awards funding
Projects selected by Transportation Policy Committee - Ames Area MPO
Links for more Information about STBG
- About Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) (Federal Highway Administration)
A portion of transportation funds are set-aside for transportation projects which enhance the connection between modes on the surface transportation network. The program can be used for projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects which improve non-driver access to public transportation and enhance mobility, historic preservation and vegetation management, recreational trail project, safe routes to school projects, and environmental mitigation related to storm water and habitat connectivity. Unlike the process used for the former TAP program, TA projects are prioritized by the respective MPO but ultimately selected by the Iowa Transportation Commission. TA projects are competitively selected among with other TA projects across the State of Iowa; however, the Iowa Transportation Commission does have an interest in balancing resources across the State of Iowa.
Agency who awards funding
- Projects are prioritized by Transportation Policy Committee - Ames Area MPO
- Final selection made by Iowa Transportation Commission - Iowa Department of Transportation
Links for more Information about TA
- About Transportation Alternatives (Federal Highway Administration)
An account can only be in one name except for married couples. Married couples may have both names listed on the account.
The service can be transferred by terminating the current account and establishing a new account. The roommate who wants to take the service out or their name should contact our office to terminate their service or go to our web site and submit a “stop service” request. The roommate who wants to transfer the service into their name will need to complete an application for service. Applications for service are available in our office or on our web site under the “start service” link.
Anyone may make a payment on a bill. We will need the customer’s account number or their name and service address in order to apply the payment to the correct account.
- A deposit stays with the name of the person on the account. It cannot be transferred between roommates. When one person closes their account, their deposit will be applied to their final bill and a refund sent to them for any remaining balance. The new customer will need to sign up for service and pay their own deposit.
- Budget billing is available to all residential customers and all commercial customers whose average electric consumption is less than three thousand kilowatt-hours per month. Contact our office at 515-239-5120 to sign up for budget billing.
- We require at least one business day’s notice to start, stop or transfer a service. We can provide same day service, if you need it, for a $25 fee. More notice may be required during times of peak turnover which is typically during July and August.
- A deposit is required to start service but will be waived if you provide us with an acceptable credit reference from an electric, gas, or water utility. An acceptable credit reference will show that you had utility service in your name for at least 9 consecutive months during the previous 24 months and that you paid your monthly bills in-full, by the due date, each month. You will need to contact your current or previous utility company and ask them to mail or fax us a credit reference.
- We cannot change the due date of the bill. There are eight billing cycles in Ames and due dates are based on when your meter is read. Your bill is mailed shortly after your meter is read and the bill is due 21 days after the bill is mailed.
- If you are experiencing a power outage, call the Ames Electric Services power outage automated system at 515-239-5240.
Budget billing is a payment plan that allows you to level out the amount of your monthly utility bills. You are still responsible for your actual charges. Your monthly bill amount is the estimated charges on your account for the next 12 months divided by 12. The difference between your actual charges and your budget billing charges are settled-up (added to or subtracted from your account balance) on an annual basis or when you terminate your account. The budget billing amount will be reviewed and adjusted on at least annual basis.
We provide electric, water and sewer service within the City of Ames. Garbage service is provided by private contractors (check the yellow pages) and gas service is provided by Alliant Energy 800-822-4348.
- The deposit will be applied to your account after you have paid your bill in-full, by the due date of your bills, for 12 consecutive months. If you terminate your service, and your deposit has not been refunded, then the deposit will be applied to your final bill. A refund check will be mailed to you for any remaining credit balance.
- A bill is considered late if not paid by the due date of the bill. One late bill is allowed each calendar year without a late fee being assessed. After one late payment, a late fee of 1.5% of the bill amount is charged to the account for each late payment.
City of Ames parking tickets which are less than 30 days old can be paid at Ames City Hall, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, Iowa, to the Cashier inside the east door between 8 am and 5 pm, or; payments can be placed in the drop box in front of Ames City Hall (east side), or; payments can be placed in the drop box located on Welch Avenue in the campustown area. These locations are also listed on your ticket. If you have questions about the amount you owe or if a specific ticket is too old to pay to the City of Ames, contact Finance Customer Service at 515-239-5283. If your ticket is more than 30 days old, it could be filed with the Ames Clerk of Court and would have to be paid to them. Check with the Finance Department to see if it has been filed.
These are handled through the Ames branch of the Clerk of Court. If you simply want to pay the ticket, and an appearance is not required, then you can either mail or bring the appropriate copy of the ticket, plus the fine to the Clerk of Court’s office, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, Iowa 50010. If you must or want to appear in court, the courtroom is located at Ames City Hall. Your date of appearance should be written on your ticket. For questions or to change a court appearance, contact the Clerk of Court. 515-239-5140. If the ticket was issued outside of Story County, there should be a corresponding address for the local Clerk of Court’s office near the top of the citation. Send the ticket plus fine to that address.
- To find out about business licenses, contact the City Clerk's office at 515-239-5105 or visit this website at this link City Clerk.
I would like to install an awning/canopy or a sign that extends past my property line into the public right-of-way. What type of permit will I need to obtain?Contact the City Clerk's Office at 515-239-5105 or visit the City Clerk's website by clicking on this link.
- If you are experiencing a power outage, call the Ames Electric Services power outage automated system at 515-239-5240.
- To get an estimate of your property taxes, contact the City Assessor's Office at 515-239-5370 or click on this link: Estimate Your Property Tax.
- You can get this information through the City Assessor's Office at 515-239-5370 or by clicking on this link: Property Search on the City Assessor's website.
- If you feel the assessment of your property is incorrect, you can protest it by contacting the City Assessor's Office at 515-239-5370 or by clicking on this link: Protest your Assessment.
The Ames Fire Department provides fire extinguisher training to service groups, companies, and other organizations. Call Station #1 at 515-239-5415 and the on-duty Captain would be happy to schedule a training session with our firefighters.
Ames Firefighters are more than happy to show you around the stations. We just ask that, if possible, you call ahead to Station #1 at 515-239-5107. The on-duty Shift Commander would be happy to schedule your group.
Go to our employment information page.
Yes, you may call Fire Station #1 at 515-239-5107 and ask for the on-duty Shift Commander. We will attempt to provide copies of incident reports within two business days.
Call Fire Station #1 at 515-239-5107 and the on-duty Shift Commander would be happy to check the Fire Department's schedule.
To contact the Inspection Division, click here.
To sign up for emergency notification, please click here.
Fire department and other emergency responders are responsible only for investigating a reported carbon monoxide problem or a detector activation, evacuating, rendering first aid, and advising occupants. Emergency responders are not on scene to correct the cause of the problem.
Carbon Monoxide is an extremely hazardous product. It should be treated as a hazardous material -- a product which has escaped from its normal container and threatens life and/or property.
The purpose of response by emergency personnel is to rescue and remove individuals from a hazard or assist them in evacuation, render medical care, advise occupants of findings, and issue a "Notice of Findings Form."
Some of the common signs are:
Entire Family is sick at the same time
Flu-like symptoms decrease while away from the house
Illness is present when gas appliances are in use
If you are a resident of Ames and your carbon monoxide detector is sounding alarm or if you are suffering from some of the common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 9-1-1.
If you would like a carbon monoxide test and your detector is not sounding, you should contact one of the local heating and cooling businesses.
There is no burning of yard waste, brush, or garbage allowed. Click here to read the City of Ames Burning Policy.
When an emergency vehicle is approaching that is displaying emergency lights and sirens, what should I do?
By Iowa law, you are required to pull to the right and stop. This allows fire apparatus adequate and clear lanes to safely continue its response.
The following locations may accept used and discharged fire extinguishers: Hokel Machine and the City of Ames Resource Recovery.
Please send your electronic Tier II reports to Fire Commander Tom Hackett at THackett@cityofames.org
There are two reasons. First, automobile accidents present other hazards such as potential fire, ruptured fuel tanks, and/or the presence of hazardous materials. Second, firefighters are trained in extricating (removing) trapped occupants of the vehicle.
The Ames Firefighters are trained and certified as Iowa First Responders. We carry medical equipment on our trucks. We arrive to assist the paramedics. When we arrive first we are able to begin a patient history, take vitals and size up the scene to transfer the care of the patient quickly.
Why do I see fire trucks with full lights and sirens go through a red light at intersections and then, after they go through, they turn off their lights and slow down?
Sometimes several units are dispatched to the same incident. The first arriving unit can assess the situation and call off the unneeded units. They are then put back in service and ready for other calls.
Fire apparatus are dispatched according to information received by the 9-1-1 operator. A structure fire requires a number of people to do all the assigned tasks. Firefighting teams are assigned certain responsibilities such as fire suppression, search and rescue, ventilation, salvage, safety, accountability, and rapid intervention teams when firefighters become trapped or injured. The Ames Fire Department would rather be overcautious when they respond to citizens in need of help. We are always prepared to deal with the worst that could happen. Discovering that we need more units once we arrive is often too late. We have learned that it is better to have to much help than not enough.
For any swimming pool over 24 inches deep, a 48 inch fence is required. Pools over 5,000-gallon capacity require a building permit. A 15 foot round pool with 48 inch sides is 5200 gallons. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 5,000 gallons and are located entirely above ground do NOT require a permit, but are still required to meet the code requirements for a fence or wall if the water is greater than 24 inches deep.
For more information, you may call the Inspections Division at 515-239-5153.
The City has a Web Site Linking Policy.
Yes. The following residential structures are exempt from the rental code:
- Owner-occupied single family dwellings;
- Hotels, motels;
- University housing;
- State licensed health and custodial facilities;
- Other residential occupancies specifically regulated by state or federal authority;
- Fraternity and sorority houses.
Closet lights are not required in a rental property. Closet lights are allowed to remain; however, they must have fully enclosed globed fixtures. As an alternate you may choose to remove the existing fixture, properly terminate the wires and install a cover plate.
Yes. For new rentals, numbers and dimensions of off-street parking spaces must comply with standards in the Zoning Ordinance, Section 29.406, of the Ames Municipal Code. There are provisions for approval of pre-existing parking areas for a rental property in Section 13.403 (8), of the Ames Municipal Code.
Yes. An appeal request must be made in writing and filed no later than 30 days after the date of the inspection deficiency letter. The appeal will be heard by the Property Maintenance Appeals Board. Rental property owners are entitled to file one appeal per structure, per inspection cycle, at no fee. Successive appeals filed on the same property within the same inspection cycle will be charged at the standard rate established by City Council, as set forth in the City of Ames Municipal Code, Appendix L. (link to appeal form).
If you are considering the purchase of a rental property, please complete the on-line Rental Housing Registration form to request a pre-sale inspection before purchasing the property. You may request a copy of prior inspection reports if the property has been or is currently being offered for rent. If you decide NOT to register the property as a rental a fee of $53.56 will be assessed. There is no charge for the inspection if you decide to register the property.
Can my gas fired furnace and water heater be located in or in close proximity to a bedroom or bathroom?
No. Gas fired furnace and water heaters cannot be located in, or open directly into a bedroom or a bathroom. This can not be approved as a pre-existing condition and must be corrected immediately upon notification. This provision does not apply to direct-vent appliances that obtain all combustion air from outdoors. These appliances can be located in an adjacent room when there is a solid wall and door separating the bedroom or bathroom from the room in which the appliance is enclosed. The wall must prevent the passage of air from one room to another. The door or door frame must be furnished with gasketing or weather-stripping along the sides and top to prevent passage of air through the doorway, and a snug fitting threshold must be provided.
Yes. Or, your registered operator or authorized representative may be present in your place. However a tenant is not considered an authorized representative of an owner or operator. If you, your registered operator or authorized representative are not present, no inspection will be conducted. The owner or operator is responsible to provide a minimum of 24 hour notice to tenants prior to any inspection.
Rent is defined as payment of money, goods, labor, service or otherwise for use of a dwelling. Chapter 13, of the Ames Municipal Code defines an owner-occupied dwelling unit as any townhouse, condominium, or detached dwelling that is occupied as a dwelling by the owner or owner’s relative within the first degree of consanguinity (mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother); and may include a live-in nanny; live-in nurse; one live-in exchange student; or one roomer. If you are accepting rent as defined above and your property is not owner-occupied as stated above, then it would be considered a rental property and must be registered. If the tenant is purchasing the property, there must be a legally recorded contract with the Story County Recorder’s Office for it to be considered owner-occupied.
Once a completed Rental Registration form is submitted to the Inspection Division, the property is considered to be registered. The form can be filled out online or a paper copy may be submitted by mail or in person to the Inspection Division. (Click here for Rental Registration form)
A “Request to Remove from Rental Housing Registration” form is required to be submitted. Fees will continue to be charged until such time the form is received by the Inspection Division. (click here for form to remove)
- Fill out a new Rental Registration form and check the box at the top of the form that says “Update." (click here for form)
How many ground-fault protected outlets does a rental property need in the kitchen? In the bathroom?
All receptacles serving the kitchen countertop surfaces must be ground-fault protected (GFCI). Additionally, each bathroom must have at least one ground-fault protected duplex electrical outlet (GFCI) where an electrical cord may be easily and directly plugged in with a minimum of inconvenience. Note: All outlets in the bathroom must be ground-fault protected (GFCI) but there must be at least one provided.
- A Letter of Compliance is valid for a period of one, two, three or four years, and it cannot be renewed without inspection. The period is determined by the criteria found in Section 13.301(3) of the Ames Municipal Code.
A letter will be sent to you by email so it is important that a current email is always provided to the Inspection Division. The letter will include the date and time for your upcoming inspection as well as the name of the assigned inspector. You may also request that the letter be sent by regular mail.
For more information, you may call the Inspections Division at 515-239-5153.
I heard there were new requirements for automatic alarm systems in apartments. Does this affect all apartments?
There are requirements, but they are not necessarily "new," and they do not apply to "all" apartments. Since 2003, the International Fire Code, as adopted in Ames Municipal Code Chapter 8, has included a provision requiring fire alarm retro-fitting on all R-2 occupancies of more than 16 dwellings or sleeping units. This would mean that all apartment buildings with more than 16 dwelling units or sleeping rooms must have interconnected alarm systems, to ensure that a fire on any floor activate alarms on all other floors, as well.
Thus, the Ames City Council adopted Code language that requires:
- At a minimum, all existing R-2 occupancies of more than 16 dwelling or sleeping units, have an automatic, or manual and automatic fire alarm system installed throughout all interior corridors serving sleeping units.
- Existing buildings not meeting the above specifications, be retrofitted not later than July 1, 2020.
Permits are required by the City of Ames for all exterior sign work on all buildings and properties, with few exceptions. If your project isn't listed in the code as exempt from permit requirements, then you need to get a sign permit before starting work.
The permit application process is not complicated, but we need enough information to determine whether your project meets the relevant minimum codes before we can issue your sign permit. These steps don't necessarily have to occur in this order, but all need to be completed before we can issue your sign permit. Our goal is to identify and resolve code issues before your permit is issued and before you start work. It's relatively simple to make corrections or revisions to a project while it's still on paper -- not so simple in the middle of construction.
For more information, click here.
No. Registration may be transferred from one owner to another in the event of a property sale. It is the responsibility of the current owner to inform the Inspection Division of the buyer’s name and contact information. It is the responsibility of the property buyer to register the property in his/her name or company name and furnish appropriate contact information to the Inspection Division. Prompt attention to updating this information will eliminate incorrect billing statements when rental fees are billed.
Yes, unless there is an openable window with an intact screen. The bath fan must discharge to the outdoors.
Existing Rental: Gravel parking can remain as long as it is properly maintained and provided with stationary boundaries.
New Rental: Required parking spaces must be paved.
- This is false. The use of a single furnace serving multiple dwelling units within an existing registered rental structure where air is circulated through more than one unit may continue with certain stipulations as outlined in Section 13.702 (6) of the Ames Municipal Code. It is important to note that a carbon monoxide detector must be provided within the vicinity of the furnace, as specified by the manufacturer. Approval of pre-existing conditions will not be granted to new rental registration applications for duplex or multi-family dwellings. See Section 13.702 (6) of the Ames Municipal Code for detailed information.
You will not be billed for each individual inspection. The City of Ames charges an annual fee based on the type of property to cover the inspection process. Each May, a billing statement will be sent out. The required fee is due and payable within 30 days of the date of notice to the owner or operator. The billing period encompasses the time from July 1st to June 30th of the previous year.
Location Required? Section On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms YES 13.802(S)(a) Sleeping Rooms YES 13.802(2)(b) In each story within a dwelling unit including basements and cellars YES 13.802(2)(c) Crawl spaces and uninhabited attics NO 13.802(2)(c)
Garbage and Refuse: All exterior property and premises is required to be free from any accumulation of refuse or garbage per Section 13.410 (1) and 13.410 (2) of the Ames Municipal Code. Additionally, Chapter 10.3 of the Ames Municipal Code states that garbage placed outdoors at all properties for collection must be placed in a water-tight and tightly closed receptacle. (link to Chapter 10)
Yard Waste: For all properties including rental properties, yard waste may not remain on the property for a period of longer than seven days (except for composting) as per Chapter 10.9 of the Ames Municipal Code. Yard waste includes grass clippings, leaves, garden waste, brush and trees (link to Chapter 10)
Noxious Weeds: The State of Iowa does not permit the growth of noxious weeds on any property in the State of Iowa. The most commonly seen noxious weeds are thistles and cockleburs. Dandelions are not considered noxious weeds (Link to the State of Iowa’s Noxious Weed Law). This law has been officially adopted by the City of Ames per Section xxxxxx.
Yard Height (rental properties only): Lawn grasses cannot exceed 12 inches in height at any given time per Section 13.406 (9) (a) of Chapter 13, of the Ames Municipal Code.
Outdoor Storage of Appliances: It is a violation of Section 13.410 (3) (a), of the Ames Municipal Code to leave appliances on the exterior of a rental property. For a complete list of the appliances, please see Section 13.410 (3) (a). (Link to Section 13.410 (3) (a))
Outdoor Storage of Furniture: It is a violation of Section 13.410 (3) (b), of the Ames Municipal Code to leave household furnishings on the exterior of a rental property. The term “outdoor” includes a porch unless that porch is completely enclosed by fully intact glass or fully intact screen. This is often referred to as the “couch” ordinance.
Junk Vehicles: Motor vehicles must be parked, stored and maintained in accordance with Chapter 30, of the Ames Municipal Code according to Section 13.406 (11) of the Ames Municipal Code. Vehicles that meet the definition of a junk vehicle in Chapter 30, of the Ames Municipal Code may not be stored on private property for longer than 48 hours unless they are covered with a tightly fitted vehicle tarp or which are concealed or enclosed behind an opaque wall that is at least 6 ft. in height.
All smoke detectors must be maintained in an operable condition at all times. Smoke detectors must be installed as per manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke detectors must be located at all of the following locations:
- In each room used for sleeping purposes.
- In the hallway or area immediately adjacent to the bedroom(s).
- In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements and cellars, but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics.
It is recommended that all new or replaced smoke detectors be Dual-Sensor Smoke Detectors. In order to meet the definition of dual-sensor, the detector must:
- Have both a photoelectric and ionization sensor installed, OR
- Two sensors installed, at least one of which detects smoke and one of which detects other hazards such as heat or carbon monoxide.
Charcoal grills and other open-flame cooking devices cannot be operated or located on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction. This requirement does not include one and two family dwellings, nor does it include buildings, balconies and decks that are protected by an automatic sprinkler system. LP-gas burners/grills cannot be operated or located on balconies or decks of multiple-family dwellings at any time. (Chapter 8, Sec. 8.202(2) of the Ames' Municipal Code and 308.3.1.1 of the International Fire Code). Electric grills are ok!
What is a Fuel Burning Appliance Certification form and when do I need to provide one for my mechanical equipment?
The Fuel Burning Appliance Certification form was created to provide uniform information regarding the safe or unsafe operation of fuel burning mechanical equipment in rental properties at the time of the routine rental inspection. This form can only be completed by a licensed Mechanical Contractor. (link to form)
A Fuel Burning Appliance Certification is required when mechanical equipment reaches approximately 20 years of age or when one or more of the following visual concerns are present:
•Frayed Wiring and/or
A Knox box is a small metal box that is installed at a building entrance to house keys to provide necessary access to rooms and areas as required by the Fire Department. It assures immediate building entry by firefighters and emergency response personnel and it eliminates needless and costly forced entry damage. A Knox box is required for all existing and new apartment buildings with six or more dwelling units with a common entrance capable of being locked.
A tenant wishing to file a complaint must first contact their landlord in writing regarding their concern/s. If the concern is not addressed to the tenant’s satisfaction, a Tenant Complaint form can be filed with the Inspection Division. Legal questions cannot be addressed through the complaint process. (click here for Tenant Complaint form)
Plastic dryer vents are not safe and are not allowed. Dryer vents must be constructed of rigid metal ducts that have smooth interior surfaces with joints running in the direction of the airflow. Flexible aluminum transition duct may be used but limited to single lengths not to exceed 8 feet. The dryer vent should be properly supported and routinely checked for any buildup of lint and debris. The dryer vent must exhaust to the exterior of the building.
Fire Extinguishers (single-family and duplex)
As of July 1, 2015, all dwelling units must have one charged and operable 2-A: 10-BC rated fire extinguisher located in conspicuous location where it is readily accessible and immediately available for use. Re-chargeable fire extinguishers are subject to required maintenance at intervals of not more than one year by a trained individual. Non-rechargeable fire extinguishers must be replaced after 12 years.
Multi Family Properties (non-sprinklered)
All dwelling units must have one charged and operable 2-A: 10-BC rated fire extinguisher; or, there must be one charged and operable 2-A: 10-BC rated fire extinguisher supplied and kept on each floor of a dwelling within seventy-five (75) feet of every unit entrance located in conspicuous locations where they will be readily accessible and immediately available for use. Re-chargeable fire extinguishers are subject to required maintenance at intervals of not more than one year by a trained individual.
Multi-Family Properties (sprinklered)
In rental buildings that include an automatic sprinkler system utilizing quick-response automatic sprinklers, 1-A: 10-B:C portable fire extinguishers may be utilized. In locations where the 1-A: 10-B:C portable fire extinguishers are allowed, they are only required within the dwelling units, not in the common areas.
All new or replaced smoke detectors should be Dual-Sensor Smoke Detectors. In order to meet the definition of dual-sensor, the detector must:
• Have both a photoelectric and ionization sensor installed, OR
• Have two sensors installed, at least one of which detects smoke and one of which detects other hazards such as heat or carbon monoxide.
All below grade bedrooms are required to have windows/emergency escape openings that comply with the 2006 International Residential Code. These windows/openings are required to open directly into a public street, public alley, yard or court. Where these windows/openings are provided, they cannot have a sill height of not more than 44 inches above the floor.
Exception: Grade floor openings shall have a minimum net clear opening of 5 square ft. (Grade floor opening: A window or other opening located such that the sill height of the opening is not more than 44 inches above or below the finished ground level adjacent to the opening.)
Minimum opening area. 5.7 sq. ft.
Minimum opening height. 24 inches
Minimum opening width. 20 inches
Emergency escape windows/openings are allowed to be installed under decks and porches provided the location of the deck allows the emergency escape window/opening to be fully opened and provides a path not less than 36 inches in height to a yard or court.
The minimum horizontal area of the window well must be 9 square feet with a minimum horizontal projection and width of 36 inches. Window wells with a depth over 44’’ must be equipped with a permanently affixed ladder or steps usable with the window in the fully opened position. Ladders or rungs are required to have an inside width of at least 12” and project at least 3” from the wall and be spaced not more than 18” on center vertically for the full height of the window well. Any covering on the window well(s) must be removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool, special knowledge or force greater than that which is required for normal operation of the window(s).
- The rental housing team has created a document called A Guide to a Successful Rental Housing Inspection. This document will help to familiarize you with most of the things that will be looked at during a routine rental inspection. It is recommended that you review this document prior to an upcoming inspection of your property.
If you need to re-schedule a routine rental inspection, please contact Administrative Services at 239-5153. If you need to re-schedule a re-inspection, please contact the assigned inspector that did the rental inspection with you.
Prior to renting or leasing the structure (13.411(2)(a))
One-family dwelling (13.411(2)(b))
Public or shared areas of structure containing two or more dwelling units and the exterior (13.411 (3)(a))
Public or shared areas of a multiple occupancy structure and the exterior (13.411(3)(a)) x Infestation caused by failure of occupant to prevent infestation in the area occupied (13.411 (3)(b)) x Maintaining structure in rodent and pest-free condition (13.411(3)(b)) x Infestation caused by defects in the structure (13.41193)(b) Exception) x
No, the City of Ames does not prohibit the keeping of any certain breed of dog. In fact, the City addresses the broader topic of dangerous domestic animals - not just dogs - in order to protect the public from hazards associated with any such animal. In general, a dangerous domestic animal is one that has inflicted serious injury on a person or another animal, poses a potential risk of attacking and inflicting serious injury without provocation, or is owned for the purpose of animal fighting (which is a violation of state law).
The City Animal Control Officer determines, based on reasonable evidence, whether an animal is a dangerous domestic animal. Such evidence may include a verified report of aggression on the part of the animal, whether the animal was provoked, and an expert’s opinion. Under City code, people responsible for the keeping of an animal that is determined to be a dangerous domestic animal must meet several requirements. Such requirements include registering the animal with the Animal Control Officer, providing to the City proof of financial responsibility for injury or damage that might be caused by the animal, having a confinement plan approved by the Animal Control Officer, and meeting other handling requirements the Animal Control Officer has determined are necessary.
With these regulations and requirements, the City of Ames intends to take a fact-based, measured approach to protecting the public from dangerous domestic animals. Rather than making unfounded assumptions about an entire breed of animal, the Animal Control Officer focuses on the actual behavior of a domestic animal to determine whether that particular animal is dangerous. For additional information about requirements and appeal procedures, please refer to the Ames Municipal Code Chapter 3, Division II, Dangerous Domestic Animals. Finally, keep in mind that everyone in Ames has a duty to report an incident in which a domestic animal causes serious injury to a person or another domestic animal within 24 hours of the incident. To report such an incident, call Animal Control at 515-239-5530.
I’ve noticed many cats around our neighborhood. It seems as though they’re let out the door and left to roam. Is there a leash law for cats as well as dogs?Yes, there is a “leash law” for cats. The Ames Municipal Code requires that cats - just like dogs - be restrained by their owners and kept from running at large. It is unlawful for animal owners to allow their pets to roam the neighborhoods and parks. Unless they are on their owners property or that of a neighbor who has given permission, both cats and dogs must be restrained by an appropriate leash.
Violations of the Animals at Large ordinance are municipal infractions punishable by fines of $50. Second and third offenses result in $100 fines, after which additional violations can result in fines as high as $750! In addition, cats and dogs that are roaming at large in Ames are impounded by animal control officers. The first time a cat or dog is impounded, the owner must pay $25.00 for the animal’s release. After the first time, the impound fee is raised to $30.00.
What should you do if you see an animal at large in your yard? Contact the pet’s owner or call the Ames Animal Control office. Do not try to trap a cat or dog unless you have first contacted the Animal Control office and received written permission to use a humane live box trap.
I’ve noticed that as the days get longer, there are more and more construction projects starting even earlier in the morning. Sometimes the noise is so loud it wakes me up. Is the legal?Yes, it is legal. Generally, the City does regulate the amount of noise permitted within city limits. Pursuant to a municipal ordinance found in Chapter 16 of the Ames Municipal Code, the loudness permitted varies by time of day and characteristic of neighborhood. For example, in residential neighborhoods the permitted level is 60 decibels between 7 a.m. and midnight, and 55 decibels between midnight and 7 a.m. In most instances, the type of noise doesn’t matter. Whether the noise is music, vehicle noise, or even voices - any noise that exceeds the permitted level could subject the person responsible to a citation. However, the ordinance does provide a few exceptions. The noise limits do not apply to emergency work or emergency vehicles, or to activities that have been granted a noise permit allowing the level to be exceeded for temporary activities, like parades or fireworks. Also excepted are nonprofessional athletic contests and all construction work. It is the last exception that would make the early-rising construction workers’ activities lawful.
- The City of Ames does not prohibit the keeping of these animals, but we do have regulations providing that any animals be kept in housing that is safe, sanitary, and size appropriate for the type of animal, that they be fed, watered, given appropriate veterinary care and kept reasonably quiet and secure. Please refer to Ames Municipal Code Chapter 3 Section 3.111--Standards of Care where you will find a complete list of standards of care.
- No. The city ordinance, Sec. 8.401 on the subject of “open burning” states: “open burning of leaves is prohibited at all times.” That has not always been the rule. The City enacted the leaf-burning prohibition in 1998. The policy recognizes the adverse health effects that burning autumn leaves has for many people. Some respiratory ailments make it impossible to tolerate smoke in the air without suffering a reaction that, for some, requires medical treatment. In 1996, in a lawsuit brought against the town of Mallard, Iowa, in the U.S. District Court, it was ruled that a city ordinance permitting the open burning of leaves could be found to constitute a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The court stated that a city permitting open burning of leaves prevented such disabled persons from enjoying access to city parks, traveling on city streets, or attending public functions held outside. Consequently, the court concluded that if a city did not prohibit leaf burning it would be liable under Title II of the ADA as a matter of law.
The City of Ames ordinance does allow open fires for recreational purposes, but requires that the fire be more than 15 feet from any structure. In recognition of the affect that smoke from open burning can have, the fire department is authorized by the ordinance to cause recreational fires to be extinguished upon receiving a complaint.
- Many Ames residents like to voice an opinion, support a candidate, or cheer on the home team with a temporary yard sign. However, there are rules that address sign placement. When locating the right spot for your yard signs, please keep in mind:
• Signs should be placed behind the property line and are prohibited in the Public Right of Way, which is the area located between the curb and back of the sidewalk. For properties without sidewalks, the Right of Way width may vary, but is usually the first 14.5 feet behind the curb in residential neighborhoods.
• Signs should never block the view of on-coming traffic. At each intersection, there is a 20-foot by 20-foot “visibility triangle”, which is measured along the property line. Items within the visibility triangle must be less than 36 inches above the street gutter.
• Temporary signs may not be displayed for more than 90 consecutive days without removal or replacement.
The sign ordinance is in the City of Ames Municipal Code, Chapter 21.
- Anytime the snow accumulation reaches two inches on the main City streets (Lincoln Way, Grand Avenue, Duff Avenue and lots of others), be prepared to move your vehicle if you have parked along a snow route! When the snow ordinance is put into effect, it will be posted on the City's website and on TV Channel 12 (Government Access Television) as soon as possible. You may also listen to: KASI - 1430 AM or KCCQ -105.1 FM. We also give this information to the Des Moines TV stations, 5, 8 and 13. When they have time, they include the information in their scrolls. Once the ordinance has been put into effect, you could receive a ticket or have your car towed if it is parked on a snow route. We don’t want this to happen, so please move your vehicle. If you are towed, you’ll need to contact Elmquist Decker's at 515-232-6670 to get it back. During the snow removal process, please don’t park on the snow routes until the snow has stopped falling and the street is plowed from curb to curb.
- The city plays no role in landlord/tenant disputes, but there is a program that might be able to help. Call Rent Iowa at 515-233-3390.
I have a neighbor who mows the lawn and uses a blower at 7 am in the morning. Doesn't the city have ordinances or rules regarding this issue?Generally, the City of Ames does regulate the amount of noise permitted within city limits. Pursuant to a municipal ordinance found in Chapter 16 of the City Code, the loudness permitted varies by time of day and characteristic of neighborhood. For example, in residential neighborhoods the permitted level is 60 decibels between 7 a.m. and midnight, and 55 decibels between midnight and 7 a.m. In most instances, the type of noise doesn't matter. Whether the noise is music, vehicle noise, or even voices – any noise that exceeds the permitted level could subject the person responsible to a citation.
The ordinance does provide a few exceptions, however. The noise limits do not apply to emergency work or emergency vehicles, or to activities that have been granted a noise permit allowing the level to be exceeded for temporary activities, like parades or fireworks. Also excepted are nonprofessional athletic contests and all construction work.
I’m thinking of putting a fence around my property. I’m looking at a lot of different styles and heights. When I install my fence, what do I need to know?"Good fences make good neighbors," said the poet Robert Frost. Maybe so, but fences also make for some good questions. One of the most frequent questions concerns set backs – the distance the fence must be from the property line. Must a fence be set back a certain distance from the neighbor’s property? The answer is no. Set back requirements for structures of any kind are established by the "Zone Development Tables" for each of the various zoning districts. Those regulations state set back requirements for buildings, but not for fences.
Another concern is aesthetics. Is there a rule that requires the "nice" side of a board fence to face outward? The answer to that is also no.
However, there are rules about the height of fences that relate to the location of the fence. In most situations those rules are simple. In the front yard the height limit is four feet. In the required side and rear set backs for the house, the height limit for a fence is six feet; but, if you have a side yard or rear yard that is more than the required set back, then the fence or part of a fence that is not in the required set back can be as much as eight feet high. Those are the simple rules. There are also some complicated rules. If you want to put a fence across the back of what is called a "through lot", (a lot that fronts on one street and backs up to another) or if you have a corner lot and want to put a fence across the side yard that abuts on the street, the rules are complicated. In those situations a visit to the City's Department of Planning and Housing for consultation is recommended.
I’ve noticed a lot of campaign signs in yards, posters on light poles, and even information left at my house and on my car windshield. Are these Legal?It depends. Property owners may put up temporary yard signs within their property as long as the sign doesn’t block the view for drivers. Light poles – or other public infrastructure- are off limits for posting any type of information. Candidate posters, as well as garage sale notices, should not be put on light poles. City Code makes it unlawful for any person to throw or deposit any paper, cards, advertisements, or handbills into any street, alley or other public place or on any motor vehicles while parked on public property. The concern is that these things become litter. To leave information at a residence, the City Clerk’s Office recommends notices be hung on doorknobs – either with a cut-out on the flier itself or with a rubber band looped through a punched hole. That way the resident usually has to remove the flier and limits the likelihood that it will be come litter. If you have questions about what’s allowed, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 515-239-5105, or the City Attorney’s Office at 515-239-5146.
My lease is almost up and I’m getting ready to move out of my apartment. How do I get my security deposit back? What do I do with all the junk from my apartment that I want to discard when I move?Security deposits are a common source of dispute between landlords and tenants. Possible sources of information and assistance include:
1. Your lease. Check the rental agreement for specific instructions and information as questions arise.
2. The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Iowa Code Chapter 562A. You can read the entire code at the Iowa Legislative Document Research Page. Generally speaking, your deposit should be returned to you unless your landlord needs it to cover the cost of damage you caused. The law sets out what is required of you and your landlord in regards to your security deposit, and the timeframe you have to fulfill those requirements. You must provide your landlord with your mailing address. Your landlord must send you the deposit or a letter that explains why your deposit was not returned. If your landlord keeps your deposit to pay for repairs, the landlord should explain in the letter what damages needed to be repaired.
3. A private attorney. The City Attorney cannot provide legal advice on these issues.
Sources to check on how to dispose of junk you’ve accumulated or furniture you don’t want include:
City of Ames Municipal Code. Remember that garbage set outdoors for collection must be fully contained in water-tight receptacles. You can read the rules about garbage and refuse in the Municipal Code Chapter 10.
Your private garbage collection service. Call your garbage collector to check on things like possible restrictions or additional charges for hauling away larger items.
City of Ames Resource Recovery Plant. To dispose of larger items such as furniture, you can take it to the Resource Recovery Plant.
My neighbor’s dog barks constantly. Is there a rule against constant disruption of the peace and quiet of a neighborhood?Yes, Ames Municipal Code section 3.115 prohibits pet owners from allowing their pet from barking, howling, or making such noises for prolonged periods of time to the point that it unreasonably disturbs the peace and quiet of the area. An owner who allows their pet to be a nuisance can be charged with the violation of this code section. Such a violation is a municipal infraction punishable by a penalty of $50 for the first violation and by a penalty of $100 for every violation thereafter. For additional information about pet-keeping laws here in Ames, you can call the Ames Animal Shelter at 515-239-5530.
My neighbor’s tree hangs over my driveway, dropping leaves and branches on my car. Is there a law that says my neighbor must keep the tree trimmed back? Can I trim the tree back?There is no City ordinance on this subject because in mature neighborhoods each lot may have large trees that overhang two or more adjoining lots and visa versa. An attempt to have a standard enforced by the City could easily entangle the local government in a vexing web of unintended consequences. However, a wide variety of disputes concerning encroaching tree limbs have been presented to the courts over the years. Under the resulting common law, when overhanging branches drop leaves and twigs that are not toxic or otherwise inherently injurious, the adjoining lot owner has no basis for legal action against the tree owner. The court’s view is that any other stance would risk making the tree owner liable for natural processes. That judicial policy extends also to tree roots that enter and clog sewer lines. The courts do, however, permit what is called a “self-help remedy”. In that regard, an Iowa Supreme Court decision gives you the right to cut back the offending tree limbs to the property line. Be careful though. Section 658.4 Code of Iowa states that for “willfully injuring” any tree or shrub on the land of another, the perpetrator shall pay triple damages if sued by the tree owner. If limbs are cut back too far, or in a way that a jury might find to be “injuring” the tree, liability could be the result. For details, see: 65 ALR4th 603, Sec. 658.4 Iowa Code, and Harndon v. Stultz, 100 N.W. 329 (Iowa 1904).
Now that the weather is warmer, I’m exercising outside more often. Some of the sidewalks I jog along are cracked and in poor condition. I don’t want to run in the street, what can I do?Maintaining sidewalks is the responsibility of the abutting property owner. Just as property owners must clear the sidewalks of snow and ice in the winter, sidewalks must be properly maintained in warmer weather as well. Along with keeping sidewalks free from overgrowth, leaves, and debris, sidewalks with large cracks, holes, and buckled portions must be repaired or replaced. The City of Ames Public Works Department is responsible for the Sidewalk Safety Program. The program is complaint-driven, which means City employees will assess a sidewalk if someone notifies them of a problem. During the sidewalk evaluation any defects are marked and measured. If the sidewalk is in violation of the program, the property owner is notified. For more information or to report a sidewalk in question, contact the Public Works Department at 515-239-5342.
Once the weather turns cooler, I’m interested in completing some home repair projects. Do I need a building permit to add a deck or rebuild my old garage?Yes. There are three easy steps when obtaining a building permit for either a new deck or garage. The first step is going to the Inspections Office located on the second floor of Ames City Hall in downtown Ames. When you go to the Office you will need to bring in a complete site plan for them to look over. Your site map must include several things, including scaled drawings of your property with all buildings, hard surfaced areas and property lines shown. The site plans must also show work to be done, including placement of windows and doors. You will also need to include drawings of exterior elevations of proposed work as well as any other technical information about the project, such as footing design, foundation design, spacing and dimensions of floor joists and engineering if those are required. A full list of the site plan requirements can be found at the Inspections Office. The second step in the process is to fill out an application for a building permit, which can also be found at the Inspections Office. Once your application has been approved, the final step in the process is to purchase a building permit from the Inspections Office and you are all set to build either your deck or garage. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are planning on having any electrical outlets you must obtain a separate electrical permit from the Inspections Office. Also, any informational handout sheets for various projects are available at the Inspections Office and if you have any questions, please call them at 515-239-5153.
- Be sure to get the word out about the treasures to be found at your next garage sale by following the City rules on signs. The rules allow people the opportunity to advertise, but also protect the aesthetic character and property values of our city. Property owners may put up a temporary yard sign on their property as long as the sign does not extend onto public property or interfere with the view of drivers. Please be aware that the area between the sidewalk and the curb is public property, so signs are prohibited in that area. Be sure to remove the sign when your garage sale is complete and the sign no longer serves its purpose. Prompt removal of outdated signs helps ensure our city remains clean and clear of unsightly debris. Finally, do not attach your sign to rocks, fences, trees or utility poles. Such activities are specifically prohibited by the rules. For more details about the City rules on signs, check out the Ames Municipal Code, Chapter 21. If you have questions about what is allowed, don’t hesitate to call the City Clerk’s Office at 515-239-5105 or the City Attorney’s Office at 515-239-5146. Have a great spring and happy garage sales!
- Ames residents have several options when it comes to disposing of raked leaves. The leaves can be collected with regular garbage collection services, provided they are kept separate from other household garbage. Leaves can also be used for mulch, otherwise known as land application, or they can be composted for use as fertilizer. Mulching or composting can take place at the residence or at another location so long as the provisions in the Ames Municipal Code are followed.
Here are some of the applicable provisions from the Ames Municipal Code:
• Section 10.8 of the Ames Municipal Code describes the disposal options for household garbage and yard waste. Yard waste can be disposed of in the same manner as regular household garbage but Section 10.7 requires that yard waste must be kept separate from other garbage.
• Section 10.24 of the Ames Municipal Code does allow someone to use leaves or grass for land application so long as the leaves are applied within seventy-two (72) hours of the time that the materials arrived at the site. The Code also requires that the person who owns the property on which the leaves are applied must take reasonable measures to make sure that the leaves remain on the site of application.
• Section 10.24 of the Ames Municipal Code allows for the composting of leaves so long as it complies with the standards established by the Department of Natural Resources. The DNR’s guidelines can be found in the Iowa Administrative Code at 567 Chapter 105 however these guidelines do not apply to yard waste that is “composted and used on the same premises where originated.” So if you are composting your own leaves, on your own property, and plan to use to compost on your own property, you are good to go! Commercial composters, or larger scale composting operations will need to be sure to consult the standards established by the Department of Natural Resources.
- There is an ordinance prohibiting skateboards in certain locations of Ames and another ordinance that restricts riding upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk.
You may want to check out Section 17.28 and Section 26.7 of the Ames Municipal Code. Violation of these ordinances can result in a penalty of $50 for a person’s first violation and $100 for each repeat violation. It may be of your best interest to skateboard at the Skate Park located across from Brookside Park.
- A tree located on a homeowner’s property inside the sidewalk is the full responsibility of the homeowner. If that tree were to be blown over onto and damage City property, or a limb fall off and damage City property, the homeowner would be responsible for any such damage. Of course, the homeowner should check their homeowners insurance to see if they have any coverage for such an event.
Ordinary maintenance within the publicly owned property right-of-way (that area between the sidewalk and the curb) is the responsibility of the abutting property owner. However, in accordance with Ames Municipal Code section 22.1, the property owner shall not remove any diseased trees or dead wood on publicly owned property or right-of-way. If a tree located in the publicly owned property right-of-way should be blown over and damage City property, or a limb fall off and damage City property, a claim for that damage could be made with the City.
- Walking in a winter wonderland is easier, safer, and a lot more pleasant if the sidewalk has been cleared. Clearing the sidewalk of snow and ice is the duty and responsibility of the owner of the abutting property. This is established by both state law and City ordinance. The City of Ames ordinance Sec. 22.2 says that you have ten “daylight hours” after the event that caused the accumulation to clear the snow from the sidewalk. If you don’t, someone from the City may hang a notice on your door reminding you to get the job done, especially if other citizens are calling the City. If you don’t clear the sidewalk soon after the notice, the City will send out a crew to do the job, and the cost will appear on your next property tax bill as a special assessment. More importantly, if someone is injured by slipping on the ice and falling, you, as the abutting property owner, will be liable. That could make the effort of clearing the snow before it got all tramped down and icy look cheap and easy. So, button up your overcoat, and be a good neighbor. Get out there and clear away the snow. You will be glad you did.
An officer stopped me for no reason and acted very rude to me. I want to issue a complaint against that officer. What do I need to do?Contact the Chief of Police at 515-239-5130 to inform him of the occurrence. He will assign an Internal Affairs Investigator to investigate the incident.
- The Iowa State Patrol offers a road report hot-line at 800-288-1047 or 511 on your cell phone or http://www.511ia.org/
- The City of Ames recommends bicycle owners in the community register their bikes. To make this program as simple as possible, the City has teamed with ISU to develop one University/City registration tag that is free and non-expiring. Bicycle owners fill out a short form either in person at the locations listed below or on-line. Your information is recorded in our system and you receive a sticker with a registration number to affix to your bike. It's that easy! You will need to know the make, model, type of bike, serial number, speeds, color, and style to complete the registration process. You can register at the City Finance Department, City Hall, 515 Clark Avenue; Iowa State University, Armory Bldg, Room 27; or on-line at http://www.parking.iastate.edu/permit/bike/# and your sticker will be mailed to you.
Yes, the emergency outdoor warning system is activated whenever the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Ames. Additionally, actual sightings of tornadoes by law enforcement personnel or other reliable sources are grounds for activating the warning system. Two important notes: the system is routinely tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month, weather permitting, and we do not issue an "all clear" siren. For additional information, please refer to local radio and television stations - please do not call the police department during severe weather situations - unless you have an actual emergency. For indoor notification we strongly encourage the use of a weather radio.
- We also fingerprint children. The Community Resource Officer offers free public fingerprinting sessions at locations throughout Ames as part of their community service program. If you have an immediate need for finger printing your child, you may come to the police station at the times listed above.
- If you anticipate having some activity which might generate a violation of the noise ordinance, you should apply for a noise permit. These permits are available from the Ames Police Department, but you need to plan ahead in order to apply for one. If you apply, you will be asked to complete an application form that describes the site, the source of the expected noise, and the responsible person(s) in control of the party. There is no fee for obtaining a noise permit. In addition, we have information that might be helpful if you are planning a large gathering - information that just might help you avoid problems. If you are granted a noise permit, it will specify just how loud your event may be and the time(s) you will be allowed to exceed the normal limits. Applications need to be submitted 24 hours before the event or by noon on Fridays for the current weekend. Criteria for granting noise permits includes no arrest for the applicant or at the planned address within the past year, and no other permit already issued for the same date/time within the same block.
- Vehicles are impounded for a variety of reasons, such as: violation of the snow ordinance, various arrest procedures, as an abandoned vehicle, or as a traffic hazard. Towing for the impoundment is re-bid every two years by Ames merchants. Currently, the contract for towing is with CIT - Central Iowa Towing, 2019 East Lincoln Way, Ames, 515-290-4188. Fees for towing and storage are payable through CIT. Depending on the reason for the vehicle being towed, there may also be a parking ticket that the vehicle owner is responsible for.
- The Records Division of the Ames Police Department will provide copies of reports for insurance companies, etc. for a nominal fee. The office is located at the Police Department, and is open weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm., 515-239-5135.
- There are several ways to obtain a restraining order against someone. You may want to consult with a private attorney and have them represent you. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney, you may ask the Story County Legal Aid Services at 515-382-2471 for assistance. Finally, in cases of domestic abuse, a victim can go directly to the Clerk of Court Office and get assistance with the paperwork.
Applications may be picked up at the Police Department or contact Community Resource Officer Kurt Kruger, 515-239-5432, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The Citizen Police Academy is an 8-week program starting in January and September of each year. The course covers different areas of police department operations including, police ethics, use of force, crime scene investigations, narcotics, firearms training, to name a few. Eligibility requirements are as follows: you must live or work in Ames, be 19 years of age or older, have no felony convictions anywhere and no misdemeanor arrests within the last three years. There are no physical requirements although students are encouraged to participate in the hands-on training.
- You may call the Police non-emergency number, 515-239-5133 to report graffiti or click on this link to complete an online reporting form. Report Graffiti.
- You can park your vehicle in the same place on any city street or municipal parking lot for up to 48 hours, unless otherwise posted. After 48 hours, you are subject to a ticket or towing.
- No. In accordance with Ames City Code Sec. 18.15, parking a motor vehicle in the front yard of a residential structure is prohibited.
- You may appeal the parking ticket through the office of the Chief of Police. The situation will be investigated using the Municipal Code as a guide and/or discussing it with the issuing officer. If the appeal is denied by the Chief, you may appeal it further by requesting a trial through the City Attorney's office 515-239-5146.
I need to be fingerprinted for a job application, professional license or other personal reason, will the Ames Police Department do this?Yes, please come to the Ames Police Department's Records Division and explain what you need. General public fingerprinting is offered on Tuesdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and Thursdays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Please plan to arrive by 12:45 p.m. to get checked in.) Fee for this service is $10; cash, MasterCard, or Visa are accepted. You will need to bring all the fingerprint forms with you for your particular needs and a photo ID.
- Licenses for dogs or cats are not required by the city of Ames. Current rabies tags are required. Check with your veterinarian of choice, or call the Ames Animal Shelter at 515-239-5530.
- If you receive repeated prank phone calls, phone harassment or other calls that might require follow-up with specialized phone equipment, you are urged to contact the telephone company directly. The US West Communications phone number is 800-582-0655.
- Technically, a missing person is defined as any individual, of any age, who is missing and is under any proven physical or mental disability, or who is missing under circumstances indicating that his/her physical safety is in danger, or under circumstances indicating the disappearance is not voluntary, or after a catastrophe. In the case of minor children: abducted by a non-custodial parent, or lost. Generally, In order to report a missing person, you must appear in person at the police station, complete a detailed description of the missing person, and indicate why you believe the person should be considered missing in the context of the above definition.
I would like to have an officer talk to my neighbors and me about crime prevention. Is that possible?The Ames Police Department has a Speakers Bureau available to make presentations on a variety of topics to groups. Tours of the Police Department may also be arranged. Call the Chief's Office at 515-239-5130 to arrange for a speaker or tour.
- Persons taken into custody by the Ames Police Department are transported to the Story County Jail in Nevada. If the person is an adult, and we have them in custody, we will tell you that information over the phone. We cannot discuss the details of criminal cases over the telephone, or in person, unless it is with the arrested person's legal counsel. We cannot discuss cases involving juveniles with anyone except their legal guardian or legal counsel. Questions - call 515-239-5133.
- For information regarding personnel openings with the Ames Police Department, or any other city department, please contact the Human Resources Department, City of Ames, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, IA 50010, phone 515-239-5199 or visit Human Resources
- No. Vehicles cannot obstruct or park across sidewalks. In addition, a vehicle cannot be parked in front of a public or private driveway.
People are knocking on my door selling magazines. They are very rude and can't take no for an answer. Is it legal for them to sell door-to-door?The city of Ames requires transient merchants to be registered with the City Clerk's Office. Call the Communications Center at 515-239-5133 to ascertain if the group knocking on your door has done so. If they are causing problems for you or harassing you, a visit by an Ames police officer may be warranted.
- All questions concerning animal control, both domestic and native animals, should be directed to the Ames Animal Control Shelter. The phone number is 515-239-5530 or Ames Animal Control Division.
- Unless you obtain a permit from the Ames Police Department, you may only tap one beer keg at a time during your party. To obtain a permit you will have to go through a short briefing with the Police Department's Alcohol Enforcement Team. The purpose of the briefing is to provide you with information relating to your legal obligations when making alcohol available to others, and to help you plan for a successful, socially responsible party. There is no charge for a permit. See Chapter 17.27 of the Ames Municipal Code.
- An actual permit is not granted; however, you need to contact the City Traffic Engineer at 515-239-5275 and inform him of the parade. He will assist you in arranging barricades, police escorts, etc., to ensure the safety of the marchers.
- If you have an unauthorized vehicle parked in your reserved parking stall, leased parking stall, or simply have a vehicle parked on your private property, commercial or residential, you may call the Police Department 515-239-5133 and request that a parking ticket be issued. If the area is adequately signed, the officer will ask you to co-sign the citation. Then you may choose to have the vehicle towed by a private towing service.
- In the event you want to contest a parking ticket, you must first contact the Chief of Police or his Secretary 515-239-5130. If you are unable to reach an acceptable agreement there, you may request a trial before the judge by contacting the City Attorney's Office 515-239-5146. Generally a court appearance date is scheduled on traffic citations. This is the time you may plead Not Guilty if you choose, and a trial date will be set. However if you have any questions about your appearance obligations you should contact the Clerk of Court Office 515-239-5140 having jurisdiction over your particular situation.
- Chapter 22 of the Municipal Code details the provisions of the snow ordinance. The purpose of this law is to ensure that main arterial streets, Cy-Ride routes, etc. can be cleared of snow in an expedient and efficient manner. All snow routes within the city are marked with signs. When there is significant snowfall, and the city administration deems it necessary, the snow ordinance will be invoked. Local radio and television stations are notified of this development. Cars left parked on designated snow routes are subject to ticketing and towing in order to clear the street for the snowplows. Once the snow stops falling AND the street is completely plowed, you may resume parking on the snow route, as regulated under normal conditions. Any questions regarding the snow ordinance or snow routes should be directed to the city snow desk at 515-239-5543.
- The Ames Police Department is located in the Ames City Hall at 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, Iowa 50010. Our non-emergency phone number is 515-239-5133. We are open 24 hours a day, everyday.
- You can contact the Iowa State University Police Department at 515-294-4428. They are open 24 hours-a-day, everyday.
- You can contact the Iowa State Patrol at 515-725-6090. They are open 24 hours-a-day, everyday.
- You can contact the Story County Sheriff's Department at 515-382-6566. They are open 24 hours-a-day, everyday.
Yes, in Ames, if during a social gathering or party, by reason of the conduct of those persons in attendance, it results in any one or more of the following at the site of the party or social gathering, or on neighboring public or private property, then the person(s) in charge of the party or social event can be charged with a nuisance party violation:
- public intoxication
- unlawful consumption of beer
- wine or alcoholic beverages in a public place
- outdoor urination or defecation in a public place
- unlawful sale, furnishing, dispensing or consumption of beer, wine or alcoholic beverages
- underage or unlawful possession of beer, wine, or alcoholic beverages
- unlawful deposit of litter or refuse; the damage or destruction of property without the consent of the property owner
- unlawful pedestrian or vehicular traffic; standing or parking of vehicles that obstructs the free flow of traffic on the public streets and sidewalks or that impedes the ability to render emergency services
- unlawfully loud noise; fighting; or, any other conduct or condition that threatens injury to persons or damage to property is hereby declared to be an unlawful public nuisance
- See Chapter 17.30 of the Ames Municipal Code
- You may call the City Attorney's office at 515-239-5146 for help in this matter. If you have a parking problem that needs immediate attention, contact the Police Department at 515-239-5133. Copies of the Municipal Code, Chapter 18, including parking regulations, are available at the Ames Public Library, at most City Hall offices, or see the Legal Department web page for the Chapter 18 of the Ames City Code.
- You may check out a copy of the Municipal Code at the Ames Public Library, look at a copy at most City Hall offices, or see the Legal Department's web page. The noise ordinance is described in Chapter 17 of the Code. Basically, the noise ordinance limits the amount of noise allowed from any particular source within the city. Motor vehicles as well as private residences are regulated for the protection and peace and quiet of your neighbors. Legal noise limits, measured in decibels, are set for various zoning designations and times of day.
- The Iowa Department of Transportation offers applications and testing for new and renewing driver's licenses at the IDOT office located at 3708 W. Lincoln Way, Ames, IA, 50014. The phone number is 515-296-2393. Normal hours of operation: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- There are several options for payment of city parking violations. Drop off boxes are located in several locations within the city. Those locations are listed on the ticket. You can also mail the fine with the ticket to the address shown on the ticket, but please don't send cash through the mail. You may pay the fine in person at the City Finance Department at City Hall, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, IA 50010. Finally, you may pay tickets on-line at www.amesparking.com. If you have further questions regarding payment, or have lost your copy of the ticket, please contact the Finance Department at 515-239-5283.
- Traffic tickets are handled through the Clerk of Court Office. If you simply want to pay the ticket, and an appearance is not required, then you can either mail or bring the appropriate copy of the ticket, plus the fine, to the Clerk of Court Office, 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, IA 50010. If the ticket was issued outside of the Ames area, there should be a corresponding address for the local Clerk of Court Office near the top of the citation. Send the ticket, plus the fine, to that address. The phone number for the Clerk of Court is 515-239-5140.
- Motor vehicles are licensed through the county. You need to go to the Story County Courthouse Treasurer's Department, Motor Vehicle Division. Please contact them at 515-382-7330 for further information.
- The Iowa Second Judicial District operates a courtroom in the Ames City Hall Building at 515 Clark Avenue, Ames, IA 50010, and also at the Story County Justice Center in Nevada, IA. Check with the Clerk of Court if you are unsure of where to appear. Each court handles specific types of cases. The courtroom and the Clerk of Court Office in Ames are located on the second floor of the City Hall Building. Call 515-239-5140 for more information.
- If you live within the city of Ames, call the City Line Department, day or night, weekends or holidays at 515-239-5240.
- The 24-hour customer service phone number for Alliant Energy is 800-255-4268 or to report an outages 877-740-5050. If you think you may have a gas leak in your home, leave the residence and make the call from a safe place.
Letting Date and Location: Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 at 2:00 PM, Room 235, City Hall, 515 Clark Avenue
Award Date: Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019
Engineer's Estimate: $281,530.60
Apparent Low Bidder: Manatt's Inc.
PROJECT CONTACT: Mark Gansen, City of Ames, 515-239-5291
Project: Traffic Signal Replacement and pedestrian ramp improvements
Update: (6-28-18) Underground utility work for the traffic signal has started. The above ground work will occur in the Fall of 2018
Engineer: Mark Gansen, City of Ames, 515-239-5291
Anything that is dumped in the storm sewers - from motor oil to garbage - flows directly into our streams and rivers. It is illegal to use the storm sewers as trash receptacles, and it harms the environment.
To report stormwater violations:
City of Ames Public Works Department (8AM - 5PM), 515-239-5160
City of Ames Water and Pollution Control (after hours), 515-239-5150
Anything that is dumped in the storm sewers - from motor oil to garbage - flows directly into our streams and rivers. It is illegal to use the storm sewers as trash receptacles, and it harms the environment.
To report stormwater violations:
City of Ames Public Works Department (8AM - 5PM), 515-239-5160
City of Ames Water and Pollution Control (after hours), 515-239-5150
Starting Date: Weather Permitting, beginning on May 24, 2018 (Notice of Construction)
Description of Work Activities: The City of Ames has contracted with Keller Excavating to do improvements in your area. This work will involve new concrete and asphalt street pavement, water main installation, electric infrastructure, and storm water improvements.
Anticipated Duration: The overall project duration is 70 working days or approximately four months. Construction in the immediate vicinity may not extend for this entire time.
Contractor: Keller Excavating
Project Manager: Darin Keller: 515-291-3060 or 515-230-9905
Project Inspector: Schott Shepherd: 515-203-0799
Project Engineer: Nate Willey: 515-239-5436
Project Updates: 9.21.18 Work crews plan to work on S. Wilmoth and other utility work this week. Crews anticipate S. Wilmoth opening sometime next week.
8.15.18 Work crews will begin work on storm water utility and grading for the pavement area.
Send an email to email@example.com stating that you or your company would like to be added to our bid list. Include a contact name, return phone number, and a brief company description in the email.
- Yes! Take it to the Resource Recovery Plant at 110 Center Avenue and pay for disposal there.
- Hauler Services. Most haulers will pick up furniture or appliances at your home for a fee if you call ahead and make arrangements. You may also haul these items to the Resource Recovery Plant (RRP). There is a fee for this service payable at the time of disposal. Call for fees.
- Some haulers pick up glass, cardboard, milk jugs and other traditionally recycled items as well as your weekly waste; check with your hauler and ask if they provide this service, and for their schedules and fees.
The site you were using to dispose of construction and demolition debris, the Ames-Story Environmental Landfill, is now closed. With this closure, our planning area is left with one designated landfill, the Boone County Landfill, to handle all Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste from Story County. Below is a list of items acceptable at the Resource Recovery Plant, as well as at the Boone County Landfill.
ACCEPTABLE AT RESOURCE RECOVERY PLANT (RRP)
110 Center Avenue, Ames, Iowa 50010
Paper Plastic Food or Beverage Containers Tires Furniture Paper Covered with Drywall Mud or Joint Compound Garbage Cardboard Empty Paint Containers
Appliances Car Batteries Empty Caulk Tubes
Food Waste Household Hazardous Materials (Call for Appointment)
In Iowa, state law requires that any waste generated within a planning area must be disposed of in accordance with the area’s Comprehensive Plan. For our planning area (Story County), this means materials accepted by the Resource Recovery Plant will not be accepted at the Boone County Landfill. C&D waste from within a planning area cannot be landfilled outside the planning area without violating state law.
The Resource Recovery Plant accepts cash, checks, and credit cards.
ACCEPTABLE AT BOONE COUNTY LANDFILL (BCLF)
1268 – 224th Lane, Boone, IA 50036
Monday - Friday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am – 11:00 am
- All loads MUST be tarped.
- Asbestos-containing materials – call BCLF for their acceptance policy.
- Mobile Homes – call BCLF for their acceptance policy.
- If your load contains other trash, it will be rejected until it is sorted appropriately
Wood Flooring Asphalt Shingles Wiring Concrete Paper Insulation Metal Drywall Fiberglass Insulation Brick Plaster Windows Siding Stone Glass
BCLF accepts cash or checks; they do not accept credit or debit cards. A charge account can be applied for if you will be conducting business with them on a regular and ongoing basis. Contact them for an application.
You will be required to declare the origination of all loads delivered to BCLF. Making a false waste origin declaration will result in Boone County pursuing all available legal options for redress.
In the event a load is rejected, it is the hauler’s responsibility to reload any material that has already been unloaded.
The BCLF will not accept non-processed demolition waste from projects that exceed 300 tons (estimated total building weight prior to demolition). These “large-scale” demolition projects must recover and divert (at a minimum) the following from landfill disposal: brick; concrete; recoverable metals; appliances; tires; PCB-containing light ballasts; fluorescent tubes; hazardous waste; and any other material(s) banned from landfill disposal. Contact the BCLF for “large-scale” waste acceptance policy.
Garbage disposal for commercial and residential customers.
Recycling bins at RRP for container glass (any color), no charge for drop off.
Recycling of auto and truck batteries at no charge.
Waste oil recycling, 5 gallons or less no charge, $.25 per gallon after 5 gallons.
Household Hazardous Materials disposal by appointment on Wednesday afternoons, at no charge.
Appliance disposal for $20 each. Appliance may include but is not limited to stove, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, water heater, humidifier, dehumidifier, washer, dryer.
Financial assistance for the operation of the Yard Waste Site, Chamness Technology at 26107 530th Avenue, Ames 50010, phone 515-450-0450, so commercial customers and private citizens may dispose of leaves, grass, and brush. We fund five free days at the Yard Waste Site: one in the Spring for leaves and brush and four in the Fall for leaves and grass.
- We don't have one in Story County. Well, we do, but it's been closed since 1992. Garbage goes to the Resource Recovery Plant, where it is processed into ferrous metal, refuse derived fuel (RDF), and rejects. Through an agreement with the Boone County Landfill, we take our rejected material to them. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to maintain our own separate landfill.
- In Ames and Story County there are only private garbage haulers. These haulers are able to pick up garbage anywhere in the city or county; there are no assigned territories. To find a carrier, check the yellow pages or ask a neighbor for a recommendation, or look at our Licensed Area Haulers page.
Water & Pollution Control
- For residential customers, both your water and your sewer bill is based on the water meter readings. If you believe your bill is lower than it should be, contact Utility Customer Service at 515-239-5120. If you believe your bill is higher than it should be, check these areas, then contact Utility Customer Service.
Most high consumption problems are caused by leaks in a toilet. The Water Plant has toilet leak test dye tablets free to customers. Or, you can simply place blue food coloring in the upper tank of your toilet. Then wait approximately five minutes and see if the blue color shows up in the bowl. If it does, you have a leaking valve that should be replaced.
Do you have faucets that drip? Even a slow drip can waste 450 gallons of water in a month and should be repaired.
Flow restrictors can be installed in shower heads to reduce water consumption. Also, low-flow shower heads are easily accessible at home improvement stores and online.
Keep your heat on and up
- 55º F is the absolute lowest you should go and only then if you have people in the house to keep the air moving. Otherwise, it is not recommended to keep your heat below 62º F, especially if no one is home.
Use Heat Tape
- Apply heat tape according to the manufacturer's instructions on pipes that are near exterior or uninsulated walls.
- Insulate pipes using either pipe insulation or jacketing. Used in conjunction with heat tape, you will lessen the chance of your pipes freezing.
- Foam pipe insulation is less costly than jacketing. A six foot piece can be purchased at home improvement stores for under $2.
- Other common items you can use for insulating your pipes: pool noodles (slit down one side), thick blankets, fiberglass insulation (wrapped in plastic), reflective tape.
Open Cupboard and Closet Doors
- Open cupboard doors below sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms. If your indoor meter is in your basement, open the utility room door to let the heat in. If you have a modern space heater, turn it on and aim it at the pipes.
Leave A Trickle of Water
- For anyone who has had ongoing issues with pipes freezing, a well-tested tip is to let the indoor faucets trickle water to keep the water running through the pipes. A slow drip or trickle may cost a little more in water usage and bills, but it will save you from thousands of dollars in damages if your pipes freeze and burst causing your basement to flood and water damage throughout the home.
Before You Leave Town
- Set your heat at 62º F before you leave for the winter, even if it is not very cold when you leave. Iowa is well-known for ever-changing weather.
- If you are going to be gone for an extended amount of time and want to turn your heat off, contact our Water Meter Division to shut your water off at the meter or curb. This service is $70 per trip, but is well worth it to keep pipes from freezing and bursting while you are away. Call Water Meter at 515-239-5151 from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday - Friday.
- If you are a long-time Ames Utility customer, call Utility Customer Service before you leave town. You can let them know you will be gone and give them updated emergency contact information in case there is a utility emergency at your home. Customer service can be reached at 515-239-5120 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday - Friday.
If you wake up and your water is not working, take these steps to troubleshoot:
Is it just your water that isn't working?
Call your neighbors or call the City Water Plant anytime to see if there is a water main break or water shut down in your area:
City Water Plant 515-239-5150
Did your water get shut off?
Make sure it isn't a billing issue by checking with customer service during business hours:
Utility Customer Service 515-239-5120
Is it all the faucets and taps in your home?
If not, you may need to call a plumber.
Do you hear rushing water anywhere in your home where it shouldn't be?
Call a plumber ASAP!
Is it cold outside?
If, after troubleshooting, you don't have an answer for your water not working in your home, you may have frozen pipes.
Once your pipes are frozen, you need to wait them out. You can use some of the preventative measures below (such as opening cupboards/cabinets and applying blankets, insulation, and heat tape) to expedite the process and help keep your pipes from bursting and causing major damage to your home and bank account.
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.
Anytime you are without water and don't know why, please contact the Water Plant (515-239-5150), Public Works (515-239-5550), or Customer Service (515-239-5120). Be ready to answer the following questions.
- When did you first experience this problem?
- Do you live in a mobile home? If so, the responsibility for problems within the park are the responsibility of the owner or manager. You will need to contact them directly.
- Do you live in an apartment? If so, you should contact the manager to learn if they are doing any plumbing work within the building.
- Are you aware if any of your neighbors have the same problem?
- Is it cold out? If so, you may have frozen pipes.
- The City is responsible for leaks in the distribution system. Customers are responsible for any problems beginning at the corporation stop (where your service line connects to the water main). If you suspect a water main is broken in the distribution system, contact the Water Plant at 515-239-5150. Please provide as exact of a location as possible. To report a leaking water meter inside your home, call the Water Meter Division at 515-239-5151. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to repair water leaks coming from the shutoff valve near the water meter.
Individuals who are experiencing a strong septic or sewer gas odor should air out their house by 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.
If you notice an unexplained septic odor, contact the Public Works Utility Maintenance Division at 515-239-5550, with the following information.
- When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?
- Is the problem with both the hot and cold water?
- Where is the odor most noticeable?
- Do you have floor drains in the area? If so, the drain traps could be dry. Try pouring a bucket of water down the drain to find out if the odor dissipates.
- Is your vent pipe frozen? The vent pipe normally carries any septic odors out of the house. If the pipe is frozen shut, the odors can be forced into the house. Also, insects and small birds can build nests inside vent pipes that ultimately restrict the opening.
- Have you installed a new water heater recently (within past year)?
- Has any plumbing work been done in the home recently?
- Do you have an in-home water filter system?
After hours, weekends, and holidays, you may call the Water Plant to report 515-239-5150.
Rusty water is safe to drink but is objectionable because it discolors laundry and affects the flavor of some beverages (such as tea and coffee). Usually, problems with rusty water are caused by some sort of disturbance in the distribution system. If you experience rusty water, try to avoid using any water, thus limiting the amount of rust you pull into your plumbing system. Postpone doing laundry until after the problem clears up. If you have already done laundry and it is stained, do not dry it. The Water Plant has available a product that may remove the stains. When you experience rusty water, you may call the Water Plant at 515-239-5150 or Public Works at 515-239-5550 if there is no known cause. Have the following information ready when you call.
- When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?
- Is the problem with both the hot and cold water?
- Are you aware if any of your neighbors are experiencing the same problem?
- Are you aware of any construction work occurring in your area?
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.
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.
Try to have the following information ready when you call.
- How long have you experienced this problem?
- Have you had any plumbing work done in the home recently? (If you have and the problem is isolated to a single faucet, check the aerator for debris.)
- Are you aware of any construction work in your area or neighborhood?
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.
- 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.
- 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.