Water | City of Iowa City (2022)

The City of Iowa City Water Division

Iowa City has been producing and distributing potable water since 1882 and serves customers in Iowa City, University Heights, and the surrounding area. The municipal water treatment facility is located at 80 Stephen Atkins Drive.

For general inquiries or meter appointments, please call 319-356-5160.
For water emergencies, please call 319-356-5166.
For billing-related questions, please call 319-356-5066 or visit the Revenue Division.
  • Water treatment and quality

  • Water service lines

  • Water meters

  • Contaminant information

    • Lead

    • PFAS

    • Manganese

  • Contractor and engineering resources

Water Treatment and Quality

The Iowa City Water Treatment plant uses several unit processes to produce Iowa City’s drinking water. The unit processes together are known as our “treatment train”. In order, the processes are – source water is pumped from the alluvial aquifer (Iowa River through the sandy riverbed) to an aeration tank, then clarification and softening, recarbonation, filtration through granular activated carbon, and disinfection. The treated water is then distributed to customers via the network of pipes, pumps, and tanks known as the water distribution system.

Deep wells in the Silurian or Jordan aquifer are used for nitrate dilution and the Iowa River is used directly when the alluvial aquifer production is poor. The water softening process is lime-softening and removes most water hardness. Some customers chose to use in-home water softeners for zero hardness water.

Watch avideoabout the water plant's purification process.

Water quality reports are provided annually to the public via the Consumer Confidence Report. For customers needing information for a specific parameter not covered in the Consumer Confidence Report, contact us at 319-356-5160.

Water Service Lines

A water service line is the pipe connecting a customer to the public water main. The entirety of the water service line is owned by and the responsibility of the customer.

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View thewater service line diagramto see common parts that make up a water service line and what they are called.

When a problem occurs on a service line, the Water Division, if requested, may provide the property owner with guidance in determining the cause of the problem and an appropriate course of action to remedy the situation. The customer will need to contract with a plumber or excavator to make the repairs

Water service line leaks are expected to be repaired within 72 hours of notification.

An important part of the water service line is the service stop box. These are the circular metal caps most customers have in their front yard. A stop box is a metal tube extending down to a curb stop or water shut-off valve on the service line (diagram). These allow the water utility to shut off water to the building as needed. Maintaining access to stop boxes is the responsibility of the customer.

Iowa City Water Division personnel operate stop boxes to turn the water on or to turn the water off when:

  • A customer needs to complete internal plumbing repairs
  • A service leak becomes hazardous
  • A customer fails to pay their utility bill

A stop box must be repaired when:

  • The stop is too high or too low; the top should be level with the ground
  • The stop box is located under concrete or asphalt and is not accessible
  • The curb stop valve does not operate
  • The housing becomes bent and a key cannot be lowered onto the valve to operate
  • The rod is loose and does not connect to the curb stop valve

Water meters

The water meter is owned by the City. It is usually located in the basement or utility room. Property owners are responsible for protecting their meter from freezing temperatures and providing access to the meter and meter reading system.

If you have a high-water bill and do not know why, call the Water Division at 319-356-5160 for assistance. In many cases, high water usage is caused by a leaking faucet, malfunctioning water softener, furnace humidifier, ice maker, or leaking toilet. If the property owner cannot find the cause, a representative can come to your home and assist you.

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Metered water is used to calculate water and sanitary sewer fees. Some customers with swimming pools or large lawns / gardens traditionally use a higher volume of water in the summer. The water used for some seasonal activities does not enter the sewer system. Therefore, a customer may be interested an additional meter for water only known as a single-purpose meter or irrigation meter to avoid sewerage charges.

If large amounts of water are used to water lawns or gardens on an annual basis, the installation of a permanent single purpose meter may be requested. Customers who wish to install a permanent single-purpose water meter are responsible for all expenses associated with its installation.

Customers who need extra water for a short period of time may prefer a portable water meter kit. The kit records the amount of water used and the sewer charges are then deducted from the next month’s utility bill.

To rent a portable kit, stop by the Iowa City Water Treatment Facility at 80 Stephen Atkins Drive between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Kits may be rented April 1 through October 1, weather and availability permitting. Payment may be made by check or exact cash amount and is due at the time ofapplication. Units not returned by the rental deadline, or damaged, will result in charges for the cost of replacing or repairing the meter.

Contaminant Information

Drinking water is regulated by Federal, State, and Local laws and policies.

Emerging contaminants without regulation and known health hazards do occur and health advisories are provided. Currently there are health advisories for cyanotoxins, manganese, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

A non-profit known as the Environmental Working Group also provides good resources for public education on water quality and emerging contaminants.

Lead contamination of drinking water

Lead is a common metal found throughout the lived environment in lead-based paint, air, soil, household dust, food, certain types of pottery, porcelain, pewter, plumbing fixtures, and water. Lead builds up in the body over years and can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys.

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Lead enters drinking water primarily from corrosion of materials containing lead. Materials containing lead may be found in a customer’s service line or plumbing. These include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome-plated brass faucets, and lead pipes.

Water Operations staff measure and calculate water stability factors daily. These factors are maintained to ensure the system has stable, non-corrosive water to reduce the risk of lead exposure from household plumbing and leaded service line materials

The Iowa City Water Division has compiled aFAQ sheetof actions that can be taken to minimize lead exposure through drinking water, as well as other general facts.

To view the Water Division’s best knowledge on if your property has a lead or lead containing private service line, please visit:

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

In November 2021, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) sampled Iowa City's drinking water as part of the State's PFAS action plan. PFAS refers to the family of chemicals known as Per- andPolyfluoroalkyl Substances.

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a health advisory level associated with two PFAS -Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) andPerfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) - at a combined concentration of 70 ppt (parts per trillion). The results of Iowa City's PFAS samples found no detectable PFOA or PFOS.

The analysis tested for 25 other PFAS chemicals. One,Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), was detectable in Iowa City drinking water at 3 ppt. To imagine one part-per-trillion, picture enough salt to stick to the tip of your pinky finger dissolved in an Olympic swimming pool.

"Our results are very low and not unexpected," said Jonathan Durst, Water Superintendent. "The City will continue to work with the Iowa DNR to monitor PFAS and conduct additional on-site testing. We are committed to providing the highest quality drinking water to our community."

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The entire Iowa DNR report on Iowa City's drinking water can be foundonline.

Original press release 12/28/2021

Manganese

The U.S. EPA life-time exposure health advisory level for Manganese in drinking water is 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L). The City self-monitors for Manganese in drinking water. Routine sampling results are less than or equal to 0.02 mg/L, well under the health advisory level.

Contractor and Engineering Resources

Fees

City of Iowa City Water Division Schedule of Fees, Deposits, and Charges.

Standards and specifications

Work completed on any part of the Iowa City water distribution system must meet minimum standards as set out in the most current versions of City of Iowa City Code, Interim Iowa City Municipal Design Standards, city approved specifications, and Water Division policy and procedures. Only materials approved by the Iowa City Water Division may be used in the Iowa City water distribution system, including all attached private water services.

Forms and applications

(Video) Living in Iowa City

The Water Division is working towards providing all external Water Division related forms and applications online for easy access by its customers. If there are any questions about what form is needed or how to fill out a form, contact the Water Division at 319-356-5160.

FAQs

Where does Iowa City get its water? ›

The Iowa City water treatment plant draws water from various raw water sources. These sources include a deep Jordan well (approximately 1,600 feet deep), deep Silurian wells (approximately 400 feet deep), shallow alluvial wells (approximately 40 feet deep), the Iowa River, and a manmade lake.

Who provides water in Iowa City? ›

Start or Stop Service. The City of Iowa City provides residents with water and sewer services, as well as curbside garbage, yard/food waste and recycling for residents living in housing of four units or fewer.

What is Iowa City known for? ›

Iowa City is known as many things—home of the Hawkeyes, the site of Iowa's first capital—but we're also known for being one of the greatest small cities for the arts. The performing arts thrive at local classics like FilmScene, the historic Englert Theatre, Hancher Auditorium, and the downtown music scene.

How much does water cost in Iowa City? ›

Water (effective 7/1/2022)

1-inch meter is $10.54. 1 1/2-inch meter is $21.01. 2-inch meter is $28.26. 3-inch meter is $52.23.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Iowa City? ›

For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2021 - March 2021), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Is Iowa City water good? ›

The 2020 report indicates that Iowa City drinking water far surpasses all federal and state drinking water quality standards. Iowa City's water supply is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

How much is the average water bill in Iowa? ›

Water Prices by State 2022
StateAvg. Total UtilitiesWater
Iowa$299$32
Texas$298$37
South Dakota$291$26
Mississippi$287$23
46 more rows

How much do utilities cost in Iowa City? ›

Utilities (Monthly)

Both owning and renting come with utility expenses. These costs include basic services such as energy and telecommunications. In Iowa City, energy bills cost around $134.68 per month.

Why do I have to have a water meter? ›

Having a meter will make you more aware about how much water you use. You may be able to save money on your bill if you use less water. Using water wisely can also help reduce your gas or electricity bills because heating water uses a lot of energy. You only have to make small changes to start saving water.

Is Iowa City a nice place to live? ›

Iowa City's curious communities consistently earn national accolades for quality of life, including one of Livability's Best Cities for Entrepreneurs and Top 100 Best Places to Live, alongside one of The Today Show's Best Places to Retire.

What is unique about Iowa City? ›

Iowa City holds the unique title as a UNESCO City of Literature. This prestigious designation is much in thanks to the internationally recognized Iowa Writers' Workshop on campus.

What is living in Iowa City like? ›

Iowa City is a town in Iowa with a population of 75,849. Iowa City is in Johnson County and is one of the best places to live in Iowa. Living in Iowa City offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes. In Iowa City there are a lot of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.

Is Iowa cheap to live? ›

The cost of living in Iowa is 10% lower than the national average. Housing is 24% lower than the national average, while utilities are 4% lower. When it comes to basic necessities such as food and clothing, groceries are around 4% lower than in the rest of the country, while clothing costs 4% lower.

Is Iowa a cheap place to retire? ›

In Iowa, average retirement spending stands at an estimated $961,471 - the 17th lowest among states. Goods and services in the state are 9.0% less expensive than they are, on average, nationwide, and life expectancy at age 65 is 19.3 years to 84.3, compared to 19.5 years to 84.5 across the country as a whole.

Is Iowa an expensive state to live in? ›

Living in Iowa is less expensive than it is on average across the U.S. as a whole. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, goods and services in the state cost 10.8% less than they do on average nationwide. Compared with all other states, Iowa has the 11th lowest overall cost of living.

Is Iowa City water hard or soft? ›

Iowa water is considered hard to very hard. The average water hardness for the Iowa resident Is 100-300 PPM.
...
Water Hardness Summary.
City and Zip CodesWater Hardness Data
Iowa City 52240 | 52242 | 52245 | 52246305 PPM (mg/L) or 18 gpg
7 more rows

Is Des Moines tap water safe? ›

Drinking water supplied by Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) meets or surpasses the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Iowa water quality standards. The water supplied by DMWW is safe from the time it leaves the treatment facility, through the plumbing system and out of your tap.

Can you drink Cedar Rapids tap water? ›

CEDAR RAPIDS - The city of Cedar Rapids' drinking water has been deemed the best-tasting drinking water in Iowa.

Is Des Moines water hard or soft? ›

As water passes over and through it, calcium and magnesium are dissolved, making the water hard. The hardness of West Des Moines tap water averages 154 milligrams per liter (9 grains per gallon) which is in the middle of the scale used by the EPA to define hardness and softness.

Does Cedar Rapids have hard water? ›

Cedar Rapids water is considered moderately hard with values of 6-8 grains per gallon or 100-400 mg/L Total Hardness as Calcium Carbonate.

Does Ames have hard water? ›

The next key is keeping a low chlorine taste as it is added to the water to disinfect and kill germs through a process called chloramination, which Hammes said Ames does well. Ames also has moderately hard water, Hammes said, meaning a higher mineral count.

How is the water bill calculated? ›

We measure your water usage by reading your meter – we try to do so roughly every six months. If we haven't been able to take a reading, we'll use an estimate, based on your previous water usage. If you'd like to take your own reading and submit it, we'll cancel the estimate and send you a new bill.

What's the average water bill in Texas? ›

A total of 593 cities reported that they provide water service to their residents. The average cost of water usage of 5,000 gallons in all cities is $41.23, a decrease of . 12% over the 2020 average of $41.28. The average monthly residential consumption in all cities is 5,898 gallons.

What are utilities in an apartment? ›

Utilities are the basic services your home, apartment, or business needs to keep it comfortable and functioning properly. Common utilities include water, sewer, electric, gas, trash, and recycling. Technology subscriptions like cable TV, internet, security, and phone service can also be considered utilities.

Is Iowa City affordable? ›

The Iowa City cost of living index (cost of necessities) is 94.6%. It is 5.4% less than the national average living index. Housing costs are 3.2% less, and the average utility cost is 6.1% less than the national average.

What is the average cost of living in Iowa City? ›

Iowa City cost of living is 94.6
COST OF LIVINGIowa CityIowa
Grocery99.794.4
Health115.5121.5
Housing96.861.1
Median Home Cost$229,600$161,700
4 more rows

Where is the cheapest cost of living in the United States? ›

Mississippi. Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the United States. With a cost of living index of 83.3, expenses are nearly 17% less than the national average. Mississippi's housing costs are the lowest in the nation.

Can I refuse water meter? ›

No, but you may wish to let them know. The compulsory programme is a legal requirement, so we don't need a homeowner/landlord's permission to fit the meter.

How can I reduce my water bill? ›

Reduce the amount of water you use
  1. Have a quick shower rather than a bath. ...
  2. Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth. ...
  3. Wash up rather than putting things in the dishwasher. ...
  4. Leave the garden alone. ...
  5. Put a big plastic bottle filled with water in your cistern to save the amount of water that is used.

What are the disadvantages of having a water meter? ›

Reasons not to switch to a water meter
  • High volume water usage. Obviously if you do use a lot of water then it makes no sense to switch. ...
  • You wouldn't be paying for leaks. ...
  • Fixed fees mean no surprises. ...
  • You can't change your mind in the long term. ...
  • It could affect future sale of the property.

Why doesn't Iowa City have a water tower? ›

The reason Iowa City, with 74,000 residents, doesn't have a water tower goes back to the early 1970s when the city was upgrading an outdated water treatment system, Brinton said.

Does Iowa City have hard water? ›

Iowa water is considered hard to very hard. The average water hardness for the Iowa resident Is 100-300 PPM. Des Moines, the most populous city in Iowa has a water hardness level of 157 PPM.
...
Water Hardness Summary.
City and Zip CodesWater Hardness Data
Iowa City 52240 | 52242 | 52245 | 52246305 PPM (mg/L) or 18 gpg
7 more rows

Is Iowa City a good place to live? ›

Iowa City's curious communities consistently earn national accolades for quality of life, including one of Livability's Best Cities for Entrepreneurs and Top 100 Best Places to Live, alongside one of The Today Show's Best Places to Retire.

Is Iowa City urban or rural? ›

Iowa City is a town in Iowa with a population of 75,849. Iowa City is in Johnson County and is one of the best places to live in Iowa. Living in Iowa City offers residents an urban suburban mix feel and most residents rent their homes.

How many gallons of water does a water tower hold? ›

An average water tower is usually about 165 feet (50 meters) tall, and its tank can hold about a million gallons of water or more.

What is the purpose of a water tower in a city? ›

The primary function of water towers is to pressurize water for distribution. Elevating the water high above the pipes that distribute it throughout the surrounding building or community ensures that hydrostatic pressure, driven by gravity, forces the water down and through the system.

Are water towers obsolete? ›

In fact, not much at all has changed about water tanks in over 100 years. Many new buildings are now built with more powerful basement pumps that negate the need for hydrostatic pressure, but roughly 17,000 are still used in older New York City buildings today.

What is considered hard water? ›

Measures of water hardness

General guidelines for classification of waters are: 0 to 60 mg/L (milligrams per liter) as calcium carbonate is classified as soft; 61 to 120 mg/L as moderately hard; 121 to 180 mg/L as hard; and more than 180 mg/L as very hard.

Is Des Moines water hard or soft? ›

As water passes over and through it, calcium and magnesium are dissolved, making the water hard. The hardness of West Des Moines tap water averages 154 milligrams per liter (9 grains per gallon) which is in the middle of the scale used by the EPA to define hardness and softness.

How hard is Detroit water? ›

Detroit Metro area has moderately hard water, at 104 PPM. Grand Rapids, located in the lower peninsula has hard water according to USGS standards at 380 PPM.

How much snow does Iowa City get? ›

Iowa City averages 27 inches of snow per year.

The US average is 28 inches of snow per year.

What is the safest town in Iowa? ›

Polk City (Population 5,013)

Polk City ranks number one safest in Iowa and also comes in second for cities with less than 10,000 residents but more than 3,000 people. It has a low violent crime score impressive by most standards: Only a rating of . 20 per 1,000 people affected here.

How much does it cost to live in Iowa City? ›

Iowa City cost of living is 87.2
COST OF LIVINGIowa CityIowa
Grocery99.794.4
Health104108.2
Housing78.755.4
Median Home Cost$229,600$161,700
4 more rows

What percent of Iowa City is black? ›

Iowa City Demographics

Black or African American: 8.62% Asian: 7.35% Two or more races: 3.48% Other race: 2.26%

What is unique about Iowa City? ›

Iowa City holds the unique title as a UNESCO City of Literature. This prestigious designation is much in thanks to the internationally recognized Iowa Writers' Workshop on campus.

What is the fastest growing county in Iowa? ›

Since 2010, Dallas County has been the fastest-growing county in Iowa, growing an amazing 35.11% with the population now standing at 90,180 in 2019. Behind Dallas County in growth are Johnson County (15.17%), Polk County (12.68%), and Warren County (10.17%).

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