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Water Works Plans $10M Capital Improvements Over Next Five Years News, Sports, Jobs

TR PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY From left to right, Marshalltown Water Works employees Connor Hunt (Operations Manager), Jeff Heinrichs, Ryan McFarland and Dillon Collins (all operators) and Ed Phillips (operator/maintenance). Not pictured are Jon Royt and Mark Gilaski. Water Works plans to make more than $10 million in capital improvements over the next five fiscal years.

Repairing Marshalltown’s aging water infrastructure and equipping it for the future won’t happen overnight, but Marshalltown Water Works (MWW) general manager Shelli Lovell and her board believe their planned $10,039,000 in capital improvements over the next five fiscal years should Putting it into practice is a long way off.

“I would say that Water Works is working hard on a very aggressive capital improvement program,” Lovell said. “I think it’s a relatively aggressive CIP.”

Although MWW is an independent agency, it does coordinate with the city on several projects including water infrastructure upgrades, particularly the upcoming Downtown Implementation Plan (DIP). The biggest problem is relatively easy to identify, but requires effort to correct: Most of the city’s main arteries are at least a century old.

“We can’t just make things look better at the top. There’s a lot that needs to be done below,” said Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinther.

Laura Eilers, chair of MWW’s board of directors, said she was pleased to see their plans agreed, reflecting the results of a report showing that at least $1 million per year is needed to keep the pipeline up to date.

“I think that kind of hits us all like ‘Oh, if we’re going to keep up with all this — aging infrastructure — we have to let those big projects happen.’ We can’t just wait and see what the city does, together Do these projects,” Eilers said. “We do need to be more proactive and look forward to replacing more equipment each construction season to remain reliable while we can serve Marshalltown.”

Under Lovell’s leadership, the coordination between New York City and MWW has improved significantly, Kinser said, and she’s excited to continue that relationship as the State Street overhaul — the first phase of a larger DIP — will be Start before the end of this year.

“When we do something, it often affects them, and we want to make sure that’s in their plans as well,” Kinser said. “We have a lot of big plans coming out and high hopes for them, so I would say there are a lot of plans and they’re pretty aggressive.”

Some of the immediate work residents can expect to see include major replacements on South Fifth and Sixth Avenues and South Street, which will cost about $620,000 in total, according to Lovell.

“These have probably been put on hold mainly because of staffing shortages, and now we’re pretty big. We hope to make significant progress on both fronts this year,” she said.

While a temporary interruption of service is never ideal, Lovell hopes that in the long run, residents will have fewer major breaks to deal with and that they have come to appreciate the same excellent water quality.

“People in Marshalltown really love the taste of the water. They love that it’s not hard water, so we want to keep these things as close to their current state as possible,” she said. “(We want it) so that people don’t have to worry about whether we’ll have water. When they turn on the tap, they can continue to count on it.”

In addition to the main line, the plan also budgets for upgrades to the water treatment plant on the northern edge of town.

“Some of our wells are so old that you actually lose production capacity. In 50 years, water isn’t going to travel through the surface as fast as it used to,” Lovell said. “Part of what we’re doing is looking at ‘Can we fix the wells we have or do we need to replace them?'”

The projects will be funded through a combination of savings funds, grants, and loans, with the following budgeted amounts for each fiscal year: $2,030,000 in FY 2023, $2,250,000 in FY 2024, $1,953,000 in FY 2025, and $1,953,000 in FY 2026 and $1,853,000 in fiscal 2026 and 2027. Lovell and Kinser believe these investments will fit Marshalltown’s growth plans while also providing the same reliable service it has in the past.

“Everyone needs water, so you don’t have to travel very far across the country to see where water is a problem. So having a secure supply is the number one priority, not only to be able to support the existing population, but to grow. You just need that resource to grow,” Kinser said. “We can’t build high-rise homes if we don’t have a reliable water supply and water system. It’s the foundation of Marshalltown and everything we have in the future.”

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Please contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or rmaharry@timesrepublican.com

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