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Water Department

Setting up Service

Setting up your water service and making payments in person is handled at Nevada City Hall, 1209 Sixth St., by the City Clerk’s administrative staff. Read more about the process and payment options here: Water/Sewer Billing Info (PDF).

Please call Nevada City Hall, 515-382-5466, if you have questions.

Nevada Water Department

When you drink a glass of water from your faucet, the City of Nevada’s Water Department was responsible for treating this water. Two water operators and a water superintendent in the City’s Water Department maintain necessary infrastructure to supply water to the residents of our community.

Water services provided by the City are essential for maintaining the quality of life our residents expect.

The City of Nevada gets its water from an alluvial aquifer near Interstate 35. The water is pumped about eight miles before reaching the treatment plant, which is located along Lincoln Highway on the west side of Nevada. Once the water reaches the treatment plant it flows through a forced draft aeration unit, where iron in the water is oxidized. The water then flows into the bottom of Claricones — large cone-shaped units that act as a softener. Lime is also introduced at the bottom of the cones in a slurry form to remove the minerals that cause calcium hardness from the raw water.

After the water has been treated it enters the ground storage tank where the chlorine has time to disinfect it. The water travels from the ground storage tank into the clear well. The treated water is then pumped into the distribution system and two elevated storage towers through one of two high service pumps. Once the water is in the elevated tanks the water is fed into your home by the head pressure created by the water being in the towers.

In an effort to ensure your drinking water is safe, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribes regulations that limit the number of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.  The Consumer Confidence Report summarizes information regarding water sources used, any detected contaminants, compliance and educational information.

Read more about our complete water processes here: Water Plant Overview (PDF).

Water Service Questions

Contact the Utility Billing Department located at City Hall for these services. You can call them at 515-382-5466.

No. Only residents of the City of Nevada can connect to the water system.

The meter is usually located at the point where the water pipe comes through the foundation. Usually, it’s either in the basement or utility room. Some commercial properties have water meters in underground vaults.

There is no cost to you for meter maintenance.  Even if a meter should malfunction, there is no charge for a service worker to come out to repair or replace the meter. If the meter has been damaged by you then there are fees that can be assessed.

: In your home near where your meter is located there should be some form of a valve to turn off your water inside your home.  If this valve is damaged or not functional you will have to contact the city to shut your water off at the curb stop.  The curb stop is discussed further down this page.

Contact the Water Department at 515-382-2074.  If it is after 4 p.m. call the Story County Sheriff’s Office at 515-382-6566.

Common Water Problems and What to do about THem

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 a disturbance in the distribution system. If you experience rusty water, try to avoid using any water in order to limit the amount of rust you pull inside 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 a product available that may remove the stains. When you experience rusty water, please contact the water plant at 382-2074. Be prepared to answer the following questions when you call:

When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?

Is the problem with both 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?

Has the fire department or street sweeper been using a hydrant in your area?

Has the city been flushing hydrants in your area?

– It is often difficult to isolate the cause of taste or odor problems. If you experience objectionable tastes or odors, please contact the water plant at 382-2074. The water plant laboratory may want to come and collect a sample.  Be prepared to answer the following questions when you call:

When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?

Is the problem with both hot and cold water?

Have you installed a new water heater recently (within past year)?

Water pressure varies within the city, but averages about 45 pounds per square inch (psi).  If you notice lower than normal pressure, please contact the water plant at 515-382-2074.  Be prepared to answer the following questions when you call:

How long have you experienced this problem?

Have you had any plumbing work done lately? (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?

– The most common reason for being without water is a water main break. However, anytime you are without water and don’t know why, please contact the water plant at 515-382-2074.  Be prepared to answer the following questions when you call:

When did you first experience this problem?

Do you live in a mobile home? If so, 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 see if they are doing any plumbing work within the building.

Are you aware if any of your neighbors have the same problem?

Are you sure you are current on your water bill payment? You may have been shut off after proper notification.

The City is responsible for leaks in the water distribution system. Customers are responsible for any problems beginning at the corporation valve stop (valve where your pipes connect to the main) and ending at the meter. If you suspect a water main is broken, contact the water plant at 515-382-2074. Please provide the exact location if possible.

Water and sewer charges are based on water usage. If you believe your bill is lower than it should be, contact City Hall at 515-382-5466. If you believe your bill is higher than it should be, check the following and then contact City Hall.

Do you have a leaky valve on a toilet? The majority of high consumption issues are caused by leaks in a toilet.  You can simply place 2-3 drops of blue or green food coloring in the upper tank of your toilet. Wait 2-3 hours and see if the color shows up in the bowl. If it does, you have a leaking valve that should be replaced. Also, sometimes the handle sticks and keeps the flapper open. This can use a lot of water very quickly.

Do you have faucets that drip? Even a slow drip can waste 450 gallons of water in a month.

Questions About Water Quality

Our water has a hardness of 140 ppm or 8.19 grains. This means that the water is Soft and does not require a water softener. So, it is personal preference.

Yes. The water contains a minimum 0.3 ppm free chlorine to make sure it is disinfected. This amount is mandated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Yes. The City of Nevada has fluoridated the water, which, provides for healthier teeth in children. The maximum level allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency is 4.0 ppm, we currently run around 0.7 ppm.

We currently reduce the iron from 5.50 ppm to less than 0.02 ppm on a daily basis. The only time red water should be a problem is during hydrant flushing or a main break.

Every day our lab checks numerous samples to make sure we are producing high-quality water. If you would like your water tested you may contact the University of Iowa Hygenic Lab at 515-725-1600.


The City of Nevada uses approximately 850,000 to 900,000 gallons of water every day. This may seem like a lot of water, but the underground aquifers that we draw water from vary very little from year-to-year. But this does not mean people should not conserve!

The City of Nevada Water Department has two steel tanks and one large in-ground reservoir. The total storage capacity is 1.5 million gallons, 500,000 gallons per water tower. These tanks and reservoirs provide water for pressure as well as fire protection.

The water plant uses a process called lime softening to treat the water. The lime used in the process raises the pH of the water. When the lime has been exhausted, it is stored in the ponds behind the building. The water has a high pH which causes it to have the very bright blue color.

Taste is not a good indicator of whether water is safe. Taste in water can come from substances either naturally found in or added to the water, such as minerals, chlorine, and various organic substances. Some substances impart a strong taste while others do not. Taste in water is a complex issue involving many factors — individual preferences, taste sensitivity, time of year, water source(s), water temperature, and location of the distribution system, amount of chlorine used, medications, water usage, home plumbing, etc.

Your water is tested daily to assure all customers the treatment system is working well and your water is safe for consumption. The softening process, which uses brine for regeneration, adds a small amount of salty taste to the water. Chlorine is added to kill many bacteria. It may give the water a chlorine odor. Water that has been in the pipes for a long time may get “stale,” especially in the summer or for people living on dead-ends. Most of these areas have been identified, and the Water Department regularly flushes these mains to keep water fresh.

If a hard scale has formed, use a mild acidic cleaner such as vinegar or other commercial cleaners to help removal the scale. Hot showers produce a significant amount of humidity, creating an environment suitable for algae, molds, and bacteria to thrive and grow. Chlorine, normally present in the water to prevent such growth, has been driven out by the temperature of the hot water. All these organisms are more likely to occur in cool basement showers where water vapor condenses on the walls and the room does not dry out sufficiently. These growths are not harmful, just visually unpleasant. You can reduce or prevent the growth of these colorful organisms by better ventilating the bathroom to remove the moisture. As a short-term fix, use a diluted bleach solution to kill and remove the organisms. Use appropriate caution when applying the solution, such as proper ventilation and vinyl gloves.

City of Nevada Water Department softens the water by lime softening. This process does not remove all of the hardness so there will be minerals in the water. These minerals will combine with soap and can leave a “scum” ring if not rinsed or wiped off after use of the tub or shower.

Questions about water and nature

Early morning (5 to 9 a.m.) is the best time to water the lawn. A morning application allows the water to soak deeply into the soil with little water lost to evaporation. When watering is completed, the turf grass foliage dries quickly. Watering at midday is less efficient because evaporation is rapid and strong winds may cause uneven water distribution. Strong midday winds may also carry water onto driveways, patios, or streets, wasting considerable amounts of water. Watering in the evenings or during the night may create conditions favorable for growing molds that attack and damage your lawn.

Please use caution when applying fertilizer and pesticides to the lawn with a garden hose applicator. Using backflow prevention methods such as an air gap between the hose and container will prevent back siphoning of contaminated water into your home plumbing when you turn off the water. Make sure the applicator is disconnected from the hose when not in use to prevent chemicals from back flowing into the water.

Tap water causes no problem for most potted plants including most flowers. However, all plants are different and some may be sensitive to a pH above 8.0 or salts and minerals that begin to accumulate with repeated cycles of watering. This situation is more likely to occur in small containers that do not drain. Talk to a florist about any specific watering needs for your special flowers.

Questions about the water workzone

Iowa’s One Call law (Iowa Code Ch. 480) has been in effect since 1993. This law requires anyone doing any type of digging to contact Iowa One Call. When this call is made all underground utilities in the area will be notified. The utilities will use paint and flags to notify the digger where the buried underground utility is located.  The number to call is 1-800-292-8989 or 811.

The round metal thing is called the curb box and it is used to turn the water service on and off to a property. It is usually located in the public right-of-way. City of Nevada requires that the curb stop be operable at all times. The property owner owns the curb box and is responsible for its maintenance.

Water Hydrant Questions

Fire hydrant caps are painted different colors to allow firefighters to quickly identify the flow rate of any fire hydrant. Knowing the flow rate of a fire hydrant tells them how much water it can provide for firefighting operations. 

Normally in the spring and fall, we flush water lines through the use of fire hydrants, which is an important preventive maintenance activity. Although it may appear to waste water when water runs down the street, the process is part of a routine maintenance program necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system and allow us to continue to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers. This also is an important effort toward ensuring hydrant effectiveness for fire control purposes. If you have any questions, please contact the Water Department at 515-382-2074.

construction taking place at city of nevada water plant

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