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Frequently Asked Questions

Where does IRUA's water come from?

IRUA contracts with the Newton, Marshalltown, and Pella Waterworks for its water supply. In addtition, IRUA operates a 3 million gallon per day reverse osmosis water treatment plant near Waverly. IRUA has twice been awarded the prestigious "Best Tasting Water in Iowa" recognition for its water from the water treatment plant. All sources provide a treated, softened supply.

What is the quality of the water?

IRUA provides water that is treated and softened, meeting or exceeding all state and federal requirements for safe drinking water.  Water is softened to between six and eight grains of hardness. Note: Water softened below six grains per gallon becomes unstable and corrosive on copper or iron pipes in the home. That is why water systems soften to this level. Water quality analysis will be provided upon request and is provided annually through distribution of Iowa Regional Utilities Association's Consumer Confidence Report. You can find a copy of our current report on the reports tab.

Will I need a water softener?

Water provided by IRUA is softened to between six to eight grains of hardness. Most member-customers do not use a water softener once rural water from IRUA is installed. Note: Water softened below six grains per gallon becomes unstable and corrosive on copper or iron pipes in the home. That is why water systems soften to this level.

What is the average water cost per month for a family of four?

While individual usage will vary, the national average is approximately 1,500 - 1,800 gallons per person per month. This water consumption is based on normal usage for household cooking, cleaning, and bathing. A family of four can receive rural water service for approximately $2.00 per day.

What is the monthly minimum charge? Why am I required to pay a monthly minimum?

The monthly minimum charge is a rate charged for zero usage. A monthly minimum charge is due for each water meter which exists within an area considered "in service". The monthly minimum charge for non usage is used to defray operational and maintenance costs associated with having service available at your residence.  Our lenders also require a monthly minimum to ensure that monthly debt service payments are made and all member-customers share the fixed costs of the IRUA system.

I got an automated call from a number saying it was from IRUA. Is this legitimate?

Yes! IRUA has begun sending automated phone calls to our customers for several reasons. It may come from a 1-800 number, or from our 641-792-7011 office number. The calls are regarding service alerts, past due payments, disconnection notices, potential leak alerts, or high usage alerts. Please listen to the entire message. Call the Newton or Grundy Center locations for more details regarding the status of your account if you have questions about the information provided.

If I leave for the winter, or if I move and the house is vacant, must I still make a payment to IRUA?

We would be happy to assist with winter-proofing your home as you go south for the winter. A trusted IRUA service tech will visit your property and turn the water service off at the meter pit at your requested date, and then back on again when or before you return. This service requires a 48-hour notice to be completed within requested timeframe and a $35.00 service fee will apply. Please contact our office directly by phone to schedule. 

NOTE: Minimum service charges will still apply, even with no usage due to temporary vacancy.

How often is there a rate increase?

IRUA has maintained a history of stable water rates. Rate increases occur only when necessary to cover operating costs and at the concurrence of our financial lenders.

Are rates determined by the Association?

Due to fixed USDA/Rural Development loan costs, IRUA has maintained a history of very stable water rates.  The Board of Directors approves rate increases only when necessary to cover operating costs at the concurrence by our financial lenders, USDA-Rural Development, and CoBank.

Who reads the meter?

In most areas, IRUA staff will read the meters around the 15th of each month and statements are mailed around the 25th of each month. In a few instances, the member-customers read the water meter each month. The bill is due on the 1st of the following month, payable by the 10th.  After the 10th, late fees will apply.

If I have a rental home, who collects payment?

It is the member's responsibility to see that all charges due to IRUA are paid in full. Only property owners can be members of IRUA. At the member's request, IRUA will accept payment from a renter, however, the member is responsible for any unpaid bills left by a renter.

When does billing start?

After water and/or wastewater is available, member-customers will be notified of their initial billing date. The appropriate monthly payments will be due thereafter even if no water/wastewater has been used.

Why should I sign-up for rural water service?

Rural water service will provide your property with a safe, dependable supply of softened water now and in the future. When making a decision about installing rural water at your property, consider the costs associated with operating your existing water supply. You may also want to consider the quality of your water and how environmental factors may be impacting your supply now and in the future. Rural water is a personal decision, but more than 35,000 people in central and northeast Iowa agree rural water positively impacts their lives.

What is the connection (hook-up) fee?

Existing Service Areas

The connection fee for water and/or wastewater service in areas where the initial project has been completed and mains are in service will be determined in the following manner:

  • Short-side installations - distribution main/collection line located on same side of road as property*
  • Long-side installations - distribution main/collection line located across road from the property - will be priced based on the road surface type*
  • Line extensions - requires extension of distribution main/collection line, will require that the property owner pay the cost of extending the service to access the property*
  • New owner of existing account - purchased property currently served by IRUA
  • New renter/tenant of existing account - moved into property currently served by IRUA

*Prices are subject to location and capacity of existing main and refused easement penalty on previously installed line extensions.

Persons requesting service in an existing service area will be required to pay the current connection fee and complete the necessary membership paperwork at the time of application. Once payment for the connection is received, the application is placed on the construction schedule for installation of service.

Please contact Iowa Regional Utilities Association at 800-400-6066 for the current connection fees.

Unserved Areas

Persons requesting service in IRUA project areas, where mains have not yet been installed, should contact the office for the current connection fee.

What additional costs will a member-customer incur?

The homeowner is responsible, at their own expense, for installation and maintenance of the service line from the water meter pit or curb stop for water and from the grinder pit or curb stop for wastewater to the final connection point as well as any other connections, including an air gap between the rural water and any private water source. Typically, if the house is within 100 feet from the water main, a 1" diameter service line should suffice. A greater distance may require a larger diameter service line.  New project area policies may vary.

How do I sign-up for rural water and/or wastewater service?

To request service, please call 1-800-400-6066. Interested parties will need to complete the necessary application forms and submit them with payment of the connection fee. All applicants will also be required to grant IRUA a permanent easement through their property for the purpose of installing mains or collection lines.

Can more than one home be served from a single connection?

No. Our lender, USDA/Rural Development, and the Iowa DNR, have firm rules and regulations regarding member-customer connections. Each residence must be served by an individual water meter.

Will flow rates be adequate for fire protection?

Rural water systems typically are not designed for fire protection due to the cost of constructing loops and sizing water mains to provide fire flow. However, IRUA provides rural fire departments within our service area information regarding locations where a supply of water may be available through a soft hose fill station in the event of a fire.

Is service ever disrupted?

Due to circumstances beyond our control, there may be periods when member-customers may experience low pressure or no water during main repair. IRUA has back-up systems in place to keep as many member-customers as possible in service during those circumstances. IRUA utilizes the SwiftReach Swift911 notification system, along with member-customers mailings, if necessary, to notify all affected member-customers in the event of a leak and prior to any maintenance work. Please note that it is important to keep your account information up-to-date in the event that we need to contact you. The average maintenance work or repair requires approximately 3-4 hours. Required flushing of the IRUA system following repair or maintenance work may cause temporary cloudiness (air) in the water.

Who maintains the water/wastewater lines?

IRUA owns and maintains the water mains, the water meter pits, and the metering equipment. The member-customer owns and maintains all lines on the member-customer's side of the water meter pit. However, it is the member-customer's responsibility to take reasonable care of the water distribution system equipment located on the member-customer's property, as any necessary repairs (except normal wear and tear) will be at the member-customer's expense.

IRUA owns and maintains the wastewater collection lines and wastewater grinder pit. The member-customer owns and maintains all lines from the grinder pit or curb stop to the final connection point as well as the grinder pump. Member-customers may contact any company of their choice to repair/replace the grinder unit. IRUA can also repair/replace the grinder unit at the member-customer's expense. Please note: IRUA technicians can only perform service calls on units purchased through IRUA.

How much water pressure can I expect?

Pressure will be affected by the elevation of the property and dwelling. Most member-customers can expect pressures from 30 PSI to 70 PSI.

As a member-customer, what deadlines must I meet?

If you desire rural water and/or wastewater service, it is in your best interest to sign the necessary application forms and pay the connection fee at your earliest convenience. Waiting lists vary depending on weather and applications are completed in the order received (except in the event of a water emergency).

  • Short-side installations - typical waiting list runs between 3-6 weeks from the time we receive the completed application and connection fee
  • Long-side installations - typical waiting list runs between 3-6 weeks from the time we receive completed application and connection fee (timeline may vary if a permit is needed to cross road)
  • Line extension - typical waiting list runs between 10-15 weeks, depending on easements and permits needed
What is your easement policy?

IRUA strives to locate water and/or wastewater mains where construction and maintenance will be most efficient. Private property easements provide the best means for construction of rural water or wastewater mains. A member-customer must, as a condition of membership, grant the necessary easements to construct the water and/or wastewater facilities.

Where are the water/wastewater mains installed?

IRUA typically installs water and wastewater mains on private property in an effort to minimize future costs of moving mains that are placed in the right-of-way and may become disturbed by other utilities, ditch cleaning and road relocation projects. This has proven to be a significant cost saving measure for the Association and its membership.

 Where will the meter pit/grinder pit be installed?

IRUA sets meter pits approximately 10 feet inside the property line. Once an application for service has been received, and prior to installation, an IRUA technician will meet with the property owner to determine placement of the meter pit and/or grinder pit.

For more information on rural water or wastewater service, contact Iowa Regional Water Association at 1-800-400-6066.