December 08, 2022

SIRWA breaks ground for water treatment plant

After years of discussion and planning, Southern Iowa Rural Water Association took the first step in its water treatment plant by ceremonially placing the shovels in the dirt Wednesday, Oct. 20 at the site about six mile east of Creston on U.S. Highway 34.

“It’s already to go,” said SIRWA General Manager Dan McIntosh.

Work on the project could start as early as this fall. McIntosh hopes people will see the progress soon.

“I’m hoping they will notice next week,” he said. “They have to take a hill side off.”

Depending upon weather conditions, McIntosh is optimistic walls can be constructed to have interior work during the winter months.

The total project is scheduled to be completed by December 2023.

SIRWA serves potable water to more than 11,000 customers and serves as the water supply for an additional seven communities that own their own water distribution systems throughout Southwest Iowa. Approximately 85% of SIRWA’s current water capacity is purchased from the city of Creston Water Works. After months of discussion and fact finding, the SIRWA board made the decision it should build its own water treatment plant and related infrastructure.

The board first made a motion to explore building its own treatment plant in February 2018. The board hired HDR Engineering to design the water treatment plant and Garden and Associates, LTD., to engineer the related 20 and 24-inch water main along with the 1 million-gallon elevated water storage tower. Thousands of hours of planning and meetings happened between February 2018 and the bid date of Aug. 12.

Hawkins Construction, Omaha, Nebraska, was low bidder for division 1, which is the water treatment plant at $46,157,000. Shane Poe Construction, Downing, Missouri, was the low bidder for division 2, the pipeline and associated appurtenances, for a total of $8,108,835. Low bidder for division 3, the water tower, was Maguire Iron, Inc, Sioux Fall, South Dakota, for $2,855,000. The total construction cost for the treatment plant and related infrastructure upgrades comes in at $57,120,835.

With engineering, legal services, inspection, land purchases, contingencies, etc. the total funding package is $65,585,000. SIRWA is borrowing the funds from United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development (USDA-RD) at 1.3/8% interest over a 40-year loan term.

The new treatment plant will have a capacity to treat water at 6 million gallons per day. SIRWA has built additional capacity into the piping inside the plant so it can be expanded by an additional 2 million gallons a day for an 8 million gallon plant, if needed in the future.

Updates will be posted on SIRWA’s website,

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.