Water Supply and Towers

The following information is taken from page 59 of Ireton, A Proud History, 1882-1982:

Ireton’s first attempts to establish a general water supply were not overly successful; the first “town well” was located in “Kluter’s Slough” just north of Ireton. It did not produce an adequate water supply and a second well was then dug near the stockyards on railroad property. After hitting water at about 50 feet, work was started on the construction of a reservoir. Once again the well failed to produce and finally, a “well man” from Struble, Henry Heeren was called upon.

He suggested that the town drill a deep well at the top of the hill, thereby alleviating any problem of pumping water up the hill. The location picked was the site of the present water tower; the drilling produced results and a large wooden tank was constructed and placed on a substantial steel tower. A windmill was added to pump water from the well into the tank.

Records indicate that Ireton had 3/4 mile of water mains by 1905 and water cost users 25c per 1000 gallons at that time. Jno Carter, who later ran the local light plant, was employed by the town in 1909 to do the pump­ing and collect water receipts. A “5-mill” waterworks tax was levied by the council in 1910 to fund the water system.

A new well was included in a $3,000 water project in Ireton in 1912-13. In 1919, the council entered into a contract with the Des Moines Bridge and Iron Co. for a new 35,000 gallon steel water tank atop the city’s tower. Final cost of the new tank was $3,660.00.

In 1935, a “water emergency” necessitated the construction of a new well; the Gus Pech Foundry Co. of Le Mars did the work at a cost of nearly $2,700.00. A special election in 1936 gave the city council the’ ‘go-ahead” for a $5,500.00 expansion and reconstruction project of the water system. An additional $5,000. was spent on improvements in 1939.  A new well was dug in 1946 in what is now the city park; in 1955 the city had a $13,000.00 filtration plant constructed at the park. Currently, the city has two good wells in the park; both are approximately 540 feet deep.

Nearly twenty years after that information was written, Ireton needed improvements to its water supply, water treatment facilities and water tower.  The city council was faced with the choice of making short-term improvements at a cost of approximately $250,000 or more; replacing the city’s wells, water treatment plant and water tower at a cost of approximately $1.5 million or contracting for the purchase of water from Southern Sioux Rural Water System with Ireton’s portion of the project cost at $743,000.

The community was awarded a $235,000 block grant toward its cost of connecting with Southern Sioux (including a pro-rated portion of Southern Sioux’s cost and the cost of installing mains to connect the town’s water supply to Southern Sioux), and for demolition of the old water tower.  The remainder of the cost is being paid through a loan from Southern Sioux to the City to be paid over the course of the 40 year water purchase agreement.  A new water tower was constructed by Southern Sioux at the south end of Ireton’s Main Street.  Total project cost was nearly $1 million dollars.  Ireton began using water from the Southern Sioux rural water system on June 13, 2005.  The old tower was demolished by ABC Crane of Rockwell City on August 1, 2005.