Fort Madison Breaks Ground for new Water Plant

Fort Madison, IA – City leaders say Fort Madison's new water plant will do more than improve water quality. They say it will help encourage economic development.

The new 5-million gallon/day water treatment plant is being built along Highway 61 between Fort Madison and Montrose. Mayor Steve Ireland says the new water plant increases Fort Madison's appeal to potential businesses and industries. "We will have the water, we have the four-lane U.S. Highway 61, we have gas and electric services, and are in close proximity to the river and barge terminals," says Ireland, "so it will be very beneficial to economic development."

Fort Madison's current water plant is on the city's east side. It is prone to flooding.

Water Superintendent Larry Dinwiddie says some additional water main work must be done within city limits to make sure the pressure remains level. He says that will push the cost of the overall project to between $20-million and $22-million.

Dinwiddie says that takes into account the fact that bids for the equipment, the actual plant, and the wells all came in under original estimates. The city has secured state and federal funding for the project and has set aside revenue from water rates.

The plant is expected to be completed in 12 months.

Dinwiddie says Fort Madison will be able to meet the end-of-the-year deadline to provide water to the Lee County Jail. He says the city will do so by connecting the jail to the existing distribution system.

Dinwiddie says bids on the water main construction could be accepted in a matter of weeks. The plant will be expandable to 8-million gallons/day.