Citizen Guide

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Water Service Outages

There are two types of water service interruptions, scheduled and emergency. Scheduled outages occur when the maintenance to be performed requires the water to be shut off. Emergency outages occur when there are water main breaks or system failure. In the case of a scheduled outage, affected customers are notified door to door the day prior to the scheduled outage. If there is no answer a Water Shutdown door hanger will be left on the front door detailing the scheduled outage. In the case of an emergency outage, affected customers are not typically notified, because the main must be shut down as quickly as possible to prevent property damage and further system failure

When the Water Comes Back On

There will likely be air in your water service piping causing cloudines and/or could be discolored due to particles that dislodge during the filling of the water pipes. The water is safe to use even if discolored. It is a good idea to flush your system through a faucet that does not have an aerator screen such as an outside water faucet or bath tub cold water faucet by allowing the water to flow until clear water returns. If the water has not cleared after several minutes, call the Utilities Division at 279-6164. If kitchen or bathroom faucets do not perform normally following a water outage, it is most likely due to debris in the aerator screen. Simply remove the aerator screen, they typically screw on and off, and clean it, then return it to the faucet and check for normal operation If you continue to experience water pressure issues throughout the house contact the Utilities Divison at 279-6164 for assistance.

Water Valve Maintenance

Underground Utility staff perform two types of maintenance on the valves located on the water mains. The valves are operated on a three year schedule to ensure they will be usable when the time comes to shut down a section of water main during either a scheduled or emergency outage. When these valves are operated customers may experience pressure fluctuations or even intermittent outages depending on the configuration of the valves. The type of maintenance involves excavating the valve to either perform repair of the valve parts or total valve replacement. During valve repair typically there is not an outage anticipated, however, situations change when dealing with buried infrastructure and could result in the situation becoming an emergency requiring an emergency outage. During total valve replacement a scheduled outage will be done.

Hydrant Maintenance

Hydrant maintenance encompasses hydrant flushing during both the Spring and Fall by Underground Utility staff as well as Sioux City Fire and Rescue staff during the warm months of the year. We do not have staff dedicated to hydrant painting, however, if we get a request to paint a hydrant we will put it on our list and accomplish as time permits. If a citizen is interested in helping us to take care of our hydrants they can do so by participating in the Adopt-A-Hydrant program.

Leak Detection

We have a person dedicated to scanning our distribution system looking for water leaks. We do this in order to preserve the precious resource of water as well as prevent damage to property and other infrastructure. This person uses computerized listening equipment to pinpoint leaks whether on the distribution system piping or on a private service line. When leaks are found on the distribution system piping we will either perform a scheduled outage or an emergency outage depending on the severity of the leak. If the leak is found on the private service line the property owner/occupant will be notified via a Leak In Your Service Line door hanger and given instructions on how and when repairs are to be accomplished. The property owner is responsible for all maintenance of the water service line from the foundation of the house to where it connects to the public water main.

Water Main Breaks

Water main breaks occur for a variety of reasons, the most common of these are age of the piping and shifting of the ground due to the freeze thaw cycles experienced during the Winter and Spring. Citizens are critical in helping the Utilities Division to identify these breaks early so we can fix the problem and restore water service to our customers. If you see any of the following conditions please call the Underground Utilities Division as soon as possible.

  • Water leaking around a metal cap in the ground and has "Water" stamped on the top
  • Water leaking out of a fire hydrant nozzle cap
  • Water seeping up out of the ground around a fire hydrant
  • Water seeping up either out of the ground or pavement area within the city Right-of-Way
  • Water pouring out of a building at or near the foundation

Curb Stop

In the event that you need to shut off your water to perform maintenance in your home it is best to utilize the valves located at the water meter. In the event that valve does not work or that is the point of your maintenance you can shut off your water by closing the curb valve located in the parking in front of your house. You can call the Utilities Division at 279-6164 and we will provide you with the measurements we have on file for its location. In some cases the stop box has been buried and will require a shovel to remove dirt off the top to access it. You will also need a curb key in order to reach the buried valve. Those are no longer available for rental in our office. If you do not have one you can contact the Customer Service Division at 279-6132 and schedule for someone to come shut the curb valve off for you for a fee. Do Not Use Iowa One Call for this purpose.

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