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Frequently Asked Questions

A valve is located inside the house near the water meter that will shut off the water.
Yes. All flowers and plants require different care. Please talk with your florist to learn about the watering needs of your particular flowers and plants. After repeated cycles of watering, salts and minerals may begin to accumulate. If your florist agrees, we recommend that you annually flush the soil of these accumulated salts and minerals. Setting your flowers and plants out in a warm, gentle, soaking rain works well and washes off dust from the leaves.
The Jefferson Water Department softens the water, but the bypass process does leave some of the "hard" minerals in the water. These minerals will combine with soap and can leave a "scum" ring if not rinsed or wiped off after use of the tub or shower. If this ring is not removed, the minerals may accumulate to form a hard scale that is difficult to remove.
 
Yes. Our drinking water is safe for cats, dogs, birds, and many other pets. With fish, however, special attention must be given before you add water to your aquarium because fish are very sensitive to chlorine. Jefferson uses chlorine for disinfection. At times customers who have added water to their fish tanks or changed water in their tanks have lost fish. Chlorine neutralizers are available at pet stores. Please be sure to add the neutralizers to protect your fish.
Rusty Water - Rusty water is safe to drink, but is objectionable because it discolors laundry and affects the flavor of some beverages (such as tea and coffee). Usually, problems with rusty water are caused by a disturbance in the distribution system. If you experience rusty water, try to avoid using any water in order to limit the amount of rust you pull inside your plumbing system. Postpone doing laundry until after the problem clears up. If you have already done laundry and it is stained, do not dry it. The water plant has a product available that may remove the stains. When you experience rusty water, please contact the water plant at 386-2611. Have the following information ready when you call:

1. When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?

2. Is the problem with both the hot and cold water?

3. Are you aware if any of your neighbors are experiencing the same problem?

4. Are you aware of any construction work occurring in your area?

5. Has the fire department or street sweeper been using a hydrant in your area?

6. Has the city been flushing hydrants in your area?

Taste or Odor Problems - It is often difficult to isolate the cause of taste or odor problems. If you experience objectionable tastes or odors, please contact the water plant at 386-2611. The water plant laboratory may want to come and collect a sample. Have the following information ready when you call:

1. When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?

2. Is the problem with both the hot and cold water?

3. Have you installed a new water heater recently (within past year)?

Low Pressure - Water pressure varies within the city, but averages about 60 pounds per square inch (psi). If you notice lower than normal pressure, please contact the water plant at 386-2611. Have the following information ready when you call:

1. How long have you experienced this problem?

2. Have you had any plumbing work done lately? (If you have, and the problem is isolated to a single faucet, check the aerator for debris).

3. Are you aware of any construction work in your area?

No Water - The most common reason for being without water is a water main break. However, anytime you are without water and don't know why, please contact the water plant at 515-386-2611. Have the following information ready when you call:

1. When did you first experience this problem?

2. Do you live in a mobile home? If so, problems within the park are the responsibility of the owner or manager. You will need to contact them directly.

3. Do you live in an apartment? If so, you should contact the manager to see if they are doing any plumbing work within the building.

4. Are you aware if any of your neighbors have the same problem?

5. Are you sure you are current on your water bill payment? You may have been shut off after proper notification.

Water Leak - The city is responsible for leaks in the water distribution system. Customers are responsible for any problems beginning at the curb stop (valve where your pipes connect to the main) and ending at the meter. If you suspect a water main is broken, contact the water plant at 386-2611. Please provide the exact location if possible.

Unusually high or low water or sewer bill - water and sewer charges are based on water usage. If you believe your bill is lower than it should be, contact City Hall at 386-3111. If you believe your bill is higher than it should be, check the following and then contact City Hall.

1. Do you have a leaky valve on a toilet? The majority of high consumption issues are caused by leaks in a toilet. You can simply place 2-3 drops of blue or green food coloring in the upper tank of your toilet. Wait 2-3 hours and see if the color shows up in the bowl. If it does, you have a leaking valve that should be replaced. Also, sometimes the handle sticks and keeps the flapper open. This can use a lot of water very quickly.

2. Do you have faucets that drip? Even a slow drip can waste 450 gallons of water in a month.
Before anyone digs, they are required to call Iowa One-Call at 800-292-8989 for utility locations. Flags and paint markings are placed to identify underground piping and cables. If these markings are present in your yard or right-of-way, it is an indication that someone is planning to dig. It does not necessarily mean the City is going to dig. The locates could have been requested by the cable, gas, electric, or telephone companies.
If a hard scale has formed, use a mild acidic cleaner such as vinegar or other commercial cleaners to help remove the scale. Hot showers produce a significant amount of humidity, creating an environment suitable for algae, molds, and bacteria to thrive and grow. Chlorine normally present in the water to prevent such growth has been driven out by the temperature of the hot water. All these organisms are more likely to occur in cool basement showers where water vapor condenses on the walls and the room does not dry out sufficiently. These growths are not harmful, just visually unpleasant. You can reduce or prevent the growth of these colorful organisms by better ventilating the bathroom to remove the moisture. As a short-term solution, use a diluted bleach solution to kill and remove the organisms. Use appropriate caution when applying the solution, such as proper ventilation and vinyl gloves.
A lawn meter is a second meter installed at your home that only meters the water being used from your outside faucet. A plumber will need to prepare your service for this meter. You need to request lawn meter services through City Hall at 515-386-3111.

If you water your lawn, flowers or vegetable garden, wash your car or your pet frequently, it is suggested that you have a lawn meter. Only water usage is billed because it is not hooked up to the sewer line, thus resulting in a savings to the customer.
The round iron plate is the lid to the "curb box". It is a valve, or curb stop, for turning the water off outside. It is located underground and accessed through the curb box. Turning off the curb stop requires the assistance of the water department since a special wrench is needed.
If a meter is ruined due to the customer's negligence, such as allowing it to freeze causing the meter to break, then you will be charged for the cost of a replacement meter.
Early in the morning is generally the coolest and least windy time of day. You will have less water evaporation, which is better for your grass. You want the soil to be well watered but allow the grass to dry out so that lawn-damaging molds do not develop. Watering in the evenings or during the night may create conditions favorable for growing molds that attack and damage your lawn. Please use caution when applying fertilizer and pesticides to the lawn with a garden hose applicator. Using backflow prevention methods such as an air gap between the hose and container will prevent back siphoning of contaminated water into your home plumbing when you turn off the water. Make sure the applicator is disconnected from the hose when not in use to prevent chemicals from back flowing into the water.
The water meter is commonly located in the same area as your furnace or water heater.
Fire hydrants are painted different colors to alert firefighters of the water capacity of that particular hydrant. Hydrants are strategically located throughout the city based on fire protection needs.

To help firefighters better serve the community, please remember a few fire hydrant safety rules:
1. Never park in front of a hydrant
2. Call your local water department to report a damaged hydrant or anyone tampering with a hydrant.
Taste is not a good indicator of whether the water is safe. Taste in water can come from substances either naturally found in or added to the water, such as minerals, chlorine, and various organic substances. Some substances impart a strong taste while others do not. Taste in water is a complex issue involving many factors: individual preferences, taste sensitivity, time of year, water source(s), water temperature, and location of the distribution system, amount of chlorine used, medications, water usage, home plumbing, and many other factors.

Your water is tested daily to assure all customers the treatment system is working well and your water is safe for consumption. The softening process, which, uses brine for regeneration adds a small amount of salty taste to the water. Chlorine is added to kill many bacteria. It may give the water a chlorine odor. Water that has been in the pipes for a long time may get "stale", especially in the summer or for people living on dead ends. Most of these areas have been identified and the Water Department regularly flushes these mains to keep water fresh.
 

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Contact Information
City Administrator
Michael Palmer
City Hall
220 N. Chestnut
Jefferson, Iowa 50129
Phone: 515/386-3111
Fax: 515/386-4671
michaelpcjeff@netins.net

Hours
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.