Frequently Asked Questions
What hours is it open?
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
What kind/size of planes can land there?
Small business jets and piston-sized aircrafts 12,500 pounds or less.
Where is the municipal airport?
From Highway 4 (Elm Street), take Lincolnway east out-of-town to 1579 235th Street. The concrete runway is 3200 feet and the turf runway is 1700 feet. DTN weather and a courtesy car are available.
How long does an animal stay at the holding facility before it gets adopted?
Once an animal has been entered into the holding facility. The owner has a period of (3) days to reclaim their pet before their rights to ownership cease. After the (3) day period the animal may be adopted to another party by the local PAWS organization or it may be destroyed by euthanasia.
What happens if my pet gets loose and is running at large?
The first step is to call the Police Department to see if they have picked up the animal. If not, advise the dispatcher that the animal is running loose and who can be contacted if it is found. If an officer sees this occurring, or if a complaint is called in, the animal will be picked up and taken to the city animal holding facility. If the owner wishes to reclaim the pet they will have to show proof of current vaccinations and purchase a current city pet license. There will be a minimum $25 holding fee plus any criminal charges that may be filed by the officer for city ordinance violations. Or, the animal can be left at the facility and the local People for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) organization will attempt to adopt it out.
When is the deadline to license my pet? How much does it cost and where do I go?
You will need to provide proof of current vaccinations, proof of your pet being spayed or neutered, and a completed animal license form. The forms may be found at City Hall, Jefferson Public Library, the Greene County Community Center, Jefferson Veterinary Clinic, Animal Holding Facility at the Jefferson Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Law Enforcement Center.
The fee schedule is:
One to four pets:
$5.00 per year for spayed / neutered pets
$10.00 per year for non-spayed / non-neutered pets
More than four pets:
$20.00 per year for each additional pet over (4) total, spayed / neutered.
$40.00 per year for each additional pet over (4) total, non-spayed / non-neutered.
It is also a violation of city code for your pet to be without a current license. A pet without a current license will result in the owner being charged with a simple misdemeanor.
Where do I go to adopt a cat or dog?
The City does not adopt animals out. Any adoption of animals is conducted through the local PAWS organization. 515-386-9814.
Where is the animal holding facility?
From Highway 4 (Elm Street), take Russell Street west past Chautauqua Park to 605 W. Russell. The animal holding facility is southeast (on the same property as the Wastewater Treatment Plant).
Where do I call if I have an animal complaint?
If you have an animal complaint, call the Police Department at 515-386-2136. The officer will need to speak with you so he can collect pertinent information needed to remedy the issue.
When do I need a building permit?
If you have any questions about whether a project you are considering needs a permit and inspections, please call the Building Inspector at 515-386-4660.
When is the best time to have the building inspector do a site visit?
The building inspector may be reached Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 515-386-4660.
How do I request a City Council agenda or a copy of the minutes?
The Council agenda can be e-mailed to you by calling (515) 386-3111 or can be mailed if you do not have access to e-mail. The paper agenda is available at the Library Reference Desk, Greene County Community Center bulletin board, and City Hall the Friday prior to the meeting. City Council minutes are available within two weeks after a meeting and can be obtained by calling the same number.
Additional, agendas and minutes can be found at these links on our website:
How do I request an item be placed on the City Council agenda?
It is preferable to submit a written request, petition, objection or correspondence addressed to the Mayor and City Council Members, c/o City Administrator, City Hall, 220 N. Chestnut, Jefferson, IA 50129. Correspondence should contain your name, address, and phone number. Material must be submitted by noon the Wednesday prior to the Tuesday night City Council meeting.
When and where does the City Council meet?
The City Council meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chamber, 220 N. Chestnut Street.
Who is my council ward representative and how can I contact him or her?
Two at-large council members and the at-large mayor represent all citizens. In addition there are two ward council members. Identification of your particular ward can be determined by calling the Voter Registration Office at the Greene County Courthouse(515/386-5680) or the City Clerk's Office (515/386-3111). Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the mayor and council members can be provided by City Hall.
Do you offer fire extinguisher training?
You may contact Fire Chief Randy Love at (515) 386-3112.
Do you offer tours of the fire stations?
You may contact Fire Chief Randy Love at (515) 386-3112.
How can I become a Jefferson Firefighter?
You may contact Fire Chief Randy Love at (515) 386-3112.
How can I schedule a fire truck or firefighter at my function?
You may contact Fire Chief Randy Love at (515) 386-3112.
What is the burning policy in the City of Jefferson?
Burning of garbage is prohibited. Yard waste and brush are allowed to be burned during daylight hours and fires must be attended. You are not allowed to burn on city streets or alleys. If the county has declared a burning ban, all burning shall cease. Be aware of wind conditions and be considerate of neighbors.
When an emergency vehicle is approaching displaying emergency lights and sirens, what should I do?
By Iowa law, you shall pull to the right and stop. This allows fire apparatus adequate and clear lanes to safely and quickly continue its response.
Who do I call about a fire extinguisher that doesn't work?
You may contact Fire Chief Randy Love at (515) 386-3112.
Who do I call to recharge my fire extinguisher?
You may contact Chris Lansman in Grand Junction. His number is 515-738-2669. Chris is the only person in the area that provides this service.
Why do fire trucks respond to motor vehicle accidents?
There are two reasons. First, automobile accidents present other hazards such as potential fire, ruptured fuel tanks, and/or the presence of hazardous materials. Second, firefighters are trained and have the equipment to in extricate (remove) trapped occupants from the vehicle.
Why do firefighters respond to medical calls?
Jefferson Firefighters are also first responders. They carry medical equipment in the trucks and arrive to assist the paramedics. When they first arrive they are able to begin a patient history, take vitals and assess to transferring the care of the patient quickly to the paramedics.
Why do I see fire trucks with full lights and sirens go through a red light or stop signs at intersections and then, after they go through, they turn off their lights and slow down?
As explained in the previous answer, sometimes several units are dispatched to the same incident. The first arriving unit can assess the situation and call off the unneeded units. They are, then, put back in service and ready for other calls.
Why do so many fire apparatus respond to simple incidents?
Fire Department units are dispatched according to information received by the 9-1-1 operator. A structure fire requires a number of people to do all the assigned tasks. Firefighting teams are assigned certain responsibilities such as fire suppression, search and rescue, ventilation, salvage, safety, accountability, and rapid intervention teams when firefighters become trapped or injured. The Jefferson Fire Department would rather be overcautious when they respond to citizens in need of help. They are always prepared to deal with the worst that could happen. Discovering that more units are needed once they arrive is often too late. The Department has learned it is better to have too much help than not enough.
How can I learn how to properly use the equipment in the fitness area?
The community center has a full-time wellness coordinator and also nightly staff that can walk you through proper use of the equipment. Members may also call and set up an appointment for a free weight room orientation that will include demonstrations of proper use of the equipment.
How do I use the digital sound system for the televisions so I can watch TV while I work out?
To be able to listen to the televisions while you work out you need to bring a digital headset and tune your dial to the station number indicated under the television you wish to watch. Your digital radio will pick up the frequency and you will be able to hear the program.
How many laps around the walking track make a mile?
17 laps around the inside lane, 16 laps in the middle lane, and 15 laps around the outside lane make 1 mile.
How old does a member need to be to use the fitness equipment or the walking track?
Members age 14 and over may use the fitness equipment. Members age 10 and over may use the walking track; however with parental supervision younger members may use the walking track.
Is there an additional cost to attend the aerobics classes?
Yes, classes can either be purchased by the session or by punch pass. A session fee covers one class for a 6-8 week session. The punch pass can be purchased with 10 or 20 punches and is good for any of the classes offered at the Community Center. Each class attended equals one punch. Members get a reduced rate on session fees and punch passes.
Can you tell me the conditions of the roads in Central Iowa?
The Iowa State Patrol offers a road report hotline at 1-800-288-1047, or dial 511 on your cell phone, or www.iowaroadconditions.com. This is updated as often as possible during periods of bad weather.
Does my bicycle need to be licensed with the City? If so, where do I go to get a license?
The City of Jefferson does license bicycles; it is not mandatory, but highly suggested. In the event your bicycle is found, the registration number can be entered into the computer to ascertain the name of the owner. The Law Enforcement Center will, then, contact you. The fee for the license is $3. The licenses may be purchased at the LEC at 204 S. Chestnut, Jefferson. REMINDER: All bicycles need to observe the ?Rules of the Roads? such as stopping at all stop signs and yielding to vehicles on the right.
Does the City of Jefferson have a severe weather warning system?
Yes. The emergency outdoor warning system is activated whenever the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning for Jefferson and when there are actual sightings by law enforcement personnel or other reliable sources. Four automated sirens are tested at 11 a.m. on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month.
How can I obtain a copy of an accident or offense report?
The Jefferson Police Dept. will provide copies of those reports for a nominal fee. The office is open 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.
I need to be fingerprinted for a job application, professional needs, or other personal reason. Will the Jefferson Police Department do this?
Yes, please come to the Greene County Law Enforcement Center public entrance and tell the attendant what you need. Hours for general public fingerprinting are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. ? 5 p.m. There is a small charge for this service and you will need to bring all of the fingerprint cards with you.
What is the City Snow Ordinance and when does it go into effect?
A "Snow Emergency" means any accumulation of snow in the amount of one-half inch, or any amount in excess thereof. City ordinance prohibits any person from parking, abandoning, or leaving unattended any vehicle on any public street, alley, or city-owned off-street parking area during a snow emergency unless the snow has been removed or plowed from such street, alley, or parking area, and the snow has ceased to fall. A snow emergency parking ban shall continue from its inception through the duration of the snowstorm and the forty-eight hour time period after cessation of the storm (except when the streets have been fully opened.) The City ordinance will be strictly enforced. Please help us by removing vehicles from the City parking areas whenever the ordinance applies.
What is the location of the Jefferson Police Department?
The Jefferson Police Dept. is located at the Greene County Law Enforcement Center (LEC), 204 S. Chestnut St., Jefferson, IA 50129. Our non-emergency phone number is (515) 386-2136. We are open 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week
What is the phone number for the Greene County Sheriff's office?
You can contact the Greene County Sheriff?s Office at 515/386-2136. They are open 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.
Where are the Magistrate and District Courtrooms?
The Magistrate's courtroom is located on the first floor of the Greene County Courthouse. The Iowa Fifth Judicial District courtroom is located on the third floor of the Greene County Courthouse. Check with the Clerk of Court for dates and times of specific courts in session. The Clerk of Court is located on the second floor of the Greene County Courthouse. The phone number is 515-386-2516.
Where can I obtain an Iowa Driver's License?
The Iowa Department of Transportation offers applications and testing for new and renewing driver?s licenses at the Greene County Treasurer?s Office located on the second floor of the Greene County Court House at 114 N. Chestnut Street, Jefferson. The phone number is 515/386-5675.
Where can I pay a traffic ticket?
Traffic tickets are handled through the Clerk of Court Office. If you want to pay the ticket, and an appearance is not required, you can either mail or bring the appropriate copy of the ticket, plus the fine, to the Clerk of Court Office, Greene County Courthouse, 114 N. Chestnut St., Jefferson, IA.
Can I borrow a book from another library on inter-library loan?
Yes. When the library does not own a book that you would like to read, just contact us with the title and author. The library belongs to a national computer network that allows us to borrow items for you from other public libraries across the country. There is a $2.00 charge per book to help defray postage costs. Approximately 1,000 items are borrowed each year with this service.
Can I renew my books over the phone?
Yes. Books, movies and magazines may be renewed one time by calling the children's or adult department. You may also renew your items on the library's website:
Can I rent a computer game?
No. Games can only be played in the library. You may call ahead to reserve a time on the library’s gaming systems.
Do you have story time for children?
Yes. Ready Readers Story Time is held on Wednesday mornings from 10 - 11 a.m. for 3-6 year-olds. Please use north entry door. Children will enjoy crafts, stories, and related activities. There is no cost. Call the Children’s Department at 515-386-4415 for session dates and times.
Does the library have a Friends group?
Yes! Friends of the Library group were formed in 1993. They are very active. Their purpose is twofold; to serve as the Library's ambassadors to the community and conduct Library fundraisers. Two annual fundraisers are held: a membership drive, and a used book sale in the library basement, both held in October. Each dollar raised goes back to the Library to help purchase items or support programs over and above the Library's annual operating budget. Annual memberships are available starting at $2.00. If you are interested in becoming a Friend of the Library, want to learn more about their activities, or want to know the date of the annual used book sale, please visit the library website at www.jeffersonpubliclibrary.org.
Does the library have FREE wi-fi and internet-access computers for public use?
Yes. The library has several computers available for public use in both the adult and children’s departments. Time limit is one hour per day and computers may be reserved by calling the library at 515-386-2835. They can be checked out with a library card that does not have a fine of more than $1.00. If you don't have a library card, you must present a current photo i.d.
How can I leave a memorial for a loved one?
The Jefferson Public Library accepts monetary gifts for the purchase of items to add to our collection in memory of a loved one. Call or stop in and specify the amount of your gift. We will send a card to the family and then choose an appropriate book and inscribe the person's name. Each time that book is checked out; a memory of your loved one is recalled. This is a nice way you can help the library and leave a long-lasting remembrance of that special person.
How do I get a library card?
Present current photo identification to apply for a card. Seventh grade through adults are eligible for a card in the adult department and are required to present their card each time they want to check out an item. Three year olds through sixth grade are eligible for a card which will be kept on file in the Children’s Department.
May I have books delivered to me at home?
If you are physically unable to come to the library and live within the city limits of Jefferson, please call the director who will match you up with a volunteer who can deliver items to your home on a regularly scheduled basis.
What are the library hours?
SEPTEMBER - MAY:
Monday & Wednesday: 1-8 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Friday: 1-5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
JUNE - AUGUST:
Monday & Wednesday: 1-8 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday: 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Friday: 1-5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
What is the Creative Learning Center?
This hands-on center is intended to help children experience new and unique concepts, encourage imagination, and develop reading skills. Sensory boards, magnetic mazes, shape puzzles, just to name a few, are designed to spark your child's interest in different subject areas. Items are rotated throughout the year, so children will be able to experience new items on a regular basis.
When is the genealogy room open?
The public library's genealogy collection is available during the library's open hours. The Greene County Genealogical Society's reference room in the library basement is staffed by volunteers on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. The public library collection includes microfilm of the Jefferson newspapers back to 1866, indexes to all cemeteries in Greene County, and other indexes including birth, death and marriage records, and newspaper obituaries.
Can I haul garbage myself?
If you are a water customer with the city, you are charged a garbage fee on your monthly water bill, so it is not necessary to haul the garbage to the landfill site yourself.
Does the city of Jefferson have a mosquito program?
Yes. Our mosquito program starts June 1 and ends Sept. 30. Mosquito briquettes are placed in confined standing water in Jefferson and also the perimeter of the city. The rest of the city is sprayed once or twice a week, depending on the amount of moisture and mosquito population.
Does the Sanitation Dept. rent large roll off dumpsters?
No. The Sanitation Dept. only has 1 or 2 yard dumpsters for temporary use (2 months maximum).
How can I get rid of furniture and appliances?
They may be disposed of on your weekly garbage days. One truck will pickup the garbage while another flatbed truck will be sent to your address for the furniture or appliances.
How do I get a recycling bin?
They may be picked up at City Hall. There is no charge. The City provides a quarterly recycling calendar at 220 N. Chestnut for your convenience.
How do I set out cardboard?
Small pieces of cardboard can go in your green recycling bin. For larger pieces of cardboard, flatten, fold, and place them under the green recycling bin. Please do not use string or tape.
How do pot holes form and who do I call to report one?
Potholes can be caused by many factors such as: expansion and contraction of the pavement due to temperature fluctuations; inadequate drainage; faulty materials and unstable sub grade, to name a few. We strive to repair potholes as soon as we are aware of their existence. To report a pothole, call the Street Department at 515/386-3252.
How many cans or bags are we allowed without a charge?
You may have two (2) cans OR four (4) large kitchen bags weighing up to 30 pounds each.
How much snow must fall before the snow plows are sent out?
Many things determine when the snow plows are sent out: the rate of snowfall per hour; the moisture content of the snow; the ambient temperature of the air; the temperature of the pavement; the wind direction and velocity; the time of day; and the forecast of the predicted snowfall. Unless extenuating circumstances make it inadvisable to do so, snowplows are activated when two (2) or more inches of snow have fallen on the ground.
How often do the streets get swept?
The residential sweeping schedule is every other week. The downtown sweeping schedule is once a week on Friday.
Is the city responsible for maintaining the trees in the right of way?
No. It is the property owner's responsibility to maintain the tree. The city ordinance states that limbs overhanging the roadway must be 15 ft. above the street or 2 ft. behind the curb, and 10 ft. above the sidewalk.
My brush did not get picked up, why?
Tree and brush trimmings must be stacked in arm load piles (2ft. by 2ft. around) with cut ends facing the street. The length of the limbs does not matter. Citizens do not have to cut them up into little pieces. REMINDER: This service is for tree trimmings only. Entire trees will be left curbside.
There is a tree on my property that is dead or diseased. It is on the city right of way. Who should I call about taking care of this problem?
To report a dead or diseased tree, call the Street Department at 515/386-3252.
What are the Street Department's duties for the City of Jefferson?
The Street Department has four employees and is responsible for all street maintenance including street sweeping, street patching, traffic signs, paint striping and markings, equipment maintenance and repair (Police and Street Dept. vehicles), the removal of dead or diseased trees in the city right of way, snow and ice removal and mosquito control.
What do we do with construction and demolition waste?
The best advice is to rent a dumpster from the City. You may rent one for a maximum of two months at $35 per month and a dumping fee of $20 per dump for the most common size dumpster 11/2 yard.
When a dumpster is full and ready to be emptied, call City Hall at 515-386-3111. The City requests at least a four hour notice so the sanitation crew can empty it prior to their departure at approximately 1:30 p.m. to the landfill for the day.
What goes in the green recycling bin?
White paper, tin, mixed paper and/or newspapers, cardboard, and plastic items. All items must be sorted and bagged in paper or plastic bags. A sample bin is on display at City Hall.
What items cannot be accepted for recycling?
Pizza boxes, pop or beer boxes, waxed quart and gallon milk cartons, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, styrofoam, windows, picture frame glass, or Corelle glass. If the collector leaves an item in your green bin, it is not recyclable. Recycling is natural and easy! Please help keep Greene County GREEN!
What other city services are offered?
*Spring and Fall Cleanup Days (some extra charges apply)
*One Household Hazardous Waste Collection event each year.
What size garbage bags may I set out?
Garbage bags may not be smaller that the Tall Kitchen Bags (13 gallon) size. Each bag shall not exceed 30 pounds.
What time do the Solid Waste crews start collection?
Collection crews start their routes at 6 a.m. daily Monday through Friday.
What time should I have my recyclables out?
By 6 a.m. on your normal garbage collection day.
When do I set out my garbage, yard waste, appliances, and e-waste?
All of your garbage, yard waste, appliances, and e-waste must be set out for collection by 6 a.m. on your normal collection day.
When does the city chip brush? Can I dispose of the brush myself?
The Street Dept. chips brush on the last full week of the month. If this week is missed by the home owner, he or she may haul the brush to the east end of Daubendiek Park.
Where do I place my garbage?
Residential areas have weekly curbside collection. Place your garbage upon the parking within an arms reach or the edge of the street in front of your home or apartment.
Where is the landfill?
Jefferson belongs to the Metro Park West Landfill and that is the only dumping site available to Jefferson residents. Occasionally, you may need to haul construction materials or yard waste materials yourself, rather than renting a city dumpster, so you may choose to take it to the landfill site.
Landfills have many rules and regulations. Contact Metro Park West Landfill at 515-436-8252 prior to hauling your own refuse for rules and directions to the Metro Park West Landfill.
Where may I purchase yard waste stickers and bags?
Yard waste stickers may be purchased for $1.00 each at City Hall and yard waste bags may be purchased at several local retail stores.
Who collects my garbage?
The City of Jefferson operates their own refuse collection within the city limits. The City is divided into four sections and garbage is collected once a week. See Sanitation Collection Days Map.
Who do I contact about a problem with my street?
Call Dave Teeples, Street Superintendent at 515-386-3252 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday and leave a message.
Why wasn't my garbage picked up?
Reasons for non-service include: Your garbage can was over the 35 gallons limit, loose garbage in the can, the garbage can may have been too far from curb, the garbage can may have been over 50 pounds, or the garbage can may have been placed out for pickup after 6 a.m., therefore haulers may have already gone by your residence.
Locating a utility?
All utility locations now go through the Iowa One-Call system. Dial 811.
Natural gas or electrical service?
The 24-hour customer service phone number for Alliant Energy is 1-800-822-4348.
If you think you may have a gas leak in your home, leave the residence immediately and make the call from a safe place.The 24-hour customer service phone number for Alliant Energy is 1-800-822-4348.
Sanitary sewer operations, 515/386-4711. After hours, weekends or holidays, call the LEC at 515/386-2136.
Storm sewer trouble?
Street operations, 515/386-3252. After hours, weekends, or holidays, call 515/386-2136.
Street light out?
Call Alliant Energy, 800-822-4348. Or e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tree growing too close to the electric lines?
Alliant Energy, 800-822-4348
Utility bill question?
Customer Service, 515/ 386-3111
Water operations, 515/386-2611. After hours, weekends or holidays, call the LEC at 515/386-2136.
I've noticed a sewer odor in my home, what can I do?
Basement floor drains that have dried up will allow sewer gas to enter the home. These drains need to be checked and refilled with water. Pour a quart or two of water in these drains every week to keep them filled. Adding a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil or mineral oil to the water in the drain will slow down the evaporation of the water in the drain trap.
What causes water to gush from my toilet?
This condition can be the result of preventative sewer maintenance activities. Sewer mains are cleaned from the inside of the pipe by using high-pressure water. Occasionally this can cause a surge in the service line.
What do I do about a sewer backup?
A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, and damage to your home and/or electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and damage.
* Immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property
* Take before and after photos of the affected areas
* Itemize any property losses
* Wet-vacuum or remove spillage
* Mop the floors and wipe walls with soap and disinfectant
* Flush out and disinfect plumbing fixtures
* Steam clean or remove carpet and drapes
* Clean appliances and ductwork
* Repair or remove wallboard or wall covering
What do I do if my sewer backs up?
Call the Wastewater Treatment Plant at 515-386-4711 during regular business hours. Call the LEC at 515-386-2136 after hours and holidays. A maintenance crew will be notified of the problem and determine if the stoppage is in the city main or your service line. If the city main is found to be clear, it is the responsibility of the property owner to call a plumber or sewer/drain cleaning service to correct the problem. The property owner is responsible for maintaining adequate flow to and through the sewer lateral from the property structure into the city sewer main. If the blockage is in the city main, we will fix it promptly and keep you informed on what is being done.
IMPORTANT: Check your homeowner's insurance policy to see if you have coverage for backups. If you do not have coverage, consider adding it to your policy. In most cases the City's insurance will not cover your damages in the event of a backup.
Where does the City's responsibility end and the property owners begin?
The property owner's sewer extends from the interior plumbing of the building to where the pipe connects to the public sewer main, most frequently located in the center of the street or alley. The sewer main is the city's responsibility.
How do I shut off my water?
A valve is located inside the house near the water meter that will shut off the water.
Is tap water safe for my flowers and plants?
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.
Is the "scum" in my bathtub and shower a deposit buildup from my water?
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.
Is the Jefferson drinking water also safe for pets?
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.
Problems with your water service?
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.
What are those paint markings/flags in my yard?
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.
What can I use to clean mold and other organisms?
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.
What is a "lawn meter?"
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.
What is that "little round metal thing" in my yard?
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.
What is the cost to me when you replace my water meter?
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.
When is the best time to water my lawn?
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.
Where is my water meter?
The water meter is commonly located in the same area as your furnace or water heater.
Why do fire hydrants have different colored tops?
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.
Why does my tap water taste strange or smell bad at times?
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.