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How we're flowing.

The Traer municipal water system began operations in 1894. According to a 1951 newspaper article, the decision to build a city waterworks system was prompted by a destructive fire in the business section. In June 1894, the council awarded a contract for a well for $1050 and another contract to construct the waterworks tower and storage tank for $8446 was also awarded. The well was drilled to a depth of 286 feet. This well is designated as well #1 by the Iowa Geological Survey. In 1923, a new steel water tower was constructed near the site of the existing tower. An additional well was also dug. This well was 240 feet deep and is known as well #2 by the Iowa Geological Survey.


In 1937, due to the high hardness levels in the water, the first water softeners were installed at a cost of $4020. Several unsuccessful attempts have been made over the years to locate a water source with lower levels of hardness. In 1955 a shallow well was dug in the northeast section of town along Woodlawn. It was thought that a water-bearing sand and gravel vein would produce sufficient amounts of water with hardness levels of approximately ½ of the existing wells. This well proved incapable of providing sufficient quantities of water to meet the town’s needs. The next well that was drilled in 1963. A brief description of this and other projects that followed is below: 


1963 – A well designated as well #3 was drilled. The well was 1,813 feet deep and drew water from the Cambrian and Ordovician aquifers. These are commonly referred to as Jordan wells. It produced 400 gallons per minute. 


1980 – The current water tower was constructed. It has a storage capacity of 250,000 gallons. The bottom of the storage bowl is 68 feet from ground level. It is 99 feet to the overflow line.

1990 – The Jordan well we are currently using for our water supply was drilled. It is 1,830 feet deep and draws water from the Cambrian and Ordovician aquifers. This well is designated as well #4. 


2006 – Traer received a $500,000 grant from the USDA. In the fall of 2006, we completed an emergency connection to the Poweshiek Rural Water system on the east side of town on QQ Ave. As part of this grant, we were required to plug two older wells that were no longer in use. These were designated as wells #1 and #2.


2007 – A standby well was also drilled. This well is 275 feet deep and extends into the Devonian aquifer. It produces 340 gallons per minute. It is designated as well #5. 


2015 – Well #4 suddenly began producing large quantities of sand with the water pumped. A well company was on-site for 5 months removing sand from the well until the pumped water became clean enough that it wasn’t causing damage to the pumping and treatment equipment. While this process was being completed we relied on the #5 standby well for our supply. Several alterations to the treatment process were required over this period in order to allow us to produce a satisfactory quality of water. We never experienced any degradation in the water to cause health concerns, but it is much harder water and the finished product at times had a faint odor and was slightly cloudy.


Residential Use – 22,710,076 gallons = $251,372.30

Commercial Use – 7,712,393 gallons = $59,252.23

No Sewer Use – 672,371 gallons = $5,174.00 (No Sewer Use includes water sold for crop spraying and lawn watering)

Company Use – 2,745,666 gallons



– Loren Eisley

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