Larry McDevitt

Larry McDevitt

Jim Glass lives on 400th Avenue, “more famously known as the Droessler addition,” he told Jackson County supervisors July 9 as he asked for action to bring a public water source to the area.

Many people have houses on small plots in the Droessler addition, located near Bellevue. The waste from toilets in many of those homes goes into septic systems that are far too close to wells, raising the risk of drinking water contamination.

Because these systems don’t meet code, some property owners in the area now can’t sell their property, residents said.

The city of Bellevue had hoped to fund a public water supply to the area with enough pressure and volume to support firefighting. But a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to fund the project fell through, making it likely that public water will come through a smaller pipe that can’t support fire suppression.

Glass suggested that each property owner pay a portion of the cost of bringing water to the area. He thinks that a one-time fee of $1,000 each could cover hookup costs. 

“We must move forward on this issue,” Glass said.

Jackson County Supervisor Larry McDevitt is chairman of Eastern Iowa Regional Utility Service Systems (EIRUSS), a joint agency of Delaware, Jones, Jackson, Cedar and Clinton counties that develops and maintains water and wastewater systems in tiny communities and high-density rural areas that aren’t otherwise able to safely provide those services.

McDevitt said EIRUSS is working to develop a system in the Droessler-Spruce Creek area that would use a single meter for the entire area, charging each homeowner a flat fee for water use. 

“It would be roughly around $100 a month for water, but it would solve the problem,” he said. It would not be capable of effective fire suppression.

In Jackson County, EIRUSS is best known for the 2012 Leisure Lake septic project. It’s also involved in water or wastewater projects in Center Junction, Petersburg, Elvira, Fairview, Andover, Lake Delhi and Marley.

In Leisure Lake, intern Thomas Fox is spending the summer mapping grinder stations, pressure releases and wells. If Fox finishes before summer is over, he might start mapping in the Droessler addition.

ν If you’re wondering when the ditches might be mowed by secondary road crews, the answer is… sometime soon. Soft roads and wet weather have delayed mowing, so there isn’t a firm start date for mowing yet, said Jackson County Engineer Clark Schloz.

ν Grandstand work went a little beyond the scope of the bid. That leaves the county supervisors to talk to the fair board about how to deal with extra costs not covered in the original bid, which the supervisors had agreed to pay for.

The Jackson County Fair, boasting new bleachers, is slated for Tuesday, July 22, through Sunday, July 28.

ν “We’re not trying to get rid of anybody,” said supervisor Jack Willey emphatically, wishing to squelch rumors stemming from discussions of hiring an additional assistant for Schloz. “There’s less people working in this office now than when I started 29 years ago. We want to build the workforce so we can provide better service than we can now.”

Supervisors are working with Schloz to develop a job description for an assistant who could ease the transition when long-serving engineering staff choose to retire.