La Porte City, Iowa

  • Population: 2,743
  • Employees: 1

Communication Key to Updating and Managing Wastewater Plant

Problem Diagnosis

La Porte City, Iowa’s water and wastewater systems were working with some very old and limiting infrastructure that ultimately caused their pumps to work harder, not smarter. The city was operating with the original infrastructure dating back 30 years. City leaders knew something needed to be done. That’s when they partnered with PeopleService to take advantage of our knowledge and to get to a solution.

When we first arrived on site, we were faced with many obstacles. The engineering firm that the city had been working with did not have the experience necessary to work with an aging infrastructure, the city had just encountered multiple staff turnover and their operators did not have the depth of wastewater plant expertise as we did.


Not ones to let obstacles stand in our way, we hit the ground running with a plan to update the existing facility with the help of a new engineering firm. To emphasize the need for the overhaul, we gave a tour of the treatment plant to members of City Council. This gave them a visual on how desperately the plant needed rehabilitation and to make an informed decision about our recommended solutions. On the tour, Councilmember Brent Sadler told Iowa Assistant Region Manager Heath Draeger that they had not been apprised of the issues before then. We were pleased with the outcome of the tour because the city is in control of what happens with their facilities. We partner with them to make it happen.

With the help of a new engineering firm, we replaced/repaired nine pumps and created an omni-site communication system for seven lift stations that track the pumps’ run times. This communication system helps the team keep an eye on what’s happening with the pumps, ultimately increasing their life span.

Updating the communication and software systems gave the city a huge advantage when it came to tracking pump run times and documentation. We can communicate with city officials every step of the way and these upgrades now give us the chance to do so.

With the new systems in place, we also established a council report which we present monthly. Councilmember Krisi Harrill told Heath that, through the reports, she has learned more about the plant in our first year than ever before.

The POWER of PeopleService

There are still some limitations, like old controls at the plant, but updating the software and replacing the pumps was a huge help in our overall vision for the plant. Our team is now working with the city to create a cost-effective plan to upgrade the existing facility. We want this facility to last for the long-term. The upgrades we made to the city’s infrastructure have helped immensely, but there are still some limitations that need to be addressed. Our partnership with the La Porte community is strong and we are excited about our plans for the future.

Wastewater System

The wastewater collection system is comprised of various sized interceptor mains and includes six lift stations (Anton Addition, West Side, 7th St., 4th St., Benton and Sweet Addition); the wastewater treatment plant is a sequential batch reactor (SBR) with two tanks, stationary bar screen and cyclonic grit removal unit and a 56,000 gallon aerobic digester. The design of the plant is 260,000 gallons per day average dry weather flow with a BOD5 loading of 600 lbs./day.

To learn more about this case study and all the services PeopleService provides, talk to Chris McMillen at 877-774-4311 or

“It was no secret that La Porte City’s systems needed updating. From the moment they arrived, PeopleService identified the specifics of the problem and offered smart, workable solutions. They are very easy to work with. They came into La Porte City and immediately set up an effective system of communication. We feel very at ease with their years of knowledge and expertise.”

– Jane Whittlesey
City Clerk
City of La Porte, Iowa

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