City wants to know about your pipes

Survey required for lead analysis by DNR and EPA


FORT MADISON - City officials want to know what you're made of.

Your water pipes that is.

A survey is being mailed to 4,500 property owners this week asking about water line materials as the city works to compile a federal-mandated lead analysis.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency require the surveys of lead service lines  from the city by the fall of 2024.

According to Public Works Director Mark Bousselot, the city mailed the flyers along with the annual garbage collection calendar this week.

"Every year we send out our garbage calendars and this year we've included a lead service line inventory that we have to turn in by Oct. 16, 2024," he said.

Residents should look for the survey in the mail over the next few days, complete it to the best of their ability and knowledge, and return to the city.

The best way to return the form is to drop it off at City Hall. That can be done during regular business hours or forms can be dropped in the overnight drop box on the northeast side of the building, or mailed.

The forms can also be filled out, converted digitally, and sent to the city Public Works email at jcullen@fortmadison-ia.com. Questionnaires are also available on the city website at  www.fortmadison-ia.com.

Bousselot said even though the deadline for the city's report is October of 2024, the city is trying to get out in front of the project.

He said if the city gets 60% to 80% of the surveys returned the survey's in pretty good shape, but if the city only gets 30% or so returned they will have to relaunch and target those that haven't turned in the information.

"We're trying to get ahead of it and get all these questions answered," he said. "We have an Excel document we have to complete for every one of our 4,500 service customers."

The first part of the questionnaire is for identification and record updates to coordinate properties with contact information for property owners.

The rest of the survey pertains to any work done on water line services from the city's hook up in the right of way into the home.

Several questions pertain the service line, specifically materials used from the city hook-up to the home and then the make up of lines inside the home.

"These are questions around materials used from the curb stop to the home - lines that the property owners have responsibility for," he said.

"If they don't know the answers, they can choose that option, but a lot of property owners have made upgrades and have that information at hand. The more information we have, the better off we are."

The survey also asks what type of structure the property is e.g. single family, multi-family, commercial or other. There is space to explain any "other" designations.

The city also wants to know when the structure was built and when, if any, upgrades to the water service lines were done.

Bousselot said that information can help the city determine what type of materials have been used if work was done to code.

The city also is required to do some testing around town for lead and copper and are looking for property owners to allow testing to be done on their property.

He said the city would like to have the surveys returned as soon as possible.

"We're telling people ASAP so we can fill in the missing data. That's a drop dead date for us. We're going to give this a few months  before we send out more or go knocking on doors," Bousselot said.

"So we're asking them to return them as soon as possible."

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