Council Bluffs Water Works Conduit, 1883
Council Bluffs City Water Works Conduit, November 1883

Construction of the Council Bluffs Water System began in 1881 by the American Construction Company of New York City, which had been granted a 25 year franchise by the City of Council Bluffs. Under the franchise, the American Construction Company was to construct and operate a water system. The system constructed was very inferior, and during the life of the franchise, practically no improvements or extensions were made. As a result, along with the poor service rendered by the water company, the renewal of the franchise was rejected by the voters in 1906.

1882 Station
1882 Station
1911 Purchase Plaque
1911 Purchase Plaque

In 1911, the City acquired the water system through condemnation proceedings at a cost of $510,000. On June 1, 1911, the control of the Council Bluffs Water Works came under the Board of Water Works Trustees, which had been appointed by the Mayor. Their first task was to reconstruct or replace practically the entire system. The utility remains under the control of a five member Board of Trustees, appointed by the Mayor on alternate terms of six years each.

Old water main construction
Broadway Water Main Construction

Many physical changes have occurred within the water system itself. The system in 1911 consisted of obtaining water from the Missouri River near North 37th Street, settling in large reservoirs, disinfecting, and pumping. Disinfection was begun in 1910 which eliminated illness and deaths from typhoid. In 1952, a conventional lime softening water treatment plant was constructed at North 25th Street. The Administration Building was relocated to North 25th Street in 1974.

Broadway Pumping Station
First Broadway Pumping Station
Low Service Pumping Station, 1912
Low Service Pumping Station, 1912
High Service Pumping Station No. 1, 1915
High Service Pumping Station No. 1, to be erected 1915 at S end of Glen Ave at foot of north bank of Glendale Reservoir. Co. B. City
Glendale Pumping Station, 1930
Glendale Pumping Station, 1930
Water works plant under construction
Plant under construction, 1950
Council Bluffs Water Works plant, 1952
Completed Plant, 1952
Water Works intake
Intake, present

In the ensuing thirty years many other improvements have been made, including the construction of the 2-million gallon Valley View Reservoir, a distribution/meter department office and warehouse complex, a 1.5-million gallon Clearwell, a modern chlorine handling facility, three elevated storage tanks and two pump stations.

Council Bluffs Water Works plant today
CBWW Plant, present