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.
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.
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.
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.