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Public Works

Public Works Director:

Mark White
418 2nd Avenue West, Spencer, IA 51301
Phone (712) 580-7200

BEFORE YOU DIG: Dial Iowa One Call 1-800-292-8989

General Information

The Public Works Department oversees the following areas: solid waste landfill, airport, street and central garage, municipal buildings and grounds, sanitary and storm sewers, and CAD division . The Department also works with the Electrical Board of Examiners and Plumbing Board of Examiners.

Personnel include the Public Works Director and 2 Public Works Assistants. Also included in this department is the city janitor/custodian who works in City Hall and the Police Station.

The Public Works Department is located in City Hall, 418 2nd Avenue West and it is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.


Street Division/Central Garage

Come rain or sleet or snow or hail...no, it's not just the mail carriers, it's also the Street Division employees who service our community in spite of the weather conditions! Much of what they do, as well as what many of our other departments do for us, are things the citizens of Spencer take for granted. With the approximate value of the street system in Spencer being $52,272,000.00, our Street Division has a big job in maintaining approximately 100 miles of streets and 3,000 signs for our City. Other duties include maintenance of 70 miles of sanitary and storm sewer, maintaining City vehicles, traffic signals and various other work such as putting in 250 hours each year so we can all enjoy Spencer's Christmas decorations! They also assist in special events such as Flagfest and the Clay County Fair, as well as working approximately 2,000 hours a year assisting other departments with various projects.

One of this divisions important duties is plowing snow, accumulating approximately 3,500 hours each year. It takes roughly 8 hours to plow the entire City after a normal snowfall, using 10 operational vehicles in the process. We appreciate the untimely hours these employees work during emergency conditions, whether they are for the typical midwest blizzards, or the flooding conditions we have also witnessed over the years.

In 1963, the City of Spencer purchased our first mechanical sander. Prior to that, the street employees manually scooped sand off of the trucks and on the the streets. In the 1950's, a former street superintendent made a cab out of a refrigerator box to keep him warm while pushing snow into Pete's Pond. There were no cabs on the equipment at that time, and those employees were probably very glad when their shift was over!

In most cities, the Street Division is not responsible for maintaining tree sites or airports. Our department maintains both sites. At the Spencer Municipal Airport, our employees do the mowing, provide hangar and building maintenance, and provide upkeep of the 450 runway lights, and runways so they will be clean and ready for incoming and outgoing flights.

The Street Division is under the supervision of the Public Works Department. A staff of 10 full-time employees and a full-time mechanic help to keep our city on the go.


Sanitary and Storm Sewer

Water Waste Treatment Plant
400 10th Avenue Southeast
Spencer, IA 51301
(712) 262-5584

Contract Operations - Veolia
Project Manager: Jim Virelli

Problems with your sewer lines:
Call Spencer Public Works: 712/580-7220 8:00am - 5:00pm Monday - Friday
Emergency: Call Spencer Police Department at (712) 262-2151 after hours and weekends

Before you dig: Dial Iowa One Call (800) 292-8989 for utility line locations
Garden digging
Planting trees
Building fence

Combine Sewer Overflow Public Notification

What is a Combined Sewer Overflow or CSO?
In the City of Spencer, like many other cities in Iowa, some sewer pipes carry both wastewater (used water and sewage that goes down the drain in homes and businesses) and storm water (rain or melted snow that washes off streets and parking lots) to the City's Wastewater Treatment Plant. When the wastewater and storm water flow together in the same pipe it is know as a Combined Sewer System. Much of the older parts of Spencer have a combined sewer system. There are four Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO's) locations in Spencer, three empty into the north side of the Little Sioux River and the fourth into a drainageway north of Pederson Park that discharges into Muddy Creek 2.5 miles east of Spencer. A sign placed at the CSO location identifies these structures.

Why is an identification sign needed?
The City of Spencer Wastewater Treatment Plant operates under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. As part of our new permit we are required to have a public notification program to inform the public what a CSO is.

Do these CSO's discharge into the river often?
No. The CSO's are designed to only discharge into the river during heavy rain events. The City has also developed a plan to reduce these CSO events through scheduled cleaning of sewer pipes using our new Sewer Jetting Truck increasing capacity in the sewer system.

What other things are being done to reduce CSO events?

Over the past 12 years the City of Spencer has completed several large storm sewer projects that have separated these combined systems in several parts of the city. All new construction and developments are required to have separate wastewater and storm sewer systems as part of their design. The City continues to separate as much of these combined systems as money becomes available. Each time one of these storm sewer projects is completed it reduces the load on the combined sewer system and thus reduces the number of CSO events.


CAD Division

The first subdivision in Spencer took place in 1871, consisting of twelve city blocks starting on the north side of Park (River) Street and ending on the south side of 4th Street (HWY 18), one block west of Grand Avenue (Main St.) and two blocks to the east side of Grand. This area is referred to as the Original Town of Spencer, Clay County, Iowa.

The first city map of Spencer was drawn in 1902. Spencer was about one square mile in area. The map has all the subdivided lots with dimensions, street names, railroads and rivers shown.

The CAD Mapping division was started in January of 1992 with the arrival of new computer equipment. The first project was to digitize the city logo for letter heads and files. The second project was to work with Spencer Municipal Utilities drawing and editing all of the 207 subdivision plat files, contained within the boundary of the City of Spencer. Next, all of the plats were copied into section files (one mile square)and rotated to aline with the abutting section as they are in the real world. Each section file is referenced in such a manner as to represent the entire city, this is commonly referred to as our base map.

To the base map has been added the 100 year flood lines, zoning, sanitary sewer mains, buildings, property lines, surveys, sidewalks & etc.. This information can be viewed with any of the layers turned on or off. The flood plain map and the river course was digitized on to the section map with a digitizing tablet in my office. It is possible to measure the location of the fiood lines in reference to the lot lines. The Base Map can be printed on paper at any scale or size desired. We-have a "E" size plotter to print maps at any sizes from 8.5" x 11" to 36" x 48" on one piece of paper.

Sanitary sewer main information was taken from our field data sheets.

City maps are available at City Hall.

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