Public Works

Sanitary Sewer Master Plan

The City's sanitary sewer collects and conveys residential, commercial and industrial flows from the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan area to the City's Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF).  The system serves the cities of Marion, Hiawatha, Robins and Palo, and a small part of Linn County, in addition to the City of Cedar Rapids.

On November 1, 2016, the City Council adopted an update to the Sanitary Sewer Master Plan. The previous Sanitary Sewer Master Plan was completed in 1998 and has become outdated in its ability to guide future decisions.  The City began development of the first round of the current document in June of 2016.  This initial revamp reflects the collaborative effort of the City and consultant staff to bring a fresh perspective and innovative thought to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Proceed with initial development of a living Sanitary Sewer Master Plan that will become more comprehensive and expansive with time
  2. Understand and incorporate the City's vision as reflected in EnvisionCR
  3. Develop a Capital Improvements Plan that clearly communicates the priorities, rationale, and timeline to address known sanitary sewer issues
  4. Identify funding needs and develop a financial plan that closes the gap between current revenues and capital needs
  5. Obtain available GIS and other available information to proceed with higher-level hydraulic modelling Citywide to begin to assess capacity needs
  6. Engage and work collaboratively with Public Works staff to identify policy and other considerations relative to sanitary sewer master planning
  7. Establish the framework for annual updates to expand and improve the initial plan

In recent years, the City's sanitary sewer system and Water Pollution Control Facility have been challenged by peak flows approaching and exceeding existing capacity during rain events.  The peaks are attributed to extraneous wet weather flows commonly referred to as infiltration and inflow (I & I) that are produced by local precipitation and/or high river levels.  Ideally, the sanitary sewer collection system would be completely sealed from its points of entry (toilets, sinks, showers, floor drains, etc.) all the way to the treatment plant.  However, evidence shows that there are many additional undesirable points of entry, which takes two forms:

  1. Cross connections, where sump pumps, foundation drains, and roof drains are connected into the sanitary sewer system instead of the storm sewer system, known as "Inflow", or
  2. Breaks, cracks, misaligned joints, tree root penetrations within private and public sewer lines, where groundwater flow can enter, known as "Infiltration"

A major theme of the Sanitary Sewer Master Plan is the City's intent to significantly reduce sources of I & I to reduce pumping and treatment costs at the treatment plant, benefiting all rate payers.

In concert with EnvisionCR, the City of Cedar Rapids comprehensive plan, the Sanitary Sewer Master Plan also considers the capital investment necessary to serve future growth areas in a strategic and deliberate manner.

Elements of the current adopted document are available for download below.  Updates will be posted here as they are developed and adopted in future years.

Existing Sanitary Sewer System

Historic and Planned Improvements

Hydraulic Modeling

Capital Improvement Needs

Policy and Other Considerations
Financial Needs 

Growth Area Service Plans

Previous and future initiatives are outlined below by fiscal year.

FY16 issue (adopted)  FY17 issue (complete) FY18 issue  (complete) FY19 issue (complete)  FY24 issue
(in progress)
Analysis of existing system

Analysis of historic and planned improvements

Hydraulic modelling of the collection system

Identifying CIP needs

Identifying policy gaps and needs

Identifying long-term financial needs

Growth Area Service Plans 

   • North area

   • West area

   • Southwest area

Infiltration and Inflow Studies
   • Morgan Creek

Development of the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP)

Automated Flow Metering

Policy Support
   • Private Sector
       Lateral program

Growth Area Service Plans
   • Northwest
   • South

Hydraulic modelling for trunk sewers
   • West side
   • East side

Infiltration and Inflow Studies
   • Lennox
   • Various other

Asset Management

Capital Improvements Plan updates and refinements

Policy Support
   • Small private lift stations
   • Design storm event for collection system
   • Connection and extension fees for growth

Hydraulic Modeling
   • Prairie Creek interceptor
   • C Street SW interceptor
   • 44th Street interceptor
   • South Growth Area

Infiltration and Inflow Reduction Manual

Policy Support
   • Private Lateral Program
   • Flow meter data management

Asset Management

Development of the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP)

• City-wide updates to hydraulic modeling
• Updates to growth area service plans

• Creation of a new 5-year Capital Improvements Plan

• Policy assistance related to:
  • Infiltration & Inflow reduction
  • Shared sewer laterals or “party lines”
  • Discharge of Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG)

Please contact Ben Worrell ( with the Engineering Division of the Public Works Department for comments or questions on the document or the process.
© 2024  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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