Water and Wastewater Department




Department Links:

City Wells

Use Water Wisely

Cross Connection

2023 CCR Report

Test Results 2023

Fire Hydrant Flushing Program

Treatment Plant

Lift Stations


Sewer Flushing Program


Water System

Our system consists of 5 deep water wells and the Sunbeam springs with the capability of supplying a total of approximately 6,675 gallons per minute. We have 2 systems, one which is the high side and the other is the normal side. We have 1 metal storage tank that holds 1,000,000 gals. We operate and maintain a booster station located at the end of Polk St. which helps increase and maintain the pressure on the high side of town. There is approximately 32.5 miles of water lines running throughout the city and some outside of city limits that range in size from 4” to 12”. At the present time we do not chlorinate any of our water. We regularly test and monitor your water to ensure that the quality of water we are delivering to you is the best and safest it can be.


Our wastewater first starts out with our collection system. This is what transports what comes from your drains to the Treatment plant. The collection system consists of roughly 26 miles of gravity sewer lines; we also operate and maintain 5 lift stations that pump wastewater up to where gravity sewer lines can take over. Once the wastewater reaches the treatment plant, it goes through a series of treatments before being discharged to the Snake River. The City of American Falls owns and operates a municipal treatment facility that has a capacity of 600,000 gallons a day (416 gallons per minute) and provides secondary treatment and disinfection of domestic and industrial wastes prior to discharge into the Snake River. The objective of treatment is to remove as much of the nutrients (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus, dissolved organic matter) and solids (e.g. grit, suspended organic matter) as possible. This is accomplished through several steps and takes about 8 hours from the time the wastewater enters the plant until it is discharged  into the river. The treatment plant is monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA sets what our discharge limitations are by issuing the City a NPDES Permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System). It is imperative that the City meet our permit monthly and submit a Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) every month. The treatment plant performs various tests and samples throughout the plant daily, with these tests we are able to monitor the plant closely and it also helps us to detect any upset the plant may experience. Our goal is to discharge the best quality of water back into the Snake River.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q1. Is it ok to pour cooking grease/oil down the drain?
  • Q2. Can I dump car fluids down the drain or a manhole?
  • Q3. What other kinds of things should not be put down the drain or toilet?
  • Q4. Who is responsible for maintenance of the sewer system?
  • Q5. What is that big white truck I see driving around town?
  • Q6. Are there tours of the treatment plant?

Q1. Is it ok to pour cooking grease/oil down the drain?
 There are a few reasons why disposing of cooking grease down the drain is a bad idea:

1) Even if you use hot water to wash it down, once the water cools down further along in your sewer pipe, that grease will solidify and coat the pipe. This will eventually clog your pipe and possibly cause a back-up into your home.

2) If a lot of grease gets into the sewer system, the lines get restricted causing the wastewater to go septic giving off a rotten-egg odor. It can also dissolve concrete in the system. There is also increased risk of having back-ups into many homes.

3) Once that grease gets to the treatment plant, it is very difficult to treat and ends up causing unwanted problems at the plant.

*Please note: all restaurants in the City of American Falls are required to have a grease trap installed and maintained so most of our major source of grease is residential. Please dispose of your grease in the trash.

Q2. Can I dump car fluids down the drain or a manhole?
 Please do not dump antifreeze, motor oil, or other car fluids into the sewer system. These fluids are toxic to the organisms at the plant that are used to treat the wastewater. Please contact your local service station about where you can dispose of these items.

Q3. What other kinds of things should not be put down the drain or toilet
 We would prefer you didn’t flush dental floss, paper towels, or other things not intended for the toilet. These get wrapped around components in the system and cause blockages. Please dispose of these items in the trash.

Q4. Who is responsible for maintenance of the sewer system?
The property owner is responsible for their service from the home/business to the main sewer line, including the connection at the main-line pipe. The city is responsible for maintaining the sewer main lines.

Q5. What is that big White truck I see driving around town?
 That is how we maintain the sewer lines. With that truck, we clean out the sewer lines on a regular basis and vacuum out any material blocking the lines such as tree roots, rocks, grease, etc.

Q6. Are there tours of the treatment plant?
 We would like everyone in the city to come see what we do at the plant. If you would like a tour please call 226-2569 to set up a time. We only need a couple days advance notice. Teachers of all grade levels are encouraged to bring their science classes.