About Winterset Utilities

About Winterset Municipal Utilities

The Winterset Municipal Utilities is constantly pursuing efficiency, and growth, and providing the safest and most consistent product to our customers. We are committed to the improvement of our employees and feel we have one of the finest staff in the state. Our utility supports economic development and endeavors to make an attractive environment for new businesses and developments.


The Winterset Municipal Utilities provides water to 5,353 people and 342 commercial and industrial customers in Madison County. The source of this water is Cedar Lake, a surface water impoundment, located just northeast of Winterset. This supply has been in continuous use since 1938 and has been the only supply for our customers since 1995 when a new $3.8 million dollar treatment plant was built to meet new water quality standards.

In 2009 Reverse Osmosis treatment was added to the water plant to remove nitrates. In 2014 Cedar Lake was dredged, effectively doubling the capacity of the lake and the spillway replacement was completed in 2015. The water treatment plant currently operates at about 30% of total capacity and could be easily expanded in the future if necessary. The annual water production is around 220 million gallons with the ability to produce substantially more at any time.


The City Council of Winterset Iowa first considered establishing a Municipal Light Plant on April 6, 1889, a little more than nine years after Thomas Edison was granted a patent on the first electric lamp. The Winterset Municipal Light Plant began service on October 1, 1889, as a coal-fired steam generation facility with a capacity of 250 kW and 230 customers.

In 1930 the plant was converted from steam to diesel power when the utility purchased a McIntosh and Seymour 5-cylinder engine (430 kW). A Worthington 6-cylinder engine (500 kW) was added in 1931 and an additional Worthington (300 kW) was added in 1938. In 1946 an American Locomotive (750 kW) 8 cylinder engine was installed. The "Alco" was removed from service in 1999. In 1956 a 12-cylinder Nordberg radial engine (1500 kW) was put into service. The first dual-fuel (diesel and natural gas) unit, a Cooper LS8 8-cylinder (1750 kW) was installed in 1965 with a second unit, a Cooper LSV-16 16-cylinder (4480 kW) following in 1970. The Nordberg and both Cooper engines are still in use today and three, diesel fueled, 2,000 kW Cat engines went into service in January of 2002. In 2022, two more 2,000 KW Cat engines were installed to bring the total generating capacity to 17.7 Megawatts.

The Electric utility is currently working in phases to get most of its distribution system underground. In 2023, we will be starting our last big underground project and then starting on the east side of the square in the alley. We hope to have both projects completed in 2023.