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Jason Parrott / TSPR

Lee County is well aware of the environmental problems created by the lack of a sewer system in a small, unincorporated community near Keokuk and is getting ready to take action.

Iowa Supreme Court Backs Mount Union over RUSS

Feb 1, 2016

The Iowa Supreme Court has weighed in on an ongoing financial dispute between a small city in southeast Iowa and an organization that helps rural communities build sewer systems. The justices ruled in favor of Mount Union over Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS).

Ron Fedler spent a lot of time on the phone last week trying to find out what exactly happened regarding a 2013 lawsuit regarding a sewer system in rural Lee County. Fedler, who chairs the Lee County Board of Supervisors, said he only recently learned that the case was settled in January.

Lee County paid nearly $50,000 last year to upgrade the sanitary sewer system in the unincorporated community of Argyle. The county was hopeful the money could be recouped through a lawsuit, but it doesn't appear that will be happening.

A proposal to build a sewer system in an unincorporated community near Keokuk is moving forward after sitting stagnant for months. The Lee County Board of Supervisors this week authorized Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) to apply for federal funding for the Mooar/Powdertown project.

A virtual stalemate involving nearly a dozen southeast Iowa counties has led to the possibility of a new organization forming to help unincorporated communities develop sanitary sewer systems.

Lee County might be forced to go back to the drawing board when it comes to a proposed sanitary sewer system in an unincorporated community just north of Keokuk.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors wants a little more time to make a big decision.

An organization that helps rural southeast Iowa communities build sewer systems has won two legal challenges this month.

Jason Parrott / Tri States Public Radio

An effort to build a sewer system in rural Lee County can officially move forward.

Plans are moving ahead to upgrade a sewer system in rural Lee County.

One Lee County resident wants to give taxpayers an opportunity to learn more about a controversial issue.

Lee County could pay for some emergency repairs to a rural sewer system.

An organization that helps rural southeast Iowa communities build sewer systems is trying to maintain its current membership.

A lawsuit has been filed in Henry County (IA) over a sewer system in Lee County.

A regional agency that helps rural southeast Iowa communities build and maintain sewer systems is waiting for the go-ahead from the state to do some work in Lee County.

Wapello County Tries to Leave RUSS

Dec 21, 2012

It could cost Lee County more money if another county is allowed to leave a regional organization.

Around The Region

Nov 29, 2012


An engineering study for a proposed sewer system in rural Lee County could be completed before the end of the year.

The study will provide construction options and potential costs for people living in and around Mooar/Powdertown.

The results of the study will determine whether the sewer project moves forward.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors plans to review it before meeting with residents.


Fort Madison Main Street is in the market for a new director.

Around The Region

Oct 16, 2012

A quick look at news from around the tri-state region.

Lee County has decided to help one of its unincorporated communities with a proposed sewer project.

The Board of Supervisors has entered into a new 28-E agreement with Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS). 

RUSS is an organization based in Mount Pleasant that helps rural communities secure state and/or federal money for sewer projects.

Supervisor Ernie Schiller says this agreement will allow RUSS to start the preliminary engineering work for a potential sanitary sewer system in the Mooar/Powdertown area north of Keokuk.

Upcoming changes to Iowa’s mental health system may not impact Lee County in the short term.

The state will start covering the cost of Medicaid-endorsed services in July.  That means there will be no more reimbursements for counties, which will drastically shrink budgets for mental health and other developmental disabilities.

What is left in the budgets will be primarily used to pay for services not covered by Medicaid.

Ryanne Wood oversees Lee County’s MHDD department.  She says that is why efforts are underway to shift county-funded clients to Medicaid.

Residents of Mooar/Powdertown agreed to work with Regional Utility Service Systems (RUSS) several years ago. 

RUSS helps rural communities in ten southeast Iowa counties secure state and/or federal funding for sanitary sewer systems.

The sewer project was put on hold, last year, during the engineering phase because of personnel and funding issues with RUSS.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors wanted to see if residents of Mooar/Powdertown were still interested in working with RUSS, so it held a public meeting Tuesday night.

Croton and Mooar/Powdertown are a couple of Lee County’s small unincorporated communities.  Mooar/Powdertown is located just north of Keokuk, along Highway 61 while Croton sits just a few miles south of Farmington near the Avenue of the Saints.

Neither community has a sanitary sewer system, which prompted them to start working with Mount Pleasant-based RUSS (Regional Utility Service Systems) in 2010.

An organization known as Residents for a Better Richmond has filed a class-action lawsuit in the Iowa District Court for Washington County.