Public Works

Lift Stations

The City's sanitary sewer system transports wastewater from residential, commercial, and industrial properties to the City's Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) for treatment. The sanitary sewer system relies on gravity to convey wastewater to WPCF.  Lift stations pump wastewater from low elevations to higher elevations for re-entry into the gravity sewer system. The stations are installed in areas where it is difficult or impossible to rely solely on a gravity sewer.

Lift Station Policy

The City of Cedar Rapids Lift Station Policy establishes the policies and procedures related to the design and construction of new lift stations as well as the transfer of ownership of some existing lift stations to the City. The policy was originally adopted in 2015 and was updated in 2023.  See the Lift Station Policy 2023.

Existing Lift Stations under Private Ownership
Owners of private lift stations serving eight or more residential properties may request the City take over ownership and responsibility of the lift station. Improvements are often required to bring the lift station up to current Iowa DNR and City of Cedar Rapids design standards. Should the request be approved, the policy details the steps that need to be taken before the lift station ownership is transferred, and what project costs or supplemental fees would be applied. Since adoption of the policy in 2015, several lift stations serving residential neighborhoods have been transferred to City ownership which generally improves operational consistency and facility maintenance.

New Lift Stations
The Policy states that new lift stations serving eight or more residential properties must be placed under City ownership. Lift stations that do not serve eight or more residential properties may be privately owned and are not subject to the City’s Lift Station Design Guidelines. All new lift stations are subject to City approval.  

For new lift stations that will be owned by the City, a review will be conducted to determine the appropriate service area of the lift station. If additional properties beyond the primary development will be served by the lift station, the policy establishes the procedure for creation of a Sewer Extension Charge for those areas to recover project costs associated with serving that larger area.

Cedar Rapids Lift Station Design Guidelines
All new lift stations with a capacity of one million gallons/day or less which will be owned by the City must comply with the City’s Lift Station Design Guidelines. Lift stations that are transferred from private ownership to City ownership must first comply with these standards. Public lift stations with a capacity greater than one million gallons/day will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.   See the Lift Station Design Guidelines 2023.

 Lift Station Districts
The following lift station districts have been defined to date, and are subject to their respective conditions:

Lift Station District



Current Status

Wexford Heights



 Adopted September 11, 2018

If you have any questions regarding the Cedar Rapids Lift Station Policy or Design Guidelines, please contact Ben Worrell, PE, at or 319-286-5745.
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