The Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-500) called for a national program to clean up the nation’s waters by 1983. Section 208 of the law specified that particular attention be given to areas where water quality control was a major problem. 

Des Moines Integrated Community Area (ICA)

Accordingly, local governments in the Central Iowa Regional Association of Local Governments (CIRALG) received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an area-wide Waste Treatment Management Study, informally called the "208" study. The 208 area encompassed 26 governmental jurisdictions covering almost 800 square miles. This cooperative effort to define and implement solutions resulted in the formation of the ICA, twelve local units of government and two sewer districts. 


The parties to the ICA Agreement, which was signed in 1979, are Polk County, Warren County, the Urbandale Sanitary Sewer District, the Urbandale-Windsor Heights Sanitary District and the cities of:

  • Altoona
  • Ankeny
  • Bondurant
  • Clive
  • Des Moines
  • Johnston
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Urbandale
  • West Des Moines

The constituent communities, except for the two sewer districts, were members of CIRALG and the CIRALG Policy Committee. The ICA Agreement provided that the constituent communities shall be the ICA Management Agency and shall be separate and distinct from CIRALG.

Institutional Structure

The ICA Agreement provided the institutional structure needed to implement the requirements of section 208 of Public Law 92-500. It described the duties and responsibilities of each constituent community as well as the proportionate funding for implementing the Des Moines Facilities Plan. The cost for implementation of the Facilities Plan is paid on a proportional basis according to the year 2005 population equivalent of each community. Each constituent community pays the operation and maintenance costs on a proportionate basis according to the annual proportional wastewater flows contributed. In May of 1995, the ICA management agency was renamed Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA).


On July 1, 2004, the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority finalized the amended and restated agreement becoming a legal entity, including newly connecting communities, organization of a board with budget, operation and maintenance responsibilities, acquisition of existing facilities and transfer of assets. Information on the WRA agreement and schedules of meetings can be found on the WRA Board page and the Technical Committee page.

To this day, the WRA takes pride in the work it does for the communities and its residents in the Des Moines metro.

Vision: To protect public health and enhance the environment by being a recognized leader in innovative water reclamation.
Mission: Our highly skilled workforce cost-effectively collects, conveys and cleans wastewater and recovers valuable resources to met the existing and future needs of Central Iowa."
Values: The WRA is committed to meeting the needs of the region through Integrity, Excellence, Innovation and Stewardship