Archive for April, 2011

April 25, 2011

Accessing DMWW General Office and Water Works Park While Fleur Drive is Closed

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) welcomes over 55,000 customers per year to our general office located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.  If you are one of those customers, we would like you to be aware that roads accessing DMWW’s general office may be busier than usual during a three-month closure of Fleur Drive, beginning May 2.  The City of Des Moines is planning construction work to rehabilitate the Fleur Drive viaduct, which is located between Bell Avenue and George Flagg Parkway.  The project requires closing the bridge to all traffic for approximately three months.  During the closure, two detours will be posted:

Southbound – Vehicles will be routed west at George Flagg Parkway to SW 30th Street then south to Bell Avenue and east back to Fleur Drive.

Northbound – Vehicles will be routed east on Bell/Thomas Beck Road to SW 7th Street, then north to Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway where drivers can continue north or east into downtown areas, or west to return to Fleur Drive. 

If you would like to avoid the expected extra traffic caused by the road closure, you may access your account and make payments via our Website at www.dmww.com, call a Customer Service Representative at 283-8700, or make a payment at several metro-area pay stations.  It is important to note that payment for termination notices must be made via the website or by visiting our office.

Access to Water Works Park

Southbound Fleur Drive – Construction will not affect southbound traffic access to Water Works Park; all park entrances off Fleur Drive will remain open. 

Northbound Fleur Drive – To access  Water Works Park entrances, northbound traffic should go west on Bell Avenue to SW 30th Street then north to George Flagg Parkway and east to Fleur Drive.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customers, Des Moines Water Works Park April 22, 2011

A Career in Water

When you turn on the water, have you ever given any thought to how it arrived there and who is responsible for it? 

DMWW has over 200 employees who are working to provide customers with water they can trust for life.  Employees realize that their job, no matter the job, plays an important role in the quality of life for everyone in the Des Moines metropolitan region.   

The average tenure of DMWW’s employees is approximately 15 years, reflecting the long term retention of employees and their commitment to the job.  Employees appreciate the variety of benefits that are offered, including health and retirement plans, as well as paid time off.  Teams bring employees together from all departments to assist with balancing employee work and personal life, emphasizing health, safety, environmental stewardship and personal development.

Projections indicate that 40% of employees will be eligible to retire in the next five years.  As a result, DMWW will be looking to hire people who want to take on the responsibility of providing top quality water for which DMWW is respected.  If you are up to the challenge, visit www.dmww.jobs to complete an on-line application and view the current career openings.

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Employees April 15, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is April 22, and is a great time each year to show off your “greenness!”  Earth Day is a reminder of our responsibility to protect our planet so that it is a place of beauty and remains healthy and safe for future generations.

The first Earth Day was held in the spring of 1970 (thanks to Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and environmentalist activist, Denis Hayes) and was officially declared a day of celebration in 1990. 

You don’t have to be part of an organized event to do your part on Earth Day (and every day). Keep on with the green things you already do and try something new…

  • Take a walk and breathe in the fresh air at Water Works Park
  • Explore a world of plants under one dome at the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center.  Enjoy free admission for everyone on Earth Day!
  • Take Household Hazardous Materials (HHMs) to the Regional Collection Center in Bondurant.
  • Purchase more environmentally-friendly products.
  • Don’t purchase more than you will need; then use them up.
  • Buy products that don’t use so much packaging.
  • Use more reusable materials like lunch boxes, sandwich containers, aluminum water bottles and rags.
  • Bag up grass clippings, leaves, sticks and branches and put them in CompostIt! bags at the curb.
  • Clean up pet waste and put it in the garbage so it doesn’t wash down the storm sewers and into the rivers!
  • Keep your car in good repair so it doesn’t leak oil.  Clean up oil leaks with kitty litter or sand and sweep it up.
  • Plant grass and trees so there is no loose dirt on your property.

Even though Earth Day is officially celebrated on April 22, everyday can be Earth Day if you choose.

Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Conservation, Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Environment, Green Initiatives, Parks April 11, 2011

Behind the Water (Spotlight on DMWW Department): Grounds Staff

Water Works Park plays host to many activities throughout the year, including Jolly Holiday Lights, HyVee Fishing Derby, summer concerts and many weddings and reunions.  To keep the park looking presentable for visitors who come for a walk in the park or an event, you can rely on Des Moines Water Works’ grounds crew to take care of it.

There is a lot that goes into taking care of the largest urban park in the United States. Besides the mowing and weeding of 1,500 acres during the warmer months, there are also trees that need to be trimmed and flowers to be planted.  The Arie den Boer Arboretum has over 300 different varieties of crabapple trees that require special attention.  Besides all that, the crew takes care of the park shelter, tables, Memorial Fountain, Maffitt Lake Park and the Fleur Drive flower medians. 

When a flood hits the park, DMWW grounds staff takes care preparing the park, Water Works’ buildings for flood waters.  They close the flood gates and monitor the levee. After the flood waters recede, they then clean up the debris and provide road restoration and grading. 

The summer months are very active in Water Works Park and Maffitt Lake Park and the grounds crew requires additional assistance.  Numerous temporary employees are hired to assist the crew.  Next time you visit Water Works Park or Maffitt Lake Park, take a look at the beauty and appreciate all the efforts of the talented DMWW grounds crew.  To learn about current park events, you can follow DMWW on Twitter and visit the DMWW Website.

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark 3 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, Parks April 7, 2011

Des Moines Water Works Receives Safety Recognition

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) received an award from the Iowa-Illinois Safety Council and the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau for participation in the Belt America Program for 2010.  The Belt America Program recognizes employers that promote seatbelt usage both on and off the job and actively survey employee usage. 

DMWW received an additional award from the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (part of US Department of Transportation) in the form of the Safety Belt Honor Roll in the 90% and over category.  The Safety Belt Honor Roll recognizes employers that achieve 85% employee seatbelt use and higher.

Receiving both of these awards on behalf of DMWW’s Central Safety Committee were Terri Carman (Customer Service), Julia Johnston (Finance) and R. W. Smith (HR).  The awards were presented by Al Perkins, Iowa State Patrol – Retired.  Mr. Perkins is the Belt America Program Manager for the Iowa-Illinois Safety Council, a chapter of National Safety Council.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has identified 6,230 people that have survived otherwise fatal or life threatening crashes since 1986 through the use of seatbelts.  The National Centers for Disease Control estimate that Iowans save $69 million annually through the use of seatbelts.

Posted by: Dorenda Walters 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees April 5, 2011

Raccoon River Watershed Master Plan

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has contracted with the Missouri & Mississippi (M&M) Divide RC&D and Agren, both located in Carroll, Iowa, to develop a comprehensive watershed plan for the Raccoon River.  Agren, Inc. was founded by brothers Tom and Stan Buman in 1996 as a private consulting firm dedicated to helping agriculture find profitable solutions to environmental challenges. The master plan will guide management efforts with a focus on improving water quality in the Raccoon River watershed. 

Agren facilitated “expert panels” to evaluate both agricultural and urban stormwater best management practices (BMP). Following the expert panel events, the potential water quality impacts of recommended practices were estimated by Iowa State University scientists. More than 80% of the land use in the watershed is dedicated to row crop agriculture, so initially the implementation plan will concentrate on agricultural BMPs. Consideration is also being given to various incentives and funding sources for implementation of the recommended practices.

This month, another panel focused on what a watershed management organization should look like to ensure the master plan is implemented when completed. Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) participated on the panel. Discussion consisted of what the barriers are to effective watershed management, what type of watershed authority could overcome the barriers, and evaluation of scenarios for watershed management. Throughout the discussion it was apparent that DMWW will continue to be a key partner in managing the Raccoon River Watershed.

Recommendations best suited to protect the source of drinking water for approximately 500,000 people in central Iowa and restore and maintain an environmentally and economically sustainable landscape. These recommendations will be compiled into a comprehensive Raccoon River Watershed Master Plan. Public comments on the plan will be solicited this spring, with the final plan development completed by June 2011.

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Environment, Public Policy, Value of Water, Water Quality April 1, 2011

Spring Gardening Tips

With April showers bring May flowers; outdoor care is just around the corner. As the weather starts to warm, the spring bulbs such as the famous tulips and daffodils, will start to pop out the surface rather quickly!

You’ll want to make sure you have your gardens raked and ready to go for these bulbs. You should be giving your bulbs plenty of water during any dry spells and apply a light application of a high-nitrogen fertilizer just as the bulbs begin to grow. Once your bulbs have grown and bloomed, trim back any dead flowers, but make sure to leave the green leaves. You don’t want to cut back the plant completely as the green leaves helps produce energy to the bulbs so you have a better success rate of re-blooming in the following years to come. Once the bloom fades, make sure you fertilize the bulbs with a complete fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. A quick tip is to braid the leaves to keep them tidy and together so after they die back; they will be easier to cut. After bulbs have finished their growing phase, they are care free till the next spring!

Odds and Ends for Spring Garden Tips in April:

  • Crab grass preventer should be applied around April 15.
  • Rake your lawns to remove twigs, leaves and trash.
  • Cut back on perennial, roses and grasses to prep for new growth.
  • Plant bare root trees and shrubs before buds break. (April 29 is Arbor Day!)
  • Divide hostas and other summer and fall blooming perennials as new growth appears.
  • Start annual flowers and herbs indoors for transplanting outside after the last frost.
  • Plant cool season vegetables outdoors near late April, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips. Warm season vegetables such as beets, carrots and parsley can also be planted at this time.
  • Repot and start lightly fertilizing house plants. Clean off dust on the leaves for better plant breathing. Make sure you keep an eye on your window plants for leaf scorch from the increase of sun intensity.
Posted by: Karey Alvarado No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Botanical Center