Archive for July, 2013

July 25, 2013

Chilling in Water Works Park

RAGBRAI riders love our water stationsApproximately 10,000-12,000 RAGBRAI riders and their support teams camped overnight in Water Works Park July 23, 2013.  One cyclist was overheard remarking that Water Works Park was “by far the coolest camp” he’d experienced in his 16 years of riding.

While riders and campers enjoyed the nature of the park and the close community it provided, the “hot” commodity was a chilled water station where bicyclists could fill  their reusable water bottles with ice cold tap water.  Recently designed by Des Moines Water Works staff, the water station connects to any water supply and utilizes ice to cool the tap water flowing through a 100’ coil to four bottle filling faucets. Chilled water was extremely popular as the riders are accustomed to drinking lukewarm tap water all day long.

Two additional water stations were strategically positioned in the campground to provide thousands of gallons of water for the campers’ needs.  Riders were extremely appreciative of the plentiful supply of water allowing them to clean up and board a bus to experience the festivities in downtown Des Moines.

Cyclists and their support teams got an early start July 24 and by mid-morning, few traces remained of the epic camp-out the night before.  From all accounts, cyclists enjoyed their stay in Des Moines and the hospitality offered by the entire community.  In return, DMWW thanks RAGBRAI-ers for being great stewards of Water Works Park.  Come back and enjoy!

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Uncategorized, Water Quality July 22, 2013

Des Moines Water Works Celebrates Water and Wastewater Workers of Iowa Week

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJuly 21-27, 2013 has been designated as Water and Wastewater Workers of Iowa Week, as proclaimed by Governor Terry Branstad during a ceremony at the State Capitol on July 18, 2013.

The proclamation that was signed by the Governor read:

The State of Iowa’s surface and ground waters are a treasured natural resource; and

The water and wastewater workforce of Iowa have dedicated themselves to applying environmental science to enhance drinking and recreational waters of Iowa; and

Their applied environmental science-based practices continue to be a vital element in improving the quality of life and preserving and protecting public health in our state, and promoting sustainability in our way of living.

All Des Moines Water Works employees provide an important service to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Recognizing a shortage of skilled workers in the industry, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) has created a new associate’s degree in Water Environment Technology to encourage Iowans to get the education and resources needed to become a part of water and wastewater management in the state.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized July 15, 2013

Five Years of Clean Air in Iowa – When can Iowa Celebrate Five Years of Clean Water?

RiverIn 2008, the state passed the Smokefree Air Act which banned smoking in public places. Why? Because it protected public health. State legislators passed this bold legislation because it was best for the people of Iowa.

Reducing nitrate, phosphorus, and bacteria in Iowa’s rivers, streams, and lakes will also protect public health. This year is a record setting year for nitrate levels, with the Raccoon River reaching 24.39 mg/L and Des Moines River 18.62 mg/L. If nitrate levels in our source water persist at levels such that DMWW is unable to produce finished drinking water below 10 mg/L, Des Moines Water Works will violate the drinking water standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency. This standard is set to protect our most vulnerable population, infants under 6 months of age.

Opponents criticized the Smokefree Air Act as a government intrusion into personal choice and free enterprise that would force businesses to close due to a reduction in business. Agricultural interests are using similar arguments. The agricultural community insists government cannot tell them what to do on their own land, and argues that if agriculture is regulated, it will force the livestock industry and row-crop production out of the country. No one is allowed to use the state’s water resources to the point that they impair water use by others. All Iowans are accountable and responsible for improving and protecting Iowa’s water resources and ultimately public health. Iowa Code, 455B.262 (3) states, “Water occurring in a basin or watercourse …is public water and public wealth of the people of the state … the control and development and use of water for all beneficial purposes is vested in the state, which shall take measures to ensure the conservation and protection of the water resources of the state.” Iowa needs strong leadership on this important issue.  Where are the voices of state officials who will take bold steps to ensure Iowa’s water resources benefit all Iowans?

Protecting the health of Iowans is not a partisan issue. Agriculture should not be exempted from all regulation, especially when conditions created by the industry negatively impact the general population. Balancing freedom in farming decisions and water quality is a critical issue in Iowa. Des Moines Water Works wants to work with state leaders to ensure the economics, social, and environmental effects of farming are balanced for future generations.

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized July 10, 2013

Remembering the Flood of 1993

flood of 1993 aerial view 2Twenty years ago – at 3:02 a.m. on July 11, 1993 – Des Moines Water Works shut down operations after the water treatment plant and general office were inundated with flood water.

It all began July 8, when 8-10 inches of rain fell in the upper Raccoon River watershed.  On July 9, the levee was closed.  At 1:00 a.m. on July 11, water started coming over the levee.  The Raccoon River crested at the historic level of 26.75 feet, 1.75 feet higher than the levee.

The dewatering process began along with restoration of the high voltage and high service pumps, chemical feeds, and refilling the distribution system.  The National Guard air-lifted equipment in and out of the treatment plant.  Staff worked round-the-clock.  The general office was re-located.  Seven days later, DMWW began pumping potable water from the Fleur Drive plant.  Customers could use the water for sanitary use on Day 12, and the water was safe to drink on Day 19.

The levee around the water treatment plant was heightened by 6 feet.  Permanent flood gates have been installed.  A second treatment plant, the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, began operation in 2000.  A third treatment plant, the Saylorville Water Treatment Plant, went online in 2011.

DMWW was forever changed by the Flood of 1993.  The product we produce daily became even more important, and our commitment to quality and service became even stronger.  The dedicated employees, tireless volunteers, and the utility’s commitment to the community allowed us to quickly recover, restore service and rebuild to bring the community safe, reliable, high quality water now and in the future.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , Posted in Flooding, History, Uncategorized July 9, 2013

Sign up for E-Statements and Receive $5.00 Rebate

credit card onlineIf you’re not already signed up for E-statements, now is the time to do so. Customers signing up for E-statements July 1 through December 31, 2013, will receive a one-time, $5.00 rebate on their water bill.  To sign up for E-statements, visit Des Moines Water Works to set up an online account.  Once logged into your account, simply select Go Paperless from the top green navigation bar.

Currently, only 5% of Des Moines Water Works’ customers receive Estatements. It costs $0.84 to print and mail just one paper statement, and DMWW’s annual expenses for printing and mailing statements is $866,000. Des Moines Water Works saves $43,000 a year with current E-statement customers, but that savings could increase significantly if more customers chose to receive e-statements.

There are many advantages to choosing to receive E-statements. They are convenient, environmentally friendly, help prevent identity theft and they help reduce costs, which in turn, helps keep water rates low.

For more information on E-statements, visit Des Moines Water Works or contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Amy Kahler 5 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Environment, Green Initiatives, Rates July 4, 2013

Avoiding Extreme Heat

woman drinking fountainMost people think of 97 degree highs when they hear the words “extreme heat,” but even temperatures in the upper 80s can cause health problems. When the temperatures are high, and especially when the humidity is high, your body’s ability to sweat and cool itself off decreases. This means that your body temperature can quickly rise to dangerous levels that can cause damage to your brain and vital organs.

Keep your home cool by following these tips:

  • Install temporary window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades or awnings. Outdoor awnings can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
  • Keep storm windows up in the summer.
  • Avoid using appliances such as washer and dryer (if on the main level), dishwasher and stove during the hottest periods of the day.

To avoid heat related illness or death, follow these simple tips:

  • Drink lots of fluids – don’t wait until you are thirsty. Avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
  • Try to limit outdoor activities to morning and evening hours. Try to rest often in shady areas to let your body cool down.
  • Never leave children or pets in a car, even if the windows are cracked or open.

The most important thing you can do is check on people you know who might be at risk, such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases, or people who are obese. Especially check on those who are reluctant to use or do not have an air conditioner. Remember, just a few hours in air conditioning can prevent heat related illness and death.

For more information, call Polk County Health Department at (515) 286-3798 or Polk County Emergency Management at (515) 286-2107.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Health