Archive for the ‘About Us’ Category

May 5, 2020

Can’t Pay? Let’s Talk.

The availability of safe water supply is critically important to the public health of our community, especially under unprecedented circumstances such as these. Water supports healthcare professionals and many essential businesses during the pandemic. And proper hand-washing is an important step in curbing community spread of COVID-19. 

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) understands this is a difficult time for many customers. We have worked to offer a customer-focused response that balances sensitivity to our customers’ situations with sustainable utility operations.

In mid-March, DMWW temporarily suspended service termination for delinquent accounts during this public health emergency. Customers will still receive termination notices so they are aware of their delinquent balance, but a message has been added to the bill stating that disconnections have been temporarily suspended. 

It is very important for customers who receive a termination notice and are struggling to pay their bill to call DMWW at (515) 283-8700.  DMWW customer service representatives are experienced in working with customers to discuss available options, like payment arrangements or connecting customers with other resources.

Payment arrangements are a collection assistance program that DMWW offers at all times to eligible customers. It is important that customers honor their commitment to pay or communicate with a customer service representative proactively when they are unable to do so in order to remain eligible for this assistance.

Des Moines Water Works also has limited customer assistance funds, known as Project H2O, for which customers may qualify.  More information about this fund can be found at www.dmww.com/customer-service/project-h20

As the COVID-19 pandemic eases, DMWW will resume terminating service for customers with delinquent, unpaid balances.  Customers with delinquent balances should be aware their service could be terminated when normal operations resume, unless they have called to make arrangements with a customer service representative.  

During this time, please remember Des Moines Water Works’ General Office remains closed to the public. In-home customer service visits and backflow inspection visits are temporarily suspended, unless an emergency.

While walk-in customer service is temporarily suspended, Des Moines Water Works offers a variety of opportunities for your payment and customer service needs:

  • Phone:  Please call (515) 283-8700, and a Customer Service Representative is available to assist you Monday-Friday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Pay by electronic check (no fee) or credit card ($2.75 convenience fee).
  • Online Account:  Login to online account to pay by recurring credit card, direct pay or electronic check (no fees) or credit card ($2.75 convenience fee).
  • Drop Box:  Place bill stub and payment in the payment drop box located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.
  • Mail:  Mail bill stub and payment to PO Box 9227, Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9227.
  • Pay Stations:  Customers may make monthly payment at most local HyVee and Wal-Mart stores. The pay station may charge a fee for this service; however, these fees are not collected by Des Moines Water Works.

For more information about Des Moines Water Works’ COVID-19 repsonse, visit: http://www.dsmh2o.com/des-moines-water-works-response-to-covid-19/

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Uncategorized April 13, 2020

Des Moines Water Works’ Response to COVID-19

 

The water we deliver to your tap is safe to drink.

Des Moines Water Works’ multiple-barrier approach and traditional disinfection methods used to meet state and federal drinking water regulations require treatment to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water.

On any given day, Des Moines Water Works’ state certified laboratory conducts 50 to 60 tests on our various source waters and another 150 to 200 tests to ensure the highest quality of water is produced.

The laboratory doesn’t just test for federally regulated contaminants, we also take great pride in monitoring and testing for emerging and unregulated threats so that we can stay ahead of potential health risks.

Des Moines Water Works has plans in place to handle variety of emergency situations and pandemics.

Des Moines Water Works was one of the first water utilities in America to begin sequestering critical staff at its water treatment plant as part of our response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan was created by staff over 10 years ago for situations just like we are experiencing today.

Beginning in late March, Des Moines Water Works sequestered employees at each of our three water treatment plants for two weeks at time.  The critical staff includes operations, maintenance, repair, controls, supervision, and regulatory compliance employees to ensure a continuous supply of safe and reliable water to serve Central Iowa during these unprecedented circumstances.

During this time, please remember the following:

  • Our General Office remains closed to the public.
  • In-home customer service visits and backflow inspection visits are temporarily suspended, unless an emergency.
  • Please log-in to your online customer account at www.dmww.com or contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 to assist you with payment.
  • And because proper sanitation is important to curb community spread of the virus, Des Moines Water Works will temporarily suspend service termination for delinquent accounts.
  • While the General Office is closed, customers can continue to make payments. Customers can contact us to make a pay arrangement so their water is not terminated immediately when the suspension is lifted.

Des Moines Water Works field crews will continue maintaining and repairing the infrastructure that supports the water system, including responding to main breaks and planned improvement projects.

Water you can trust for life. It’s not just our motto, it’s our mission that guides everything we do when it comes to providing over 500,000 Central Iowans safe, affordable and abundant drinking water straight to their tap.

So have a glass water. Wash your hands. Stay home. Thank an essential worker. We’re all in this together. And together, we are #DSMStrong.

Many in the community have asked how to express appreciation for our Water Workers. Take a moment to write or draw your #ThankAWaterWorker.

You can scan or take a picture of your note and e-mail to [email protected] or mail to 2201 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines 50321.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Value of Water October 25, 2019

Des Moines Water Works: Celebrating 100 Years and Planning for the Next 100 Years

The first meeting of the independent Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines was held on November 13, 1919.  For 100 years, Des Moines Water Works has been an independently-operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing in Central Iowa by providing safe, affordable and abundant drinking water.

To celebrate 100 years of serving Central Iowa and planning for the next 100 years, Des Moines Water Works is hosting two public open houses and treatment plant tours for customers to get a “behind the scenes” look at the treatment process at the historic Fleur Drive Treatment Plant that produces and delivers water 24 hours, 365 days a year.

The public is invited to follow along on the treatment process from “River to Tap” on Saturday, November 2. Two times are available for the open houses and treatment plant tours:

  • 9:30-11:30 am
  • 12:30-2:30 pm

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Pre-register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/des-moines-water-works-100-year-anniversary-open-house-and-treatment-plant-tour-tickets-77542109537.

“From the very beginning, Des Moines Water Works’ mission was to protect public health by providing safe and affordable drinking water,” said Ted Corrigan, Interim CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.  “From expanding the distribution system for fire protection in the early 1900s to meeting the drinking water needs of 500,000 central Iowans and the region’s thriving economy, Des Moines Water Works’ mission remains the same as it was 100 years ago and will guide us in meeting water needs for the next generation.”

A few highlights of Des Moines Water Works 100-year history include (but not limited to):

  • Expanded treatment technologies to meet the growing Central Iowa community and vast water quality concerns;
  • Built two additional treatment plants for added water supply and redundancy after the historic Flood of 1993;
  • Worked with neighboring communities to meet their customer needs – including the first suburban customer of Urbandale in 1934;
  • Continued investment and advocacy for source water protection in Iowa – including two 1,500-acre public parks – to protect drinking water sources.

View Des Moines Water Works History 1871-1919

View Des Moines Water Works History 1920-1950

For a complete Des Moines Water Works history, visit http://www.dmww.com/about-us/history/

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees July 17, 2019

2019 Citizen Water Academy

Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for 100 years; however, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring, and challenges presented by deteriorating source water are not common knowledge among most citizens. Des Moines Water Works is hosting the third annual Citizen Water Academy – a free, four-session crash course about the history, use and management of water in the central Iowa region. 

The Citizen Water Academy is designed to help community members learn and appreciate our most important natural resource – the water we depend on for life. Selected participants will receive 16 hours of instruction, tour multiple treatment plants operated by Des Moines Water Works, listen to presentations from soil, water and environmental professionals, and interact with Des Moines Water Works staff over the four sessions of this program. It is the goal that participants not only come away from the Academy with a better understanding of their local water utility, but are also equipped to help lead the conversation on important water issues now and in the future.

“You covered a lot of information in a short amount of time. 
I’m impressed with the program.”

– Katie Rock, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner; Citizen Water Academy 2018 graduate

The previous Water Academy cohorts included participants from all backgrounds – Des Moines Water Works customers, Des Moines area city councilmembers and staff, county supervisors, young professionals, writers, teachers, and more.  For more information and to apply to be a part of the 2019 Citizen Water Academy class, visit www.CitizenWaterAcademy.com.

“Excellent speakers with quality information. This will help me be a much better citizen and advocate.”

 – Patricia Prijatel, Drake Professor Emerita and health writer; Citizen Water Academy 2018 graduate

Candidates must commit to attending all four sessions:

Session 1: Thursday, October 24, 1:00-5:15 pm

Session 2: Thursday, October 31, 1:00-5:30 pm

Session 3: Wednesday, November 6, 1:00-5:00 pm​

Session 4 and Graduation: Wednesday, November 13, 1:00-5:00 pm

The deadline to apply is September 20, 2019. Des Moines Water Works staff will review all applications, give consideration to ensure the class composition is diverse and regionally balanced, and select no more than 24 candidates.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Customers, Value of Water May 2, 2019

DMWW Community Partnerships

Des Moines Water Works is committed to being a vital contributor to the betterment of our community. Each year, sponsorship applications are considered from community organizations that advance the utility’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives. Since 2015, Des Moines Water Works has provided $84,500 in cash sponsorships and $30,000 in in-kind technical assistance to local organizations or academia with environmental studies, curriculum or events designed to build appreciation for the value of water or increase research and awareness for source water quality and quantity. In 2018, a few of those local organizations Des Moines Water Works sponsored include:

Our Water Our Land Video Series – With Des Moines Water Works’ sponsorship, Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center produced 30 educational videos that include timely, interesting, and honest information about a range of important social, political, and economic issues. Our Water Our Land video series brings a more educational, thought provoking, and balanced discussion on water quality and soil health. More information: www.aglawcenter.wp.drake.edu/our-water.

Polk County/Beaver Creek Watershed Management Authority – As a large watershed feeding Des Moines Water Works’ river source, Des Moines Water Works provided sponsorship dollars to Polk County in support of a Beaver Creek comprehensive watershed plan. Watershed Management Authorities and their planning and management within a watershed is integral to water quality improvement in Iowa.

Water Rocks! – An award-winning education program through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Water Rocks! helps students, teachers and parents learn the science of water quality through music. Des Moines Water Works provided sponsorship dollars in order to bring their exciting program into Des Moines Public Schools. More information:
www.waterrocks.org.

In addition, you may have seen a Des Moines Water Works mobile water stations at a recent community event, festival or charity. Since 2012, Des Moines Water Works has provided free mobile water stations to more than 20 events each year, including the Downtown Farmers Market, Des Moines Arts Festival, 80/35 Music Festival, and Iowa State Fair Parade. These mobile water stations encourage visitors to bring their own reusable water bottles to events to stay hydrated and eliminate bottled beverage waste.

Des Moines Water Works thanks all its community partners working to provide important programs supporting safe and affordable drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Education, Value of Water January 10, 2019

Water Regionalization Update

Des Moines Water Works has been an independent water utility since 1919. For 100 years, it has provided Des Moines with safe and abundant drinking water that has allowed the city to flourish. Since 1934, Des Moines Water Works has been providing drinking water to central Iowa communities outside of the city of Des Moines, helping the entire region grow and providing savings through economies of scale.

While Des Moines Water Works currently acts as the primary regional producer of water, we believe current and future challenges for producing water could be better met through expanded representation and involvement in decision-making, rate-setting, and capital planning, and by more equitably sharing costs and spreading the assumption of risk among the people and governments of the region.

In recent years, Des Moines Water Works has worked alongside its suburban wholesale customers to find appropriate ways that they could be included in important ratemaking and planned infrastructure decisions. Over the past two years, these discussions have been formalized and professionally facilitated by FCS Group of Redmond, Washington, with the goal of providing a pathway to create a regional water production authority for central Iowa that maximizes water resource management.

The formal discussions between three local independent water utilities (Des Moines Water Works, Urbandale Water Utility and West Des Moines Water Works) and surrounding communities have been beneficial. Each community and entity brings its own unique perspective and specific needs to the table, and after spending hundreds of hours listening and discussing these important issues, we are all more aware of each community’s needs regarding water now and into the future. At the same time, other communities and water producers are still actively pursuing new water production expansion of their own, which only complicates matters even more.

The good news is that the lines of communication between all parties remain open and productive. Des Moines Water Works will continue to invest time and resources to find a solution that will benefit the community at large. Safe and abundant drinking water is not just a necessity for continued economic growth in our area, but it is a vital necessity for life itself.

While an acceptable model for expanded regional governance of and participation in water production in central Iowa has yet to be developed, Des Moines Water Works remains committed to working with all parties interested in exploring ways to increase participation and representation in the governance of water production.

As we continue to explore water production solutions for the region, we will keep you updated on public meetings and important information. View information from the process thus far at: 
www.dmww.com/about-us/board-of-trustees/central-iowa-regional-water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees September 19, 2018

Critical Infrastructure Upgrades Since 1993

Water is one of the most useful things on Earth and also one the most powerful. As the Des Moines metro area prepared to celebrate 25 years of progress from the historic Flood of 1993, residents once again witnessed firsthand the devastating force of nature during the flash flooding of late June 2018, with pockets of the metro area receiving 6 to 10 inches in a matter of hours. Tributaries of the Raccoon River and Des Moines River reached record or near-record levels. The localized flash flooding caused significant damage to many homes and businesses.

After monitoring river projections through the late evening, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) staff began flood preparations for the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant in the early morning hours of July 1. While the Raccoon River at Fleur Drive did not reach record stages like the Flood ’93, the physical and informational changes made since 1993 have been tested numerous times:

  • Levees surrounding the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant were built up an additional 6 feet.
  • Flood gates were installed around Fleur Drive Treatment Plant and George Flagg Parkway General Office.
  • Stormwater upgrades inside Fleur Drive Treatment Plant were made to protect against internal flooding during heaving rains.
  • Access to the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant during a flood event were improved with the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway interchange construction.
  • Critical support functions at the General Office were relocated to ensure access of important data.
  • Two additional water treatment plants – L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir and Saylorville Water Treatment Plant – were built to create redundancy in our water treatment capabilities.
  • Three Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells were also constructed to provide redundancy.
  • Real-time river data from United States Geological Survey, National Weather Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were made available. The availability to this important data is invaluable to staff for emergency planning and preparation.

(photo of Fleur Drive Treatment Plant flood gates during 2008 flood)

With these critical infrastructure upgrades, Des Moines Water Works is able to remain committed to providing safe, affordable and abundant water service, even in times of crisis.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Flooding, Infrastructure September 10, 2018

Gallery ‘Flooding Station’ 100 Years Old

Des Moines Water Works Fleur Drive Treatment Plant has the option of three different sources of raw water. The first and best source is a shallow groundwater collection system called the Infiltration Gallery. The Gallery system is a three-mile long, porous pipe constructed with concrete rings. The gallery runs parallel to the Raccoon River in Water Works Park from SW 46th Street to Fleur Drive. It collects naturally-filtered water from the sand and gravel of the river valley. The concrete rings are four and five feet in diameter and two feet long and are held slightly apart so water can trickle into the pipe. The Gallery system at Des Moines Water Works dates back to 1884, when the first 260 feet was constructed. By 1910, over 6,000 feet of Gallery had been excavated and placed in service.

Prior to 1910, when Des Moines’ water supply was deficient, trenches were dug in nearby sandbars or whole surfaces of sandbars were cleaned off to allow them to flood at a shallow depth and augment the water supply to the Gallery. After Gallery extensions were made in 1910, “emergency filters” were also constructed to collect water for infiltration. Thus began the construction of the current ponds in Water Works Park to augment the water supply to the Gallery.

During the drought of 1916 and after, extremely low water levels were artificially increased using a temporary pumping station to pump water from the Raccoon River onto a low-lying area. About five million gallons per day (mgd) were pumped onto the ground to flood an area of about four acres. Since this worked so effectively at increasing water supplies in the Gallery, it was decided to build a permanent pumping station at this location in 1918. It was placed into service in February 1919, and contained two motor-driven centrifugal pumps that could each pump 5 mgd. Since it was originally used to flood the land, it became known as a ‘flooding station,’ not pumping station.

One interesting fact about the Gallery flooding station is who the architect was: Norman T. Vorse. Mr. Vorse was a well-known architect of the time. He designed many Des Moines landmarks, including Court Avenue Bridge, Des Moines Municipal Courthouse (now the home of Des Moines Police Department) and Hoyt-Sherman Auditorium.

The Infiltration Gallery provided all the water to the Des Moines area until 1949. Increased water demand required construction of an intake on the Raccoon River in 1949, and the drought of 1977 precipitated construction of an intake on the Des Moines River in 1980. Today, the Infiltration Gallery system provides the first 20 million gallons of water each day, and a century later, the flooding station is still in use.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in About Us, Infrastructure, Source Water August 1, 2018

2018 Citizen Water Academy

Though Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for almost 100 years, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring and challenges presented by contaminated source water are not common knowledge among most citizens.  With water quality on the minds of Central Iowans, Des Moines Water Works is hosting it’s second annual Citizen Water Academy of Central Iowa in an effort to engage the public in more detail about the evolution of drinking water and understand plans for the future that meet the growing needs of our community. Last year, DMWW hosted 24 participants in the inaugural Citizen Water Academy.

The Citizen Water Academy of Central Iowa is designed to help current and emerging leaders in our community learn and appreciate our most important natural resource; the water we depend on for life.  Attendees will receive 16 hours of instruction, tour multiple treatment plants operated by Des Moines Water Works, listen to presentations from soil and water professionals, and interact with our expert Des Moines Water Works staff over the four sessions of this program.  It is our hope that participants not only come away from the Water Academy with a better understanding of their local water utility, but are also equipped to help lead the debate on important water issues now and in the future.

What to Expect

All sessions are held at Des Moines Water Works general office.

Session 1: Wednesday, October 10, 1:00-5:00 pm

Theme: Imagine a Day Without Water

Session 2: Thursday, October 25, 1:00-5:30 pm

Theme: What is the value of clean water?

Session 3: Thursday, November 1, 1:00-5:00 pm

Theme: Working to protect source water

Session 4 and Graduation: Wednesday, November 7, 1:00-5:00 pm

Theme: Putting knowledge into practice

There is no tuition, fee, or charge to apply to attend the Citizen Water Academy.  For more information on the Citizen Water Academy and to apply to be a part of the 2018 class.  For more information and to apply, visit www.citizenwateracademy.com

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service January 18, 2018

Community Partnerships

Des Moines Water Works is committed to being a vital contributor to the betterment of our community.  Each year, we consider contributions and sponsorships with external organizations that advance the utility’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives.  In 2017, Des Moines Water Works provided over $13,000 to local organizations with curriculum or events designed to build awareness and appreciation for the value of water as a vital resource or build awareness for source water quality and quantity.  A few of these organizations include: Community Youth Concepts, Polk County Conservation, Water Rocks! and Whiterock Conservancy.

More information about Des Moines Water Works’ sponsorship program and an online sponsorship application is available at www.dmww.com/about-us/sponsorships. All requests for in-kind and/or financial support must be made by February 28 of each year using the online form.

Des Moines Water Works thanks its community partners working to provide education, appreciation for and accessibility of safe and affordable drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in About Us, Customers