Archive for the ‘About Us’ Category

December 14, 2012

Protecting What Really Matters

View this important video about Des Moines Water Works’ locate program, water infrastructure and treatment process.

Video produced by Iowa One Call.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Customers, Water Treatment November 7, 2012

Log Cabin in Water Works Park

In early 1928, a log cabin was built to provide winter shelter for workers who were clearing the back tracts of the water supply grounds.  Nestled among the trees in the western portion of the park and built of native wood, the cabin and outdoor stone fireplace were made available to the general public when the park opened in April 1933.

An article published in the April 19, 1933, issue of the Des Moines Tribune said, “The log cabin on the Des Moines Water Works grounds is one of the most popular picnic spots in the city. Charles S. Denman, manager of the water company, said that the cabin, which was opened to the public April 1, is booked for the remainder of the season, which will end September 1. Denman said his office has had as high as 80 applications in one day for use of the cabin by Des Moines organizations.  Reservations include lodges, bridge groups, Sunday school classes, church congregations, sororities, sewing circles, and ladies’ aid societies.”

By 1955, the cabin was in such disrepair that it was torn down, but the fireplace and chimney were left and are still standing.Today the “log cabin area” is a popular spot for scouting events.

Posted by: Pat Ripley 2 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Parks November 5, 2012

Safety at Des Moines Water Works

A reliable supply of clean, healthy water to your home or business requires a lot of things and one of the most critical is Des Moines Water Works employees.  Healthy, safe workers are paramount to delivering water you can trust for life.

Des Moines Water Works has many layers of safety to protect employees as well as the public.  For example, Des Moines Water Works has a fleet of nearly 100 vehicles, so driving safety is paramount to employees as well as the public.  When you’re on Fleur Drive, downtown, a major street or residential area, watch for orange signs and cones.  They aren’t just placed there for your inconvenience.  They protect Water Works employees while working and protect the public while driving.  Water Works employees go through regular training to know federal requirements on the proper set up of these temporary traffic control situations.

Other steps taken to protect employees includes an employee safety committee, regular safety training, safety inspections and observations, accident investigations and having safety rules, policies and programs in place.  Employees receive training and reminders about driving safely from supervisors, the Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and the National Safety Council.  Employees also wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when needed.

Just like all Des Moines Water employees, buckle up, scan for hazards, and watch your speed.  Safety is everybody’s business!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customers, Employees October 29, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Water Treatment Operator

At Des Moines Water Works, Process Control Operators are essential to providing safe and reliable drinking water to 500,000 customers throughout central Iowa. It isn’t just a job. It matters. Like police officers, fire fighters, and other emergency personal that work to keep our cities safe, water treatment operators are needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure public health in central Iowa.

Please view this short video to learn more about Process Control Operators at Des Moines Water Works.

There are many career opportunities available in water treatment. With some education and experience, an individual can earn their water treatment licenses enabling them to climb the career ladder. If you think you would enjoy a career in water, DMACC offers a Water Environmental Technology program that provides the skills and ability to become a water treatment operator.  For more information, visit

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees October 23, 2012

Des Moines Water Works Announces 2013 Budget and Zero Rate Increase for Most Customers

DES MOINES, Iowa (October 23, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 calendar year budget, which includes a zero rate increase for Des Moines and wholesale water customers.  In some communities served by Des Moines Water Works – such as unincorporated Polk County, Pleasant Hill, Cumming, Alleman and Runnells –  who have more significant infrastructure needs, Des Moines Water Works has increased rates for residential customers by five percent.

The proposed budget includes $50.4 million of operating revenue.  Operating expenses are budgeted at $33.3 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $19.4 million.  The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2013 budget on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.

“The Board’s actions are the result of significant efforts by staff to reduce costs during a period of difficult economic challenges for our customers,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manger, Des Moines Water Works.  “However, a zero rate increase will not likely be repeated as the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utilities’ infrastructure and rate increases more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering water.”

For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 water rate structure, visit  New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2013, for those customers with rate increases.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates October 8, 2012

Fire Hydrant Importance

October is Fire Prevention Month.  Des Moines Water Works collaborates with City of Des Moines Fire Department and other communities’ fire departments to properly maintain fire hydrants.

There are more than 10,000 hydrants in the Des Moines Water Works distribution system, and while fire hydrants are a familiar sight, we should all be aware of the importance of each hydrant to the community – not only for firefighting, but also for operation and maintenance of the water system.

Because they are so important, the fire hydrants in Des Moines Water Works distribution system receive a lot of attention.  Each public fire hydrant receives regular maintenance on a three-year rotating schedule. In addition, each year in the fall, every fire hydrant is inspected to ensure it is not holding water that could freeze and to confirm that it has not been hit by vehicles or damaged in some other way.  Most hydrants in the system are designed to break away if they are hit by a vehicle.  This reduces damage to the vehicle and the hydrant and allows the hydrant to be returned to service quickly.

Des Moines Water Works is responsible for maintenance of the fire hydrants that fire fighters use to protect our community. Help the local fire department and Des Moines Water Works by following these simple tips to keep fire hydrants working properly and accessible when they are needed:

  • Keep cars, bikes, toys and other objects away from fire hydrants at all times.
  • During winter months, shovel snow away from fire hydrants.
  • Mow and trim grass or weeds around fire hydrants near your property.
  • Do not plant flowers or shrubs around fire hydrants.
  • Do not paint fire hydrants – the color of the fire hydrant is indicative of water flow available for fire protection.

Unauthorized use of a hydrant can cause significant damage to the distribution system, the hydrant and your home or business plumbing.  Additionally, it may cause damage to our water supply. Any unauthorized use of a fire hydrant may result in a $1,500 fine and misdemeanor charges.

If you notice a damaged fire hydrant or witness suspicious activity near a fire hydrant, please call Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.  Your call is important to the fire protection of your home, business and others around you.

Tip: Do you know why the tops or “bonnets” of fire hydrants are painted different colors? Learn here.

Posted by: Ted Corrigan 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Infrastructure October 1, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Water Production Laborer

Meet Joe.  Joe is a Water Production Laborer for Des Moines Water Works.  He says a day in the life of a water production laborer is anything but boring.

From fall to spring, you will find Joe and other laborers in the underground water basins.  Here, he drains the four million gallons of water each basin holds and hoses down everything so that it is clean to work in.  He then makes any necessary repairs and continues with preventive maintenance after that.  The basin crew then fills it back up with water and move on to the next basin.

In the late spring and summer months, Joe is out of the basins for the season.  Water production laborers then assist maintenance mechanics and utility mechanics on many different projects at all the different sites Des Moines Water Works manages.  This can be quite diverse.  One day you may be hanging from a crane hook lowered 30 feet underground and the next day you could be helping install new sleeves and bearings on a 21,000 GPM pump.  Along with variety of task, the position also requires working at various sites, such as the Fleur Drive, L.D. McMullen or Saylorville Water Treatment Plants.

Joe says, “I am able to do a multitude of different things at many different sites around the Des Moines metro area.   Being a Water Production Laborer has also provided me with the opportunity to learn new skills.  That is why I have enjoyed my career in water at Des Moines Water Works.”

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees September 24, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Control Center Operator

Des Moines Water Works has been providing safe drinking water to Des Moines since 1871. Today, Des Moines Water Works serves approximately 500,000 people throughout the Des Moines metro area. Few people realize the importance of providing citizens with safe and reliable drinking water. Like police officers, fire fighters, and other emergency personal that work to keep our cities safe, proper water operators are needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure public health in central Iowa.

At Des Moines Water Works, there is a Control Center Operator always on duty managing the treatment of the water at all three of Des Moines Water Works’ treatment plants. They also monitor and control the distribution system, which includes 10 pumping stations, 12 booster stations, and 25 water towers throughout the Des Moines metro area.

Depending on the time of day, the priorities of the operator varies. Operators that work the day shift perform numerous processes for cleaning water and replenishing the distribution system.  The evening shift operator’s goal is to monitor the distribution system to keep it regulated. The overnight operator focuses on refilling the water towers for the morning rush.

The peak demand for water is usually Monday-Friday from 5:00 am to 10:00 am. The demand will then pick back up during the evening when people get home from work. During the summer, the demand is also high towards the end of the evening when businesses and homeowners typically irrigate lawns. It is important to keep water storage facilities filled for optimal water pressure throughout the distribution system and for use during fire fighting.

The day shift operator also manages chemical deliveries at three treatment plants, which is done remotely from the control center at the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant. There may also be requests from other utility employees related to maintenance of the treatment plants. The overnight shift operator’s responsibility is to prepare the treatment plants for the next day, such as updating all of the logs.

To handle all that needs to be taken care of, Control Center Operators must be able to prioritize all of the requests and duties that they face each shift. They must be able to multitask and handle an emergency in a calm manor.  Each shift is different than the one before, but Des Moines Water Works Control Center Operators understand that their role is vital to the health of residents of Des Moines and surrounding areas.

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees September 3, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Water Works Park Police Officer

Meet Dean.  Dean is a Des Moines Water Works Park Police Officer and has been helping visitors of Water Works Park for over six years.  Park Police Officers keep Water Works Park safe for patrons and address any questions or concerns that visitors may have. But that isn’t all that they do.

The officers also provide security for the park at Maffitt Reservoir and other Des Moines Water Works facilities – including water towers and storage facilities located throughout the Des Moines metro area. They also respond to alarms or suspicious activity that may occur at Des Moines Water Works operated facilities.

Many organizations – Make-a-Wish Foundation’s Jolly Holiday Lights and HyVee Fishing Derby, to name a few – hold their events at Water Works Park, and the Park Officers assist with making each event safe and successful.

Des Moines Water Works Park Officers have been employed as police officers, so they are able to respond and provide assistance to incidents that may occur, such as assaults, car chases, lost people and pets. Citizens can also contact a Park Officer about a complaint or suspicious activity at a Des Moines Water Works facility or property.

Dean sees a lot of traffic – walkers/joggers, cars and bus tours – at Water Works Park during the spring, especially the weeks of the annual crabapple bloom in the Arie den Boer Arboretum.  He also enjoys seeing the horseback riders on the bridle trail – a unique sight to see inside the city, as well as the many personal events, like wedding ceremonies and family reunions.

Water Works Park hours are 6:00 am-10:00 pm. Maffitt Reservoir Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). For a complete list of park rules and regulations, visit

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, Parks August 30, 2012

Water Works Park Receives Grant from Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Leadership Circle

Des Moines Water Works has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Leadership Circle.

“Recreating Water Works Park will bring more vitality to the Greater Des Moines metro area.  The Leadership Circle is pleased to provide funding that will ensure the success of the Water Works Park renovation master plan,” said Barry Griswell, Chair of the Leadership Circle and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation.

Water Works Park is 1,500 acres located near downtown Des Moines and one of the nation’s largest urban parks.  Current recreational uses of the park include walking/running, hiking and nature/bird watching.  The park is home to Arie den Boer Arboretum, one of the world’s largest collections of flowering crab apple trees.  The park also hosts several community events – including Jolly Holiday Lights and the Hy-Vee Fishing Derby– as well numerous private events.  Water Works Park is bisected by the Raccoon River and a three mile long infiltration gallery, which is a major source of raw water for the Fleur Drive water treatment plant which provides drinking water for the Des Moines metro area.

“The Community Foundation Leadership Circle grant is a significant contribution to the funding of the master plan to re-envision and renovate Water Works Park into an education and recreation destination,” said Randy Beavers, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works.  “The Water Works master plan will highlight opportunities for education and emphasize the role water plays in the community, as well as incorporate additional recreational features throughout the park.

Des Moines Water Works, in collaboration with Iowa State University Department of Landscape Architecture, hosted an international design competition in 2011 to reinvent Water Works Park.  Sasaki Associates, with RDG Planning & Design and Applied Ecological Services, was selected as the Parkitecture competition winner out of 44 proposals.

It is expected the design team and Des Moines Water Works will begin developing the master plan this fall.  The process will include public outreach and community involvement.

For more information on the Water Works Park plan, visit the project website at


About Des Moines Water Works

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a municipal water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 500,000 people). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.  Des Moines Water Works also operates Water Works Park – 1,500 acres of land near downtown Des Moines, and one of the nation’s largest urban parks.

About the Community Foundation Leadership Circle
The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Leadership Circle is a group comprised of donors who have created a substantial endowment that supports projects or causes that provide long-term community impact and address the most critical needs in Greater Des Moines. Leadership Circle donors pledge $2 million through initial contributions and deferred gifts. Backed by its funding ability, the Leadership Circle provides grants to projects that provide significant community enhancements.

Leadership Circle Members Include:  Sunnie Richer & Roger Brooks, Suzie Glazer Burt, Patty & Jim Cownie, Richard L. Deming, M.D., Michele & Barry Griswell, Charlotte & Fred S. Hubbell, Sharon & Kyle J. Krause, Jill & Mark Oman and Emily & Fred Weitz

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks