Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ CategoryApril 20, 2017
State Representative Jarad Klein is making a last ditch effort to dismantle Des Moines Water Works by sneaking the language from House File 484 into House File 655, which deals with the Local Option Sales Tax for our schools. It’s bad enough that some in the legislature felt compelled to meddle with local independent utilities, but to try and pass legislation that would impact 500,000 people in central Iowans without people knowing about it is simply wrong. Contact your state representative and tell them to stop playing games with your local water utility.
Last week, Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission (CIRDWC) passed a resolution opposing the legislation that would dissolve independent water utilities in Des Moines, Urbandale, and West Des Moines. CIRDWC also sent the below letter to State Representatives.
The Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission (CIRDWC) respectfully requests that you vote “no” if asked to support HF484, a bill that dissolves the water utility boards of Urbandale, West Des Moines and Des Moines.
Central Iowa currently has a commission to further regionalization — CIRDWC, a coalition of metro area public water suppliers which are already collaborating on regionalization plans. The role of CIRDWC in the coming months will be elevated even further as we endeavor to regionalize.
- Regionalization is extremely complex and must be left to water professionals. CIRDWC has taken a methodical, data-driven approach to regionalization thus far: production, distribution, permitting, demand projections and asset management decisions are extremely complex and must be left to water professionals—those who have decades of experience in the field.
- Regionalization should not be forced onto communities that may not be able to afford it. Forced regionalization, if mandated by state law, may force communities to contribute millions of dollars to buy in. Costly and important decisions such as this must be left to local control within the communities.
- Regionalization is a local interest and should be addressed by local water professionals and leaders who are knowledgeable of the intricacies of our systems and communities, and who wish to work in a collaborative manner towards improved source water quality.
- Dissolution of the water utility boards and transferring assets and operation into their respective cities as a step toward regionalization is unnecessary. The current bill would dissolve the utility boards of Des Moines, Urbandale and West Des Moines. Nothing is gained by moving the utilities from their current structure to a city department. The forced transition of finances, contracts, employee benefits, etc. will create months of work and chaos not to mention the costs that would be borne by the ratepayers.
Thank you for your time and for your opposition to HF484 and/or any amendments concerning regionalization.
22 Members of Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission
DES MOINES, Iowa (March 14, 2017) – More than two-thirds of registered voters in the Des Moines metro oppose legislation that would disband the independent governing boards of the Des Moines, Urbandale and West Des Moines water works, and turn over management of the water utility and its assets to their local city councils.
The poll commissioned by the Des Moines Water Works, and conducted by Harper Polling from March 9–12, shows 68 percent of respondents oppose House File 484, while only 15 percent favor the controversial bill that is making its way through the Iowa legislature.
“The poll confirms what we have believed all along, that the legislation is a solution in search of a problem that does not exist,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “Metro utilities have done an outstanding job for decades of planning and implementing the supply, treatment, and transmissions projects necessary to ensure everyone in the metro has access to quality water in adequate quantities at reasonable rates.”
In addition to surveying residents’ attitudes toward proposed legislation, the poll also found an overwhelming 85 percent of respondents rated the quality of and access to water as “good” or “excellent.” An equally impressive 86 percent of voters rated the quality of service provided by their water utility as either “good” or “excellent.”
Voters are also clear in who they believe is best qualified to manage their local water utility. A clear majority (55%), believe an independent board of trustees is better suited to manage a water utility than their local city council (23%). This is a topic that bridges political and ideological divides with majorities of Republicans (51%), Democrats (59%), and Independents (55%).
Voters also believe this is an issue that is best dealt with by local residents and not the state legislature. A staggering 88 percent of voters believe that people who live in the community should have the final say over whether or not to remove an independent utility, not the state legislature (5%).
Click the links below to view the full poll results:
House File 484 is a bill that would disband the governing boards of the Des Moines, Urbandale, and West Des Moines water works. If signed into law, these three independent utilities would be forced to turn over management and their assets to the city councils in each city.
This is a diversion
- There is no drinking water quality crisis in the Des Moines metro area that would necessitate the state legislature stepping in.
- The real problem is source water quality in the state. The Legislature should be focused on water quality – not local water production.
- Metro utilities have done an outstanding job for decades of planning and implementing the supply, treatment, and transmissions projects necessary to ensure everyone in the metro has access to quality water in adequate quantities at reasonable rates.
- This legislation stands in stark contrast to Home Rule (the right for local self-government)
- Iowa Code Chapter 388, states that a city may establish or dispose of a city utility, but it is subject to the approval of the voters of the city.
- This legislation takes the right to vote out of the hands of the citizens of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Urbandale.
- Approximately 15 years ago, West Des Moines asked the citizens of West Des Moines to vote on dissolving their water board. More than 90% of the voters said no. This legislation will allow them to take over the utility without it going to the voters.
- This is clearly an effort to bypass existing law and the will of the people.
Current version of the bill doesn’t even address regionalization
- The amended bill doesn’t create a regional water authority, which was ostensibly the reason for the original legislation.
- Regionalization, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. This is why a coalition of 22 metro water utilities commissioned a study in 2014.
- House File 484 would dismantle in an instant all of our accomplishments today. The metro water utilities will find a solution to our region’s future water needs by continuing the dialogue, not dismantling what has already been done.
Why water boards were set up independently
- Water utility boards were set up independent from city councils for a reason – to protect a public health necessity from politics. Simply stated, it is an independent local water utility owned by its customers and it works, and has worked for 100 years.
- There is absolutely no need to dismantle the water boards in the metro area that have decades of experience of delivering safe and affordable drinking water, and have long histories of financial diligence that have resulted in healthy water systems at relatively affordable rates.
- Currently, water rates are reinvested in the water system, funding imperative capital improvements – for example, over $3 million this year in water main replacement projects for Des Moines.
- It is no secret the City of Des Moines needs new revenue sources. If assets, responsibilities and revenue are transferred to City of Des Moines, portions of water rates could be funneled to the general fund of City of Des Moines, circumventing needed infrastructure plans.
- Takes the management of delivering safe and affordable drinking water from professionals and puts in the hands of politicians.
Why you should stand against HF 484
- This is a solution looking for a non-existent problem.
- The legislature is sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
- The proposed legislation actually impedes the regions ability to create a regional water authority.
- House File 484 sets a dangerous precedent for all of Iowa’s 500 independent utilities boards.
- Legislation could impede economic growth as it puts a freeze planning and construction of new water treatment facilities.
- House File 484 is an example of politics at its worst. This legislation is clearly retaliation for the Clean Water Lawsuit, and shows no regard to the 500,000 people who depend on Des Moines Water Works for clean and affordable drinking water ever day.
- As we saw in Flint, Michigan, when financially strained cities make decisions for purely economic reasons, the results can be catastrophic.
Winter weather brings the threat of frozen pipes. The following tips will help prevent your pipes from freezing:
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Let cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. To safely and effectively thaw frozen water pipes, you must first diagnose where the pipe is frozen.
- Start by checking water flow at every faucet in the house, including the bathtub faucets. This will help you determine the area of the blockage. If no water flows from the kitchen sink but the water in the bathroom sink works, then you are probably dealing with an isolated problem. Once you have figured out which faucets are affected by the frozen line you can figure out which pipe may be frozen.
- Locate the main water shut-off valve, which could be located in the basement. It is important to shut off the water prior to thawing the pipes as a pipe may already have broken under the extreme pressure caused by the frozen line.
- Now that the water is turned off, you have a few options to thaw the pipe. One is to use towels soaked in hot water. Wrap the frozen pipe with hot, wet towels and pour on additional hot water until the pipe has completely thawed. If the hot towel approach does not work, a hair dryer or heat gun may be the next solution. Turn on the dryer or heat gun and work up and down the length of the frozen line. Once the water starts to thaw and trickle out of the faucet, if you are sure the blockage hasn’t caused a broken pipe, you can turn the main water supply back on. Keep working with the heat source and keep the water faucet turned on until full water pressure is restored.
If no water flows from any of the faucets in the house, you are probably dealing with a frozen water service line that supplies water to the house. Turn on all faucets in the sinks and bathtub and turn off the main water supply. Follow the suggestions above but apply the heat directly to the pipe that enters the house.
Never use a heat source with an open flame, such as a blowtorch or propane heater, to thaw a frozen water line as an open flame in a home can present a serious fire hazard as well as the possibility of exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, excessive heat from a blowtorch applied to a frozen pipe can cause the water inside the pipe to boil and possibly explode.
If your pipes have frozen once, chances are they will freeze again. Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of your water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without cause the pipe to break.
- Wrap outside water pipes or water pipes located under the house or crawl spaces with an insulation material such as
newspaper or electric heat tape taking special care to cover all elbow joints, valve bodies, tees and any other fittings.
- If you are going on vacation during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
Des Moines Water Works staff has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2017 calendar year budget, which includes revenue from 2017 rate increases for all service areas. The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2017 budget on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.
The Board approved a 10 percent rate increase for most customers at their October meeting. The rate increase equates to an additional $2.78 per month for water charges for a four-person household (using 7,500 gallons) in Des Moines. Alleman customers will see a 15 percent rate increase based on capital improvements made to their water system. In addition, a five percent increase for the Wholesale With Storage rate was approved. The rate increases will result in approximately $3.3 million of increased water revenue for 2017. New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2017. For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2017 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.
The proposed 2017 budget includes $62 million of operating revenue. Additional funding from outside entities of nearly $16 million will fund joint projects.
The proposed 2017 operating expenses are budgeted at $41.6 million, an increase of $1 million from 2016, primarily due to increases in labor and benefits and plant maintenance expenses. Capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $29.6 million. Additional funding sources of $16 million leaves approximately $13.6 million of capital projects to be funded from the utility’s revenues. This compares to approximately $10.7 million of capital projects budgeted from the utility’s revenues in 2016. In addition to operating and capital expenditures, $5.3 million will be spent on debt repayment.
As the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases and annual budgets will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering safe drinking water.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, water rates Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates October 27, 2016
Des Moines Water Works uses CodeRED for emergency communications to the public. CodeRED is a mass notification service that alerts residents to various emergencies via recorded telephone, text or e-mail alerts. The alerts are geographically targeted and can include emergencies like water outages, boil water advisories, and important public health notifications. The CodeRED system provides Des Moines Water Works the ability to quickly deliver emergency messages to targeted areas. Recipients’ Caller ID will display an (866) 419-5000 phone number. If you miss the call, simply dial the number displayed on your Caller ID to hear the last message delivered.
Customers do not need to do anything to enroll in the customer notification system; however it is very important that Des Moines Water Works has your current phone number(s) on file. You can update your account profile online at www.dmww.com with your current phone number (select log-in or create a new account at the top of the page) or call a Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 to ensure your phone number(s) on file is up-to-date. You can also create or update your contact information directly on the CodeRED website at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/33A099CF3F14.Labels: CodeRED, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Water Outage Posted in Customer Service, Customers September 9, 2016
Des Moines Water Works has a long history of providing the Des Moines metro area with safe, affordable and abundant drinking water. The utility’s regional approach began as early as 1934, when Urbandale began receiving water from Des Moines Water Works because their wells were going dry and water was being rationed. Since then, most suburban communities have connected to Des Moines Water Works, and Des Moines Water Works remains committed to continuing to be a regional water provider that meets the growing needs of our area.
With the assistance of 22 members of the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, Des Moines Water Works has begun a long range plan to evaluate the Des Moines metro area’s water needs and supply, treatment and distribution capabilities through 2035. This work is important so Des Moines Water Works is able to provide water to growing communities when and where it is needed over the next 20 years.
Des Moines Water Works values our relationship with metro area communities and believes Des Moines and suburban customers alike have benefited from a long standing and strong working relationship. A regional approach provides economies of scale and encourages collaboration in jointly constructed assets and facilities, including treatment plants, storage facilities, and pumping stations. Additionally, a regional approach promotes economic development in the metro area, as communities work together to provide a reliable and adequate water supply to new industries and customers with a heavy reliance on water service.Labels: Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, CIRDWC, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW Posted in About Us, Customer Service May 5, 2016
How does lead get into drinking water?
- Generally, finished drinking water contains no lead.
- Lead may be present in piping and plumbing fixtures found in customers’ homes.
- If drinking water is corrosive, it can corrode customers’ lead service lines and plumbing fixtures, which can result in elevated lead levels in drinking water.
- Homes constructed before 1950 may be served by a lead water service line. Copper pipe installed before 1985 may have been installed using lead-containing solder.
- To see if your property is in a Des Moines or Polk County neighborhood that has the greatest potential for a lead service line, view the Potential Lead Service Lines in Des Moines map.
What are the health effects of lead in drinking water?
- Customers who drink water with elevated lead levels can suffer long term health impacts including damage to the liver, kidneys, or even the brain.
- Mental development issues are a significant concern for children exposed to lead contamination.
- In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. The rule is part of the Safe Water Drinking Act, and it requires water systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. If lead concentrations exceed the Action Level of 0.015 mg/L (or 15 parts per billion) in more than 10 percent of taps, the system must complete additional actions to control the corrosion.
What is Des Moines Water Works doing to control elevated lead levels?
- Des Moines Water Works treats the drinking water to ensure it is not corrosive.
- Corrosion control is an important part of Des Moines Water Works’ treatment process. By carefully managing the chemistry of our drinking water, Des Moines Water Works ensures the water is not corrosive.
- A number of factors impact how corrosive treated drinking water will be. These factors include the total amount of dissolved minerals in the water (calcium and magnesium), alkalinity, temperature, and pH.
- Each day, samples are analyzed to ensure Des Moines Water Works’ treatment for corrosion control remains effective.
Could what happened in Flint, Michigan happen in Des Moines?
- Des Moines Water Works is paying close attention to what unfolded in Flint, Michigan. In North America, no one should have to question the safety of water at the tap. Flint underscores that Des Moines Water Works’ first job is to protect the families we serve. Those of us involved in managing, cleaning and delivering water share an obligation to protect public health.
- We do not have first-hand knowledge about what occurred in Flint, but this much seems clear: When Flint switched its water supply source, the new water caused lead to leach from service lines and home plumbing – lead that ended up in water coming out of the taps.
- This kind of incident is unlikely here because Des Moines Water Works monitors water quality parameters on a daily or even hourly basis to ensure the drinking water we produce will not be corrosive. Des Moines Water Works also follows a written Lead and Copper Sampling Plan. This plan helps ensure we stay in compliance with the requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule.
- Des Moines Water Works tests for lead and copper contamination by asking customers with specific types of plumbing to collect samples in their homes.
- These results are published annually in Des Moines Water Works’ Consumer Confidence Report, which describes the regulatory requirements Des Moines Water Works must meet or exceed.
- Des Moines Water Works continues to be in compliance with Lead and Copper Rule requirements.
- Supplying approximately 500,000 central Iowans with safe, affordable and abundant drinking water is Des Moines Water Works’ mission. Water plays a key role in your health and Des Moines Water Works plays a key role in providing water you can trust for life.
What can you do to limit exposure to elevated levels of lead?
- Use only water from the cold tap for drinking, cooking, or preparing baby formula.
- Flush the tap for two to four minutes before using water for drinking or cooking when no water has been used for several hours. Showering, washing dishes, or doing laundry can be effective ways to flush household plumbing before water is used for drinking or cooking.
- While in-home water treatment devices such as softeners or filtration systems are not necessary in Des Moines, if such in-home treatment devices are used, they must be properly operated and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Improperly operated in-home treatment devices can increase the potential for water to become corrosive.
Where can I find more information?
- To see if your property is in a Des Moines or Polk County neighborhood that has the greatest potential for a lead service line, view the Potential Lead Service Lines in Des Moines map.
- If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Please contact Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700 to learn if you are eligible for a complimentary lead test. If you are not eligible for a free test but still wish to have your water tested, a $18 fee will apply.
- Visit EPA’s lead information website: http://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family#homeleadsafe.
The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2016 calendar year budget, which includes revenue from 2016 rate increases for Des Moines, total service, and wholesale water customers. The 10 percent rate increase for all customers, approved by the Board in October, equates to an increase of about $2.55 per month for a four-person household (7,500 gallons) inside Des Moines.
The rate increases will result in approximately $3.2 million of increased water revenue for 2016. As the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering quality water.
The proposed 2016 budget includes $59.4 million of operating revenue. Operating expenses are budgeted at $40.6 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $22.2 million.
The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2016 budget on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.
New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2016. For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2016 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, DMWW, water rates Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Rates June 25, 2015
Your water meter is read each month to determine your water consumption. Meters are typically located in your basement, although most residential and commercial meters are read by remote equipment which does not require Des Moines Water Works staff to enter your home or business. Each month, your meter read is displayed on the bottom of your statement. If your meter is easily accessible, you can read the water meter yourself to verify the reads against your statement.
The readings are displayed like the odometer on your car and read from left to right. Most meters in Des Moines measure in cubic feet, and typically reflect six digits. The first four digits on the meter are shown verbatim on your statement (exception: any leading zeroes are omitted). However, Des Moines Water Works bills only in hundred cubic feet increments, so the last two digits on your statement will always be “00,” regardless of what is shown on your meter.
If you notice your water bill is the same amount some months, it is not uncommon and can occur especially for customers who are fairly consistent water users. It occurs because Des Moines Water Works bills in 100 cubic foot increments. Although your actual water consumption does in fact vary from month to month, the meter must “roll over” to a new hundred cubic feet before you are charged for the last 100 cubic feet. For example, if your meter read is 173934 as shown in the illustration, you would not be charged for any additional consumption until the meter rolls over to the next hundred cubic feet, which would be a meter read of 174000. It is important to note that 100 cubic feet is equivalent to 748 gallons, which means that if you are within 748 gallons of last month’s consumption, your charges could be identical despite slightly different usage from one month to the next.
Des Moines Water Works’ automated radio frequency meter reading equipment in most of our service areas allows Des Moines Water Works to receive two meter reads each day, and these reads are available to you via your online account at www.dmww.com.
If your consumption is higher than expected, you can monitor your daily reads at any time by querying your meter reading data on our website. If, after monitoring your daily consumption, you believe you may have a leak, call a customer service representative at (515) 283-8700 to discuss what may be causing the high consumption.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Water meter Posted in Customer Service