Archive for the ‘Customers’ Category

October 7, 2019

A Fire Hydrant’s Important Role in the Health and Safety of our Community

While many of us drive or walk past fire hydrants without much thought, Des Moines Water Works takes great pride in the installation and maintenance of the nearly 10,000 fire hydrants in Des Moines and surrounding communities. Fire hydrants provide an essential function in the maintenance of the water system and adequate fire protection for our community.

Every year in the fall, fire hydrant inspection or “hydrant walking” is completed to ensure all fire hydrants in the system are in working order. This annual inspection ensures hydrants have not been damaged or are not holding water that could freeze over winter, both of which would render the hydrant unusable in the event of an emergency.

While Des Moines Water Works is responsible for maintenance of the fire hydrants that firefighters use to protect our community, fire hydrants are actually used more frequently for water system maintenance. Any time maintenance is performed on the water system (i.e. water main break, valve repair, etc.), air is allowed to escape from the pipes through the hydrant, and water is flushed from the hydrant to ensure water delivered to customers following maintenance is clear. You can help Des Moines Water Works and your fire department 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 top 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 water service and fire protection of your home, business and others around you.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , Posted in Customers, Infrastructure 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 July 10, 2019

Summer Irrigation Odd-Even Watering Schedule

Landscape irrigation makes up a large portion of water consumption, particularly during the warmer months of the year. There are many sophisticated automated, in-ground lawn sprinkler systems in use today; however, these systems require regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Even the most properly maintained system can be operated unwisely. 

Des Moines Water Works encourages central Iowa businesses and homeowners to Use Water Wisely, a recommended program aimed at smart summer irrigation. By improving the efficiency of irrigation practices, businesses and homeowners can reduce consumption, save money, and reduce the peak load on water facilities.

Recommended Schedule

The recommended outdoor irrigation schedule applies to all spray irrigation systems for businesses and homes:

  • Watering is not recommended on Mondays.
  • Even-numbered addresses are encouraged to water on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.
  • Odd-numbered addresses are encouraged to water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.
  • Watering is not recommended during the hottest part of the days hours of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Examples

My home address is: 5018 1st Street. Recommended irrigation schedule: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.

My business address is: 1355 Main Street. Recommended irrigation schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.

In addition, it is important to:

  • Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
  • For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
  • When possible, avoid laying sod or grass seed during the month of July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months of the year.  New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive.  Grass seed is also best used during the fall.
  • Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs.

For more information, visit: www.dmww.com/education/using-water-wisely.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Conservation, Customers January 18, 2019

Fire Hydrant Access

Des Moines Water Works collaborates with city fire departments to properly maintain nearly 10,000 fire hydrants in the Des Moines Water Works distribution system. You can help your 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:

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

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.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Infrastructure July 25, 2018

New Aquifer Storage and Recovery Well Serving Central Iowa Customers

Des Moines Water Works has utilized aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells as sources of water since late 1990s. These wells are installed deep into the Cambrian-Ordovcian Aquifer, also referred to as the Jordan Aquifer, and are used to store drinking water that is needed when water demand is high. When water demand is low, mainly during winter months, drinking water is injected into the wells which displaces the native Jordan Aquifer water. Up to 450 million gallons can be stored in an ASR well during the winter months when Des Moines Water Works has excess water treatment capacity. In summer months, during higher water demand, the drinking water is pumped out of the ASR well and into the water distribution system for use by customers.

West Des Moines Water Works, a wholesale customer of Des Moines Water Works, needed to purchase additional water from Des Moines Water Work to meet the needs of Microsoft Corporation. To meet the water demand requirements of Microsoft, West Des Moines Water Works, City of West Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works entered into a Chapter 28E Agreement to construct a new ASR Well facility. The Army Post Road ASR Well facility will be placed in service this summer and will provide an additional 3 million gallons of water per day to help serve Microsoft and other Des Moines Water Works’ customers.

The total cost of this project is $6.1 million. The City of West Des Moines and the West Des Moines Water Works paid $4.655 million of the cost while the Des Moines Water Works paid $1.4 million dollars. The Des Moines Water Works also provided the 5.28 acre site for the Army Post Road ASR Well facility along with the engineering design and construction management for the project.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customers, Water Treatment June 18, 2018

Updated Security for Credit Card Payments on DMWW Website

As of June 1, 2018, industry online security standards have changed because previous versions have been shown to be vulnerable to attack.  Companies that accept payments by credit card, including Des Moines Water Works, are no longer supporting the security protocol known as TLS 1.0, and are instead supporting versions TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2.  In order to initiate online transactions from older browsers, it may be necessary to update your PC to include the latest version of your browser.    The minimum accepted versions after June 1, 2018 are:

  • Internet Explorer: 11 (Current 11)
  • Google Chrome: 44 (Current 60)
  • Firefox: 38.1 (Current 55)
  • Edge: 12 (Current 15)
  • Opera: 30 (Current 47)
  • Safari: 9 (Current 11)
  • Safari Mobil: 8 (Current 11)
  • Android OS Browser 5.1 (Current 8)

We strongly recommend users upgrade their internet browser and anti-virus software to the latest version available to maintain the highest level of security.  Customers will be unable to initiate payments online at www.dmww.com until their browser has been updated to the minimum version listed above.

This change is mandated by the PCI (Payment Card Industry) Security Council and affects all merchants and service providers that transmit credit card data. Please update your operating system and browsers to ensure compliance with these new safety protocols.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers February 1, 2018

Water Main Replacement Program

Water main replacement planning is a necessary, preventative approach that saves money on repairs, reduces the loss of water that occurs as a result of the main breaks, and minimizes disruption to customers.  Des Moines Water Works budgets for water main replacement to maintain and upgrade the distribution system by replacing water mains that have a history of breaks, to improve the fire flow, relocating to accommodate city, county, or state construction projects, and upgrading water mains to meet the needs of customers.

Several factors impact which water mains are replaced and the approach to planning for 2018 was different than in years past.  Des Moines Water Works’ Long Range Plan through 2040 included the analysis of water main break data occurring within the system.  Through this analysis, a relative risk score was created based on the assessment of consequence of  failure, likelihood of failure, and a capacity factor.  Pipe segments consisting of risk scores in the highest range are highly recommended for replacement.  Staff from various departments provided input while creating the priority list of streets for water main replacement.  Des Moines Water Works’ 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) includes approximately $7 million of water main replacement each year.  The City of Des Moines also has a 5-year CIP for city streets and sewers.  Des Moines Water Works and the City of Des Moines work collaboratively to choose the streets to be the most cost effective and cause the least disruption to customers.

After each project is designed, Des Moines Water Works will receive bids from contractors and the construction contract will be awarded to the contractor that will be performing the work.  If the bids received allow Des Moines Water Works to complete all the streets within budget, construction will take place in 2018.  Construction not completed in 2018 will take place in future years.  Des Moines Water Works is currently contacting customers directly in the neighborhoods throughout Des Moines and Polk County that have been scheduled for water main replacement in 2018.  Additional customer letters and public meetings will be forthcoming.  Des Moines Water Works appreciates the cooperation and understanding from customers during construction and will work with contractors to minimize the inconvenience to customers impacted by the following projects:

Polk County Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT 1

  • NE 14th Street from I-80/35 Westbound Off Ramp to NE 43rd Avenue

Des Moines Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT 1

  • Thomas Beck Road from Crown Colony Court to 1401 Thomas Beck Road
  • Fleur Drive from George Flagg Parkway to SW 22nd Street
  • Maple Street from E 2nd Street to E 4th Street
  • E 4th Street from Maple Street to Des Moines Street
  • Alternate Street – Watrous Avenue from SW 14th Street to Glover Avenue

Des Moines Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT 2

  • SW 9th Street from Johnson Street to Amos Avenue
  • SW 10th Place from Southdale Drive to County Line Road
  • SW 11th Street from Southdale Drive to County Line Road
  • SW 15th Street from Army Post Road to Johnson Street
  • Alternate Streets – SE 8th Street from E Miller Avenue to E Rose Avenue and Wall Avenue from SW 13th Place to SW 12th Street

Des Moines Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT 3

  • Kenyon Avenue from SW 16th Street to SW 9th Street
  • SE 14th Street from E Diehl Avenue to E Thornton Avenue
  • SE 14th Street from E Thornton Avenue to E Watrous Avenue
  • Alternate Street – Pioneer Road from SE 14th Street to 1603 Pioneer Road
Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Infrastructure 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 December 29, 2017

On Call 24/7 to Respond to Main Breaks

As cold weather arrives, water main breaks can become more common.  The months of December, January and February bring the highest number of water main breaks.  Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) crews repair an average of 300 water main breaks each year.  Although DMWW has a proactive and aggressive main replacement program, underground water mains can break for a number of reasons including corrosion, frost heave, water temperature, and pressure fluctuations.

When a water main breaks, generally water comes to the surface and flows across the ground to a storm sewer or waterway.  Large water main breaks can reduce water pressure in the area and the flowing water can cause damage.  If you witness a main break or see water flowing in the street, please call Des Moines Water Works Dispatch at 283-8772.  Des Moines Water Works is committed to providing our customers with safe and abundant drinking water.  To honor that commitment, DMWW crews are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to main breaks, ensuring that your service is restored as quickly as possible.

Once a water main break has been confirmed, the exact location of the break is determined using acoustic leak detection equipment.  This equipment listens to the sound the water makes as it exits the pipe and can determine the location of the leak based on the intensity of the sound.  When the location of the leak has been determined, water service in the area must be shut down so the break can be repaired.  Des Moines Water Works uses Automated Notification System to to communicate water outages to affected customers.  For more information and to make sure DMWW has your correct contact information, visit: http://www.dsmh2o.com/automated-notification-system-2/ 

The safety of our employees and the public during a main break repair is a top priority.  Special attention is given to trench safety which protects our employees and to traffic control which protects our employees as well as the traveling public.  Before the water service is restored, the repaired water main is flushed and sampled to restore the best possible water quality.  An average main break takes 4-6 hours to repair.  You can find current water outages at www.dmww.com.

When the water comes back on, there will likely be air in your water service piping.  It is a good idea to run the first water after an outage through a faucet that does not have an aerator screen, such as a bathtub. Open faucets slowly to allow the air to escape.  Air will make a spurting or hissing sound as it escapes through the faucet.  Once the water is flowing, allow the faucet to run for a minute or two. The first water may be cloudy due to air in the water or particles that dislodge as the pipes fill with water. This should clear fairly quickly.  If water is cloudy throughout the house and it does not clear after allowing the water to run for several minutes, contact Des Moines Water Works Dispatch at 283-8772.

If the kitchen or bathroom faucets do not perform normally following a water outage, it may be necessary to remove the aerator screen.  Typically, the aerator can simply be unscrewed from the faucet. Inspect the screen for small particles and rinse away any you find.  Reinstall the aerator and test performance of the faucet again.  If you experience difficulties such as low pressure throughout the house following a water outage, contact Des Moines Water Works Dispatch at 283-8772 for assistance.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers October 16, 2017

Des Moines Water Works Inaugural Citizen Water Academy

Des Moines Water Works hosted 24 participants (including metro area County Supervisors, Public Works Directors, public health professionals, and business, neighborhood and education leaders) for the first session of the Citizen Water Academy on October 12; which coincided with a nationwide initiative called, “Imagine a Day Without Water.”  While most people understand that water is important, many still take it for granted.  It is our hope that participants not only come away from the Citizen Water Academy with a better understanding of their local water utility, but are also equipped to help lead the discussion on important water issues in our community.

The concept of a Citizen Water Academy is not one that was born here at Des Moines Water Works.  It is something Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager Bill Stowe was made aware at a conference among his peers of the largest water utilities in the country.   The San Diego County Water Authority has been offering its Citizen Water Academy since 2014.  They had a need to better educate the public and community leaders about water management during a severe drought.  While the challenges in Des Moines are different than those in San Diego, we too have a need to better educate and engage the public that depends on us for safe and abundant drinking water.

Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied drinking water to central Iowans for nearly 100 years; however, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring and challenges presented by deteriorating source water are not common knowledge among most citizens.  The Citizen Water Academy 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.  Participants will receive a total of 16 hours of instruction, tour multiple treatment plants operated by Des Moines Water Works, listen to presentations from soil and water experts, and interact with expert Des Moines Water Works staff over the four sessions of the program.  The goal of the Citizen Water Academy is to arm citizens with data and information to better understand the workings of a drinking water utility.  Additionally, participants learn some of the challenges Des Moines Water Works faces on a regular basis in delivering safe, affordable and abundant drinking water to over 500,000 people in central Iowa.

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