Archive for the ‘Employees’ Category

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 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 27, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative

Meet Shelly.  Shelly is a Customer Service Representative at Des Moines Water Works and has been helping customers for over five years.  Shelly begins taking customers calls at 7:30 am.  Monday mornings and the day after a holiday are usually the busiest days.  Once, during a busy day, she took 100 calls by 10:30 am.  Usually, she takes about 100 calls a day.

Shelly also takes care of customer requests that come via Des Moines Water Works’ website. These requests are for starting, stopping and transfer of service.  Requests also come in for changes to a customer’s account information.  These requests tend to be heavier towards the beginning of the month.

Shelly, along with other Customer Service Representatives, also assist customers who come to Des Moines Water Works in person for assistance.  They may be coming in to bring in vouchers to assist with payment of their bill or to set up pay arrangements.

Shelly enjoys her job because she is able to talk to many people and no two calls are ever the same.  Shelly says, “Every job is important at Des Moines Water Works, but the Customer Service department is the place that customers go to for answers and if I do not give them the correct information, then I am not doing my job.”  Shelly also knows that she may be the only contact that a customer may have with Des Moines Water Works, so she tries to deliver the highest quality of service possible.

Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7:30 am-5:30 pm, at (515) 283-8700 or in person at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines, Iowa.

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Employees August 21, 2012

Board of Water Works Trustees Names William Stowe as New CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works

DES MOINES, Iowa (August 21, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees of Des Moines Water Works has selected Bill Stowe as CEO and General Manager.

“Bill Stowe is a capable leader who is well prepared for the challenges and opportunities facing Water Works, one of Des Moines’ greatest assets,” said Graham Gillette, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “Bill Stowe is an innovator who understands the role Water Works plays in ensuring Central Iowa’s future.”

Stowe was one of five finalists interviewed by the Board of Trustees and questioned by employee and community panelists earlier this month. The five finalists were chosen from a large field of candidates. Stowe replaces Randy Beavers who has served Des Moines Water Works for 31 years, the last 5 as its CEO and General Manager.  Beavers will retire September 7, and Stowe will assume his duties on September 24. Des Moines Water Works is a regional water utility serving approximately 500,000 people in the Des Moines metro area.

“The five finalists were all outstanding.  Each would have brought a unique skill set to the job,” said Leslie Gearhart, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “We are grateful to the employees and members of the community who helped screen candidates during this process.”

Stowe currently serves as Assistant Manager-Public Works/Engineering for the City of Des Moines, a position he has held since 1999.  Prior to that, Stowe was the Human Resources Director for the City of Des Moines, Operations Manager for MidAmerican Energy, as well as an analyst for Shell Oil, labor relations representative for Inland Steel Industries and a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board.  Stowe has a B.A. from Grinnell College, a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, a M.S. from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from Loyola University Law School.

“It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to lead this exceptional utility in service to our community. I welcome the opportunity to join with the employees of Water Works to continue to provide valued water services to our customers throughout the region,” said Stowe.


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.

About the Board of Water Works Trustees
The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, consists of five members, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Des Moines for a term of six years. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. The functions of the Board of Water Works Trustees can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation.


Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Employees March 15, 2012

New Technology Brings Improved Efficiency

Twenty years ago, Des Moines Water Works’ maintenance crews relied on paper maps, three-ring-binders, and thousands of index cards to track the location and maintenance history for every pipe, valve, and fire hydrant in the Des Moines water system.  When information was needed regarding a specific item, crews would call the dispatch center, wait while the dispatcher looked in the files for the information, and then take notes as the dispatcher read information over the radio.  The process worked, but it took time and there was the opportunity for errors in translation.

Today, all of Des Moines Water Works’ maintenance vehicles are equipped with an onboard computerized Geographic Information System (GIS).  This system, which uses ESRI geo-database software, provides even more information than was available from the historic files, provides that information without the need to wait or communicate over the radio, and provides it in a graphical format which is much easier to read and understand.

Personnel in the field now have access to detailed information on every valve or fire hydrant in the system including location, date of installation, manufacturer, depth, most recent date of operation, operational concerns, etc.  Information is also available related to water main failures, pipe fittings and alterations, and other features which are buried below ground.  Right-of-way lines, property lines, and building footprints are also shown for all properties in the city.

The GIS system is also GPS-enabled which allows crews to find their current location within the mapping system with the click of a button.  Having this information available at their fingertips helps Des Moines Water Works’ crews work more efficiently.

Posted by: Ted Corrigan No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, Infrastructure February 17, 2012

What’s in a Name?

The Arie Den Boer Arboretum, Dale Maffitt Reservoir, Denman Woods . . . have you ever wondered about the history behind the names?  Namesakes of property and facilities owned by Des Moines Water Works include former general managers, Board of Trustees members, and employees whose strategic visions helped the water utility evolve into the industry leader it is today.

Charles Sing Denman’s 37-year career began in 1896 when the water company was privately owned.  He was the first general manager, appointed in 1919, when the water company became municipally owned.  During his tenure, the water system experienced tremendous growth and many of the facilities in use today were constructed under his direction.  As a testament to his love of nature, the western tract of land that extends along both sides of the Raccoon River in Water Works Park was designated as Denman Woods.  A concrete bench was erected in his memory in 1937 inside the Fleur Drive treatment plant, which was moved to its current location at Water Works Park in the late 1970s when the Charles Sing Denman Memorial Garden was dedicated. 

In 1928, Arie den Boer, a horticulturist, was hired to beautify Water Works’ grounds and create a park, which was opened to the public in 1933.  Mr. den Boer introduced several hundred varieties of crabapple trees and won numerous prestigious awards for his work in horticulture.  The crabapple arboretum was named in Mr. den Boer’s honor when he retired in 1961, after serving as grounds superintendent for 33 years.

The water tower at 48th and Hickman is a memorial to Allen Hazen who designed the tower and unexpectedly died in 1930 before construction was completed.  Mr. Hazen was a prominent New York engineer of international reputation and a pioneer in the area of water treatment.   

Dale L. Maffitt was the general manager when 650 acres southwest of Des Moines were purchased in 1942 to construct a dam and water storage reservoir to be used as an emergency water supply.  The 200-acre impounding reservoir and surrounding area was named for Mr. Maffitt after his death in 1955, following 41 years of employment, 22 of which he led the utility as general manager.  

Henry Nollen and Norman Wilchinski were long-term Board of Trustees members, both of whom served on the first water board of 1919.  Two water storage facilities built in 1955 were named after them.  The Nollen Standpipe is at 26th and Hull and the Wilchinski Standpipe is at SE 9th and Pleasantview Drive. 

The Tenny Standpipe at Merle Hay Mall, which was built in 1959, is a tribute to Morris K. Tenny.  A 44-year employee, Mr. Tenny held the positions of chemist and assistant manager, prior to serving as general manager for 13 years.  He was instrumental in the growth of the Water Works.   

Maurice King’s employment with the Water Works spanned nearly 43 years.  The Maurice A. King Intake and Pumping Station facility on the Des Moines River was named after Mr. King who served as General Manager from 1968-1977.

The L.P. Moon Storage and Pumping Station facility was named in recognition of a former long-term Board member, Louise P. Moon.  Located in Clive, this west side facility was placed on-line in 1996.  Ms. Moon currently serves as Windsor Heights’ representative on the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, of which Des Moines Water Works is a member.

In May of 2000, the Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, a 25 million gallon per day facility, began operation using nine radial collector wells for its main water source, but also drawing from Maffitt Reservoir for additional water resources.  In 2007, it was renamed in honor of L.D. McMullen, a 30-year employee who served as general manager from 1985-2007 and was instrumental in construction of the water treatment plant. 

We are proud of these visionaries and their contributions to Des Moines Water Works and the community.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, History, Parks January 17, 2012

Year in Review

From starting up our third treatment plant to educating more than 27,000 children and adults, here’s a look at the top 25 accomplishments in 2011 at Des Moines Water Works.

  1. Commissioned DMWW’s third water treatment facility, Saylorville Water Treatment Plant
  2. Responded to 300 main breaks
  3. Assisted 56,000 customers in the office and visited 42,000 customers in the field
  4. Launched Parkitecture competition for the redesign of Water Works Park
  5. Repaved roads in Water Works Park
  6. Hosted several events at Water Works Park, including HyVee Fishing Derby, Big Country Bash, weddings, charity walks, Des Moines Marathon and Jolly Holiday Lights
  7. Planted approximately 70,000 plants and flowers in Water Works Park and Fleur Drive medians
  8. Found $611,000 in process efficiencies throughout the utility
  9. Reaffirmed  our strong Aa1 bond rating by Moody’s, second from highest attainable
  10. Redesigned new website with enhanced customer features, like consumption alerts
  11. Implemented electronic checks as a new customer payment option
  12. Awarded “Public Policy Champion of the Year” from Iowa Ducks Unlimited
  13. Implemented new Geographical Information System (GIS):  DMWW’s water distribution staff is now using new GIS software that allows access of important information about the distribution system while working in the field.
  14. Established Enterprise Asset Management software:  Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) at its most basic level is a work order system.  But as an asset management software, EAM is a lot more than that.  Asset management goes beyond creating work orders and includes planning and scheduling projects, tracking assets’ conditions, and forecasting asset replacement. 
  15. Ended use of gaseous chlorine at all facilities:  All water disinfection throughout the utility (three plants and six remote locations) is now being done with liquid hypochlorite.  This effort brings a safer environment for our employees and community.
  16. Reported our greenhouse gas emissions to The Climate Registry
  17. Contributed $19,286.28 to the United Way of Central Iowa through employee donations – a record year!
  18. Reduced employees’ metabolic syndrome risk factors by 18% from 2010 to 2011
  19. Awarded two safety recognition awards
  20. Received a Proclamation from Mayor Cownie during Drinking Water Week, recognizing DMWW’s contributions to the community
  21. Assisted DMACC with a new water/waste water curriculum
  22. Received a book and dedication from Ankeny first graders illustrating the importance of clean rivers
  23. Celebrated the importance of water with over 2,000 Iowa 5th grade students at the Iowa Children’s Water Festival
  24. Reached 27,800 people through classroom presentations, tours and special events conducted by the Urban Environmental Partnership.
  25. Hosted 237 meetings/social events and 53 weddings at the Des Moines Botanical Center, including 10 weddings on 11/11/11! The Botanical Center also welcomed 255 tour groups for a total of 9,560 people
Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Botanical Center, Customer Service, Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Education, Employees, Environment, Parks, Saylorville Water Treatment Plant