Archive for the ‘Public Policy’ CategoryApril 1, 2013
Des Moines Water Works celebrates public health during National Public Health Week (April 1-7, 2013), a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. In a world where an estimated 3 million people die every year from preventable waterborne disease, our water systems allow us to drink from virtually any public tap with a high assurance of safety. Each community water supply meets rigorous federal and state health protective standards.
Drinking water quality has a major influence on public health. Improvements in drinking water quality have dramatically improved the public’s health in the United States. However, some old challenges remain and new ones are emerging. Access to plentiful healthy source waters treated for drinking water are becoming limited by the increased presence of contaminants, new and more stringent regulations, and aging infrastructure. The public costs to safeguard our drinking water supply will be high without changes in land use that prevents the continued increase of contaminants from reaching our water sources, but the costs associated with failing to do so are likely to be much higher.
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is committed to protecting public health by assessing water quality in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds and mitigating the public’s exposure to contaminantsthrough treatment.We work with landowners to help identify appropriate barriers for controlling contaminants that do not focus on expensive treatment processes, but rather consider a range of options that may result in improved water quality and in our ability to ensure quality drinking water after treatment. This is a holistic approach of managing water resources from our source to your tap.
For 40 years, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has been the regulation by which drinking water utilities adhere to, to protect public health. When the SDWA became law in 1974 it required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set enforceable standards for health-related drinking water contaminants. The SDWA has been reauthorized in 1986 and 1996. In fact, the drinking water industry is one of the most regulated industries in the United States. In addition to meeting EPA drinking water standards, DMWW is proactively monitoring emerging contaminants that may require regulations in the future.
Protecting public health is the reason that the drinking water industry exists. The public health effects of current and future contaminants is the motivation behind the need for sustainable infrastructure, skilled operators, technical expertise, leadership and improvement and protection of the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Public Health, Safe Drinking Water Act Posted in About Us, Health, Public Policy, Water Quality April 9, 2012
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) understands the crime of stealing someone’s personal identifying information for the purpose of using that information fraudulently is concerning. To ensure DMWW customer’s personal information is safe, we worked with other drinking water utilities in the state to pass legislation to protect your personal identity. Senate File 2058 was passed by both houses of the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. The legislation allows DMWW to keep information “identifying a specific customer and any record of a customer account, including internet-based customer account information” confidential.
Protect yourself from identity theft by:
- Shredding all of your important papers.
- Making sure you do not throw anything away that someone could use to get your personal information.
- Being careful at ATM’s and using phone cards to protect against people who can get access to your pin number.
- Having all of checks delivered to your bank – not at your home address.
- Not putting checks in the mail from your home mailbox.
- When you order a new credit card or your previous card has expired, keep track of the time and contact the credit card company if it does not show up within the appropriate time.
- Put passwords on all of your accounts.
- Memorize your social security number and passwords so you are not carrying them with you.
- Make a list of all your credit card and bank account numbers with customer service phone numbers, and keep it in a safe place.
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) are urging Congress to link conservation compliance requirements and federal farm subsidies and/or crop insurance to efforts by farmers to minimize negative water quality impacts of their operations, AMWA and a coalition of water utility, conservation and environmental organizations said in a policy statement released last week at a press conference in Washington, D.C.
Under the banner of the “Healthy Waters Coalition,” AMWA and other groups also called on Congress to prioritize nutrient runoff control as a primary goal in watersheds impaired by nutrients and to facilitate monitoring of nutrient reductions as part of ongoing state and federal water quality monitoring programs. Lawmakers are currently working to put together the 2012 Farm Bill, so the policy statement is intended to shape their work on the Conservation Title.
Speaking at a press conference marking release of the report, AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei stressed the importance of keeping nutrient pollution out of drinking water sources, where it can increase treatment costs for downstream drinking water utilities and pose public health threats if not properly removed. While drinking water systems will always do what is necessary to keep their finished water safe, VanDe Hei said, “the most effective solution is to keep excessive nutrients out of source water in the first place.”
The complete policy statement is available on AMWA’s Legislative Information webpage at www.amwa.net/cs/leginfo (scroll down to category – Farm Bill Reauthorization, March 2012).
Labels: AMWA, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Farm Bill, Source Water Posted in Public Policy, Source Water, Water Quality January 16, 2012
Water Day at the Iowa State Capitol is January 17, 2012, and Des Moines Water Works will be there on behalf of the approximately 500,000 people in DMWW’s service area.
Every Year, DMWW sees Water Day as an opportunity to talk with legislators from Central Iowa and across the state about improving and protecting water resources in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, the sources of water for DMWW drinking water. Reducing nutrients, bacteria, and algae blooms in our source waters helps protect public health and contain the cost of treating drinking water for our customers.
This is also an opportunity to discuss protecting the utility’s $352 million of infrastructure from flood events – infrastructure owned by the citizens of Des Moines. In 1993, the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant was flooded and DMWW was not able to provide drinking water to customers for approximately 10-14 days. Since 2008, more than 65-feet of river bank have been lost at the L.D. McMullen Treatment Plant well field site, putting several wells at risk for damage. More frequent (and intense) rainfall events and expeditious movement of water off the landscape through tiling, have exacerbated flooding. The connectivity of surface water, ground water and soils exist on all levels and need to be managed as a system. The power of moving water, whether a raindrop or a torrent of flood water, can be better managed in Iowa.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, flood improvements, Flood of 93, Iowa Legislation, State of Iowa, water quality Posted in Customers, Environment, Flooding, Infrastructure, Public Policy, Water Quality April 5, 2011
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has contracted with the Missouri & Mississippi (M&M) Divide RC&D and Agren, both located in Carroll, Iowa, to develop a comprehensive watershed plan for the Raccoon River. Agren, Inc. was founded by brothers Tom and Stan Buman in 1996 as a private consulting firm dedicated to helping agriculture find profitable solutions to environmental challenges. The master plan will guide management efforts with a focus on improving water quality in the Raccoon River watershed.
Agren facilitated “expert panels” to evaluate both agricultural and urban stormwater best management practices (BMP). Following the expert panel events, the potential water quality impacts of recommended practices were estimated by Iowa State University scientists. More than 80% of the land use in the watershed is dedicated to row crop agriculture, so initially the implementation plan will concentrate on agricultural BMPs. Consideration is also being given to various incentives and funding sources for implementation of the recommended practices.
This month, another panel focused on what a watershed management organization should look like to ensure the master plan is implemented when completed. Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) participated on the panel. Discussion consisted of what the barriers are to effective watershed management, what type of watershed authority could overcome the barriers, and evaluation of scenarios for watershed management. Throughout the discussion it was apparent that DMWW will continue to be a key partner in managing the Raccoon River Watershed.
Recommendations best suited to protect the source of drinking water for approximately 500,000 people in central Iowa and restore and maintain an environmentally and economically sustainable landscape. These recommendations will be compiled into a comprehensive Raccoon River Watershed Master Plan. Public comments on the plan will be solicited this spring, with the final plan development completed by June 2011.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Raccoon River, water quality, Watershed Posted in Environment, Public Policy, Value of Water, Water Quality January 10, 2011
January not only marks the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new administration in the governor’s office, 38 new legislators, and a new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Much of Des Moines Water Works’ (DMWW) effort will revolve around water resource and infrastructure management and protection education from the perspective of a drinking water utility.
Some specific legislative and regulatory issues DMWW will be monitoring include potential changes to Iowa Code regulating levee and drainage districts with emphasis on more transparency and accountability of the Drainage and Wetland Landscape Initiative being implemented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. DMWW will be watching for legislation that has the potential to change the configuration and/or authority of the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).
DMWW will be monitoring the likelihood of continuing the Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC). The utility supports the Council as the mechanism to coordinate all water programs and funding at the state and federal level. The Rebuild Iowa Office (RIO) established following the 2008 floods is scheduled to sunset in 2011. DMWW supports some form of the RIO continuing in the future as they have done an exemplary job of coordinating flood relief and in bringing recovery funds to Iowa.
On the federal level, DMWW will provide comments on the 2012 Farm Bill relating to conservation programs and funding with the ability to improve water quality in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds.
The Raccoon River Watershed Master Plan is scheduled for completion in June 2011. Public comments will be requested on the draft plan early in 2011. DMWW will seek partners to institutionalize an implementation structure that will implement Plan recommendations. Information regarding the Plan may be found at http://agren-inc.com/raccoon/raccoon.html.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Iowa Legislation, Public Policy Posted in About Us, Public Policy, Value of Water October 10, 2010
You may wonder why a water utility would need more online presence than a website. Des Moines Water Works’ (DMWW) social media endeavor is in alignment with our 2010-2014 Strategic Plan. We realize the way the world communicates has changed, and we want to be where our customers are. If that means participating in blogging, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, we’re ready to be there.
Our management team is very much on board with this new initiative, and on this blog you’ll be hearing from many employees from every corner of our organization. From the treatment plants to the Botanical Center, to Water Works Park, we’re bringing the best insights from our people directly to you. We hope you enjoy this blog, and comment frequently. We’re listening.
What do we hope to accomplish?
- Increase public awareness of the value of water
- Promote stewardship of our natural resources
- Post current DMWW news
- Promote events at the Botanical Center and in the parks
- Educate water consumers
- Inform the public of our involvement and initiatives with various associations
- Share pertinent information about the Utility (Did you know DMWW was recognized by Forbes in 2008 for having the highest quality drinking water in the USA?)
- Attract qualified applicants, and
- Interact with the community, residential and business customers, industry and government partners
We welcome your feedback. Are there topics of particular interest to you? Let us know how we can improve service to you, our customers.