Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

May 5, 2020

Can’t Pay? Let’s Talk.

The availability of safe water supply is critically important to the public health of our community, especially under unprecedented circumstances such as these. Water supports healthcare professionals and many essential businesses during the pandemic. And proper hand-washing is an important step in curbing community spread of COVID-19. 

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) understands this is a difficult time for many customers. We have worked to offer a customer-focused response that balances sensitivity to our customers’ situations with sustainable utility operations.

In mid-March, DMWW temporarily suspended service termination for delinquent accounts during this public health emergency. Customers will still receive termination notices so they are aware of their delinquent balance, but a message has been added to the bill stating that disconnections have been temporarily suspended. 

It is very important for customers who receive a termination notice and are struggling to pay their bill to call DMWW at (515) 283-8700.  DMWW customer service representatives are experienced in working with customers to discuss available options, like payment arrangements or connecting customers with other resources.

Payment arrangements are a collection assistance program that DMWW offers at all times to eligible customers. It is important that customers honor their commitment to pay or communicate with a customer service representative proactively when they are unable to do so in order to remain eligible for this assistance.

Des Moines Water Works also has limited customer assistance funds, known as Project H2O, for which customers may qualify.  More information about this fund can be found at www.dmww.com/customer-service/project-h20

As the COVID-19 pandemic eases, DMWW will resume terminating service for customers with delinquent, unpaid balances.  Customers with delinquent balances should be aware their service could be terminated when normal operations resume, unless they have called to make arrangements with a customer service representative.  

During this time, please remember Des Moines Water Works’ General Office remains closed to the public. In-home customer service visits and backflow inspection visits are temporarily suspended, unless an emergency.

While walk-in customer service is temporarily suspended, Des Moines Water Works offers a variety of opportunities for your payment and customer service needs:

  • Phone:  Please call (515) 283-8700, and a Customer Service Representative is available to assist you Monday-Friday from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm. Pay by electronic check (no fee) or credit card ($2.75 convenience fee).
  • Online Account:  Login to online account to pay by recurring credit card, direct pay or electronic check (no fees) or credit card ($2.75 convenience fee).
  • Drop Box:  Place bill stub and payment in the payment drop box located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.
  • Mail:  Mail bill stub and payment to PO Box 9227, Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9227.
  • Pay Stations:  Customers may make monthly payment at most local HyVee and Wal-Mart stores. The pay station may charge a fee for this service; however, these fees are not collected by Des Moines Water Works.

For more information about Des Moines Water Works’ COVID-19 repsonse, visit: http://www.dsmh2o.com/des-moines-water-works-response-to-covid-19/

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Uncategorized February 27, 2020

Don’t Get Caught Dirty Handed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.  With a price tag of about 1 penny for 1 gallon of water from the tap, handwashing is certainly an inexpensive way to avoid a pricey visit to the doctor.

When should you wash your hands?  Often.  Probably more often than you do now.  Germs are odorless and invisible to the naked eye.  The CDC recommends it is especially important to wash your hands during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

The manner in which you wash is also critical.  The CDC recommends these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water. The CDC states washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , Posted in Uncategorized December 30, 2019

New Year’s Resolution: Drink Tap

New Year’s resolutions are usually about saving money, getting healthy or helping to make the world a better place. The perfect resolution that does all three? Reduce bottled beverages and drink tap water in a reusable water bottle.

Tap water is safe, affordable, sustainable and convenient.

  • Studies show that bottled water is no safer than tap water. Des Moines Water Works performs up to 250 tests daily in its state certified laboratory, and must meet 90 regulations for water safety and quality. In addition, tap water has zero calories, sugar and fat. Calories and sugar in sports drinks (when you don’t need them) and sodas can add up quickly.

  • At approximately one penny per gallon, Des Moines Water Works’ tap water is about 1,000 times less expensive than bottled water. An 8 ounce glass of tap water can be refilled approximately 15,000 times for the same price as a six pack of soda.

  • Plastic bottles not recycled properly can end up in landfills or waterways and most of the environmental impact from bottled water comes from the manufacturing and transportation of the product. While producing and distributing water is an energy-intensive operation, Des Moines Water Works was the first water treatment plant in the United States to become certified for Superior Energy Performance by the U.S. Department of Energy.

  • Quality water is available right at the tap. Invest in a quality reusable water bottle that keeps water cold for hours. Many public buildings, schools, and area attractions have reusable water bottle filling stations – fill, drink, repeat.

New Year’s resolutions that involve minor changes to your daily life are the easiest to stick with. While drinking tap water might be a small step, it can have a big impact to your health, budget and the environment!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Health, Uncategorized, Value of Water February 13, 2018

Exploring Variations in Water Quality Parameters in the Raccoon River

Rivers are incredibly dynamic ecosystems. To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, no one ever steps into the same river twice, because it’s not the same river nor the same person. A team of scientists from Drake University has been investigating changes in the Raccoon River at various locations over an 18-month period.

“The goal of our work is to understand the patterns of the Raccoon River across space and time,” said Peter Levi, a faculty member in Drake University’s Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability.

Every two or three weeks since June 2016, Levi and several students from Drake visit nine sites in the South, Middle, North, and mainstem Raccoon River. The sampling sites are bridges and boat ramps – from Minburn and Redfield to downtown Des Moines

Levi and his team have been focused on several key parameters that are important metrics of water quality: suspended sediment, nutrient concentrations in the water, and the rates of sediment denitrification (a natural microbial process that permanently removes nitrate from river water). Together, measuring these parameters at frequent intervals over an 18-month time period will allow the scientists to investigate the influence of seasonal changes and land-use on water quality in the lower Raccoon River watershed. The field component of the research will continue through December, but Levi has already seen interesting results.

“The different branches of the river fluctuate so much between each other on the same date and within the same branch across dates. It will be exciting to wrap up the fieldwork and start to analyze the patterns in relation to climate and landscape data.”

The research by Drake’s Stream Ecosystem Ecology Lab (SEEL) has been a community effort. Teams of citizen scientists were deployed to sample the Raccoon River at more points in July 2017. Three teams of volunteers covered over 80 river miles in just three days. The intensive sampling will provide the researchers an opportunity to understand how each branch varies at a much finer scale.

In August 2017, Des Moines Water Works agreed to provide Drake University analytical assistance for the monitoring project of the Raccoon River.  This laboratory support is provided at a reduced rate, saving Drake approximately $30,000.

“We appreciate Peter Levi’s work and Drake’s support of monitoring nutrient trends and natural denitrification rates in the Raccoon River,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager. “This project could be the start of a great partnership examining nutrients in our source waters.”

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Source Water, Uncategorized, Water Quality January 30, 2018

What Does Good Water Quality Legislation Actually Look Like?

Governor Kim Reynolds requested water quality legislation be the first bill she signs as governor.  After an interim of arm-twisting and cajoling by interest groups and less than 40 minutes of floor debate, the Iowa legislature acquiesced when the Iowa House passed Senate File 512.

Unfortunately, the legislation passed diverts existing funds from other programs to fund a failed voluntary water quality approach, with no monitoring, goals, accountability of funds, or targeting of priority waters.  Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy has failed to make a noticeable impact, and plowing more money into it isn’t going to suddenly make it effective.

As a surface water utility, Des Moines Water Works deals with the quality of water in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers on a daily basis, on behalf of 500,000 central Iowans or one-sixth of Iowa’s population.  Des Moines Water Works advocates for responsible water quality legislation that supports a targeted watershed approach, and includes accountability and measures of progress.

So, what does good water quality legislation actually look like?

Targeted Approach.

Accountable and Measurable. 

 

Adequate Funding. 

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Public Policy, Source Water, Uncategorized, Water Quality June 1, 2017

2017 Consumer Confidence Report

Des Moines Water Works is committed to delivering safe, affordable and abundant drinking water to our customers.  Safe drinking water is treated water that has been tested for harmful and potentially harmful substances and has met or exceeded drinking water quality standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Iowa.  The EPA sets drinking water standards to define the limits of contaminants considered safe for drinking water. These levels are based on studies of the health effects associated with each contaminant and include a sufficient safety margin to ensure that water meeting these standards is safe for nearly everyone to drink.

The Consumer Confidence Report is an annual water quality report that helps customers understand the quality and safety of tap water provided by Des Moines Water Works. The current Consumer Confidence Report is now available at: http://www.dmww.com/upl/documents/library/2017ccr.pdf.   If you would like a printed copy of the Consumer Confidence Report mailed to you or have any questions about your drinking water, please contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Source Water, Uncategorized, Water Quality July 25, 2013

Chilling in Water Works Park

RAGBRAI riders love our water stationsApproximately 10,000-12,000 RAGBRAI riders and their support teams camped overnight in Water Works Park July 23, 2013.  One cyclist was overheard remarking that Water Works Park was “by far the coolest camp” he’d experienced in his 16 years of riding.

While riders and campers enjoyed the nature of the park and the close community it provided, the “hot” commodity was a chilled water station where bicyclists could fill  their reusable water bottles with ice cold tap water.  Recently designed by Des Moines Water Works staff, the water station connects to any water supply and utilizes ice to cool the tap water flowing through a 100’ coil to four bottle filling faucets. Chilled water was extremely popular as the riders are accustomed to drinking lukewarm tap water all day long.

Two additional water stations were strategically positioned in the campground to provide thousands of gallons of water for the campers’ needs.  Riders were extremely appreciative of the plentiful supply of water allowing them to clean up and board a bus to experience the festivities in downtown Des Moines.

Cyclists and their support teams got an early start July 24 and by mid-morning, few traces remained of the epic camp-out the night before.  From all accounts, cyclists enjoyed their stay in Des Moines and the hospitality offered by the entire community.  In return, DMWW thanks RAGBRAI-ers for being great stewards of Water Works Park.  Come back and enjoy!

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park, Uncategorized, Water Quality July 22, 2013

Des Moines Water Works Celebrates Water and Wastewater Workers of Iowa Week

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJuly 21-27, 2013 has been designated as Water and Wastewater Workers of Iowa Week, as proclaimed by Governor Terry Branstad during a ceremony at the State Capitol on July 18, 2013.

The proclamation that was signed by the Governor read:

The State of Iowa’s surface and ground waters are a treasured natural resource; and

The water and wastewater workforce of Iowa have dedicated themselves to applying environmental science to enhance drinking and recreational waters of Iowa; and

Their applied environmental science-based practices continue to be a vital element in improving the quality of life and preserving and protecting public health in our state, and promoting sustainability in our way of living.

All Des Moines Water Works employees provide an important service to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Recognizing a shortage of skilled workers in the industry, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) has created a new associate’s degree in Water Environment Technology to encourage Iowans to get the education and resources needed to become a part of water and wastewater management in the state.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized July 15, 2013

Five Years of Clean Air in Iowa – When can Iowa Celebrate Five Years of Clean Water?

RiverIn 2008, the state passed the Smokefree Air Act which banned smoking in public places. Why? Because it protected public health. State legislators passed this bold legislation because it was best for the people of Iowa.

Reducing nitrate, phosphorus, and bacteria in Iowa’s rivers, streams, and lakes will also protect public health. This year is a record setting year for nitrate levels, with the Raccoon River reaching 24.39 mg/L and Des Moines River 18.62 mg/L. If nitrate levels in our source water persist at levels such that DMWW is unable to produce finished drinking water below 10 mg/L, Des Moines Water Works will violate the drinking water standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency. This standard is set to protect our most vulnerable population, infants under 6 months of age.

Opponents criticized the Smokefree Air Act as a government intrusion into personal choice and free enterprise that would force businesses to close due to a reduction in business. Agricultural interests are using similar arguments. The agricultural community insists government cannot tell them what to do on their own land, and argues that if agriculture is regulated, it will force the livestock industry and row-crop production out of the country. No one is allowed to use the state’s water resources to the point that they impair water use by others. All Iowans are accountable and responsible for improving and protecting Iowa’s water resources and ultimately public health. Iowa Code, 455B.262 (3) states, “Water occurring in a basin or watercourse …is public water and public wealth of the people of the state … the control and development and use of water for all beneficial purposes is vested in the state, which shall take measures to ensure the conservation and protection of the water resources of the state.” Iowa needs strong leadership on this important issue.  Where are the voices of state officials who will take bold steps to ensure Iowa’s water resources benefit all Iowans?

Protecting the health of Iowans is not a partisan issue. Agriculture should not be exempted from all regulation, especially when conditions created by the industry negatively impact the general population. Balancing freedom in farming decisions and water quality is a critical issue in Iowa. Des Moines Water Works wants to work with state leaders to ensure the economics, social, and environmental effects of farming are balanced for future generations.

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Posted in Uncategorized July 10, 2013

Remembering the Flood of 1993

flood of 1993 aerial view 2Twenty years ago – at 3:02 a.m. on July 11, 1993 – Des Moines Water Works shut down operations after the water treatment plant and general office were inundated with flood water.

It all began July 8, when 8-10 inches of rain fell in the upper Raccoon River watershed.  On July 9, the levee was closed.  At 1:00 a.m. on July 11, water started coming over the levee.  The Raccoon River crested at the historic level of 26.75 feet, 1.75 feet higher than the levee.

The dewatering process began along with restoration of the high voltage and high service pumps, chemical feeds, and refilling the distribution system.  The National Guard air-lifted equipment in and out of the treatment plant.  Staff worked round-the-clock.  The general office was re-located.  Seven days later, DMWW began pumping potable water from the Fleur Drive plant.  Customers could use the water for sanitary use on Day 12, and the water was safe to drink on Day 19.

The levee around the water treatment plant was heightened by 6 feet.  Permanent flood gates have been installed.  A second treatment plant, the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, began operation in 2000.  A third treatment plant, the Saylorville Water Treatment Plant, went online in 2011.

DMWW was forever changed by the Flood of 1993.  The product we produce daily became even more important, and our commitment to quality and service became even stronger.  The dedicated employees, tireless volunteers, and the utility’s commitment to the community allowed us to quickly recover, restore service and rebuild to bring the community safe, reliable, high quality water now and in the future.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , Posted in Flooding, History, Uncategorized