Archive for the ‘Value of Water’ CategoryNovember 20, 2013
Finding leaks early helps reduce the level of damage that a larger main break might cause. Leak detection also helps keep production costs down, which in turn has a positive impact on our customer’s water rates.
DMWW began its leak detection program in 1983. At the start of the program, DMWW’s unaccounted for water (total pumpage minus billed) was at 15 percent. Today, DMWW’s unaccounted for water is 7-9 percent.
Water Distribution’s staff performs an annual leak survey of the distribution system. In addition, leak survey and follow-up activities are conducted for other metro area communities, plumbers, contractors and property owners.
The leak detection team uses a highly sensitive electronic sounding device to listen for leaks. The leak surveyor systematically works his or her way through the distribution system sounding valves, blow-offs and hydrants, searching for leaks. When a leak sound is discovered, the leak surveyor records the leak in DMWW’s geographic information system (GIS) software. These leaks can be as small as pinholes in the pipe or as large as a split main.
Follow-up involves sounding the structures where a leak sound was found during the survey. The Field Service Technician must determine if the leak is actually on the valve, hydrant, or the main. A leak correlator and outstation sensors are used to run scans on the water main to pinpoint the location of a leak. The leak can usually be pinpointed within one to two feet of its actual location. Identified leaks are then turned over to a repair crew.
Advance pinpointing of leaks and main breaks saves Des Moines Water Works $30,000 to $50,000 each year in labor costs.
Here’s an exciting opportunity for river enthusiasts! Plan to participate in Iowa Rivers Revival’s “Master River Steward Program” in the Des Moines/Raccoon River Watershed. This will be Iowa Rivers Revival’s second year offering this program. The eight week course, beginning May 14, will focus on riverine systems, including skills to paddle and navigate rivers, restore aquatic habitat, improve water quality, and understand policies related to floodplains, river protection and restoration.
The “Master River Steward Program” will build on a network of river experts in various partner agencies and organizations. It will help adult learners collaborate to protect and improve Iowa’s rivers, so that current and future generations can enjoy these resources. Visit Iowa Rivers Revival’s website to view an outline of last year’s program: http://iowarivers.org/education/river-stewards/.
Registration Cost: Participants will pay a fee of $50 which will include program materials. Participants will be expected to attend each session and there will be “homework” assignments following each class – materials will be provided. Please register by April 30, 2013.
Feedback from 2012 Pilot Participants:
- “Great class, thoroughly enjoyed each and every session.”
- “Great leadership. Great resources/readings. Great speakers. Great group.”
- “Really enjoyed class. Had zero expectations coming in. Was surprised by the amount of river experience/Project AWARE tie in. Really enjoyed meeting such passionate people. Each week gave me something to think about and discuss with co-workers.”
- “This was a fantastic program. I came in with no expectations, but left every night excited to share what I learned with others… Thanks so much for putting this together. I will become active in the stewardship of rivers at a far greater level due to this program.”
For more information and to register, contact:
Rosalyn Lehman, Executive Director
Iowa Rivers Revival
PO Box 72, Des Moines, IA 50301
Iowa Rivers Revival (IRR) is Iowa’s only statewide river education and advocacy organization committed to protecting one of our most precious natural resources – our rivers and streams. Since 2007, IRR has been working to engage individuals, organizations, communities and our government leaders in river awareness, responsibility and enjoyment in an effort to improve and enhance the condition of Iowa’s waterways – ensuring a quality, safe and lasting resource for future generations.
It’s National Drinking Water Week! Students will learn and celebrate Iowa’s most valuable resource – water – at the 16th Annual Iowa Children’s Water Festival. The Iowa Children’s Water Festival, sponsored by Iowa Association of Water Agencies (IAWA), brings over 2,000 fifth grade students from 40 schools across the state of Iowa to a free, fun, educational day filled with learning experiences all related to some aspect of water. All activities will be held on the Des Moines Area Community College-Ankeny Campus on Thursday, May 10, 2012, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and concluding at 3:30 p.m.
The Iowa Children’s Water Festival is designed as an opportunity for the youth of Iowa to enjoy a fun-filled day, learning about all the aspects of water, including water quality, wise-water usage practices, safety and recreation. Students participate in hands-on learning activities, presented by a variety of water professionals, representing government agencies, environmental organizations, higher education and private businesses.
“We want Iowa’s youth to understand what they and others do in their daily lives, directly impacts water resources,” says Laura Sarcone, Festival Coordinator. “If we want to continue to have an adequate and safe supply of water, we must become better ecologists at an early age.”
The Festival is coordinated by several local and state agencies, including Des Moines Water Works, DMACC, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Iowa Rural Water Association and West Des Moines Water Works.
Students participate in hands-on learning activities, presented by a variety of water professionals, representing local and national government agencies, environmental organizations, higher education and private businesses. The activities are designed to teach children about water in a learning-intensive, yet festive and fun environment.
The Iowa Children’s Water Festival is designed as an opportunity for the youth of Iowa to enjoy a fun-filled day, learning about all the aspects of water, including water quality, wise-water usage practices, uses, safety and fun.
The 2012 capital improvements budget for Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) includes $6.4 million for water main and new feeder main projects. Of that amount, $2.8 million is budgeted for water system improvements within the Des Moines water distribution system. These funds will be used to replace water mains that have reached their useful life expectancy – water mains with a high occurrence of breaks. These funds are also used to replace small water mains (4-inch diameter and smaller) that do not provide adequate flows for fire protection. DMWW typically budgets between $1.5 and $3 million each year to replace these worn out and undersized water mains.
This is just one of the many efforts DMWW undertakes to ensure that infrastructure is replaced to ensure delivery of quality drinking water in the quantities that our customers need.
The forefathers of Des Moines Water Works did a tremendous job planning for and building the infrastructure of the utility to meet the water needs of the City of Des Moines and metro area prior to 1960. The planning effort has been regionally focused over the last 30 years. The implementation of these early planning efforts and a continued planning mindset to this day has produced water utility assets that serve the region very well. These past planning efforts serve to reinforce the importance of long range planning in the infrastructure intensive nature of the water utility business.
In planning for the water utility for the next 20 years, we must first estimate the water needs of the region for this future time period. The Water Works completed this planning effort in 2008 and 2009, which included analyzing customer water use trends coupled with population forecast for the region to produce forecasted total water needs. The results predicted there will be continuing water efficiency gains which will lower somewhat the overall per customer water use. All new home and business water use fixtures require less water today as a result of required efficiency improvements mandated by Federal Legislation in 1992. However, the Des Moines region is predicted to see continued modest growth in population and in business and industry such that overall water needs are estimated to increase slightly. It is important for Des Moines Water Works to plan for a slight increase in water needs in order to evaluate the adequacy of source water supplies, which can take many years to develop.
As one can imagine, a water utility must have sufficient source water supplies so as not to inhibit regional growth. Des Moines Water Works’ planning revealed that the current source supplies are very adequate for the next 20 years, except during a severe drought event that could require mandatory water use restrictions, such as limiting outdoor irrigation and other non-essential uses. With a greater awareness by most everyone of being “green” and more new construction striving to attain some form of LEED certification or at least following a more conservation ethic, DMWW’s source water supplies could well be adequate for the next 50 years.
This fall, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) began offering a new curriculum at its Ankeny campus. Thanks to a joint effort between an industry-wide committee (including American Water Works Association-IA Section, Iowa Water Environment Association, Iowa Rural Water Association, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources), this new curriculum has been designed to help educate a future workforce to fill the large number of openings expected in the water and wastewater industries due to retirements.
There will be three areas of study: water, wastewater, and a combination water/wastewater embedded in a larger two year AAS Degree industrial program. There will be three levels of education available; a Degree, a Diploma, and a Certificate of Specialization. By embedding into a larger industrial program, DMACC won’t have the pressure of keeping numbers of water/wastewater students up in order to keep the program alive (which has been an issue in previous programs across the state). When the number of students allows it, the water/wastewater program will be offered by other community colleges around the state.
The curriculum will be “in class” and “web-based” to reach both traditional and non-traditional students. The web-based students will attend one day of concentrated classes a week on campus. This allows students who are working, to take classes while continuing their employment.
DMWW assisted DMACC with the program and course design and will assist the instructors with assessment review. Des Moines Water Works is excited to have this new water/wastewater curriculum available to our employees and future employees.
Water is the vital resource to support all forms of life. Unfortunately, water is not evenly distributed by location or by the season of the year. Some areas of the country are more arid and water is a scarce and precious commodity. Other areas of the country receive more than adequate amounts of rain causing occasional floods and loss of life and property. Throughout history, dams and reservoirs have been constructed to collect, store and manage the supply of water to sustain civilization.
The primary benefit of dams and reservoirs is water supply. Reservoirs also provide benefits such as flood control, recreation, scenic beauty, fish and wildlife habitat and, at some dams, hydro-electric power. Currently there are about 45,000 dams higher than 50 feet throughout the world. While some are more than 2,000 years old, over 70% have been built in the last 50 years.
The Maffitt Dam was constructed by Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) as an emergency water supply. Construction started in August 1943 and the dam was completed in March 1945. Water was pumped from the Raccoon River to fill the reservoir. Maffitt Reservoir stores 1.57 billion gallons of water. The original plan was to store water in the reservoir that could be released during periods of low flow in the Raccoon River. The current plan is to use water from the reservoir as an emergency raw water source for the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant.
In May of 1982, DMWW entered into a contract with the State of Iowa to purchase storage capacity in the Saylorville Reservoir. DMWW paid a portion of the Saylorville Reservoir construction costs and makes annual payments for a portion of the operational costs. These payments give DMMW access to 3.2 billion gallons of Saylorville Reservoir water that can be utilized in a drought situation.
Between the Maffitt and Saylorville Reservoirs, DMWW has access to 4.77 billion gallons of water to meet the water needs of our customers in the event of an emergency or drought situation.
All water and wastewater workers in the state of Iowa were recognized by the signing of a proclamation by Governor Terry Branstad on July 28, 2011. The proclamation is part of a “Water and Wastewater Workers of Iowa” week that is being promoted by four industry groups, including Iowa Section American Water Works Association, Iowa Water Environment Association, Iowa Rural Water Association, and Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, as well as Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The signing event took place at the Ames Water Pollution Control Facility and was attended by operators from all over the state.
The proclamation that was signed by the Governor read:
Recognizing that the State of Iowa’s wealth of natural resources has been threatened by the degradation of surface and ground waters, the Water and Wastewater workforce of Iowa have dedicated themselves to applying environmental passion and science to enhance drinking and recreational waters of Iowa. Their applied environmentalism continues 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.
Des Moines Water Works wants to take this opportunity to thank our employees for all that they do for their community each and every day of the year.
Des Moines Water Works’ goal is to provide an uninterrupted supply of quality drinking water even in the face of adversity; however, we also advocate preparedness. Water can quickly become a precious resource following many disasters. The following guidelines, adapted from www.ready.gov, can help you be prepared in case of an emergency.
How Much Water Should I Store for Emergency Use? It is recommended you store a three-day supply of water including at least one gallon per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.
How Should Tap Water be Stored? It is recommended you purchase food-grade water storage containers from surplus or camping supply stores to use for water storage. Before filling with water, thoroughly clean the containers with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Follow directions below for filling the container with water.
If you choose to use recycled storage containers, choose two-liter plastic soft drink bottles – not plastic jugs or cardboard containers that have contained milk or fruit juice. Milk protein and fruit sugars cannot be adequately removed from these containers and provide an environment for bacterial growth when water is stored in them.
If storing water in plastic soda bottles, follow these steps: Thoroughly clean the bottles with dishwashing soap and water, and rinse completely so there is no residual soap. Sanitize the bottles by adding a solution of one teaspoon of liquid household chlorine bleach such as Clorox® Regular Bleach to the water. (Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.) Swish the sanitizing solution in the bottle so that it touches all surfaces. After sanitizing the bottle, thoroughly rinse with clean water.
Filling the Containers: Fill the container with tap water. Des Moines Water Works’ water is treated with chlorine so you do not need to add anything to preserve it. If the water you are using comes from a well or water source that is not treated with chlorine, add two drops of liquid household chlorine bleach such as Clorox® Regular Bleach to the water. (Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.) Tightly close the container using the original cap. Be careful not to contaminate the cap by touching the inside of it with your finger. Place a date on the outside of the container so you know when it was filled.
Where Should the Water be Stored? Water for emergency use should be stored in a cool, dark place with limited or preferably no exposure to sunlight. You may want to consider storing half of it in one place and half in another place to guard against all of the water being compromised by the disaster. Containers of water can also be stored in a freezer where the ice will help maintain the temperature of the freezer during power outages and provide emergency water as it melts. If water will be frozen, the containers should not be filled completely to allow room for expansion.
How Long Can the Water be Stored? Water stored in this way will last for many months. It is recommended that you inspect your stored water supply every three months and empty your containers, clean, and refill them approximately every six months.
Storing Bottled Water: Commercially bottled water can be used for emergency water storage. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open until it is needed. Replace bottled water on the expiration or “use by” date.
More information on emergency water storage can be found at www.ready.gov.
Every fire hydrant in Des Moines is color coded to indicate how much water is available from that hydrant for fire fighting. The bonnet is painted a specific color in accordance with National Fire Prevention Association Standard 291. This color coding allows fire fighters to quickly determine which hydrants in a given area will provide the best flow of water for fighting a fire. The different colors represent the flow available from the hydrant in gallons per minute. The color codes used in Des Moines are as follows:
- Red = 0 to 500 gallons per minute
- Orange = 500 to 1,000 gallons per minute
- Green = more than 1,000 gallons per minute
Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains more than 10,000 fire hydrants in Des Moines and the surrounding areas. Each of the hydrants receives regular maintenance including an annual check every fall to ensure the hydrant has not been damaged and is not standing full of water that could freeze during the winter months, rendering the hydrant unusable in the event of an emergency. In addition, every fire hydrant receives more thorough maintenance every two to three years to ensure the moving parts are well lubricated and in proper working order.
Fire hydrants are actually used more frequently for water system maintenance than for fire fighting. Any time maintenance is performed on the water system, 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.