Archive for the ‘Value of Water’ Category

April 13, 2020

Des Moines Water Works’ Response to COVID-19

 

The water we deliver to your tap is safe to drink.

Des Moines Water Works’ multiple-barrier approach and traditional disinfection methods used to meet state and federal drinking water regulations require treatment to remove or kill pathogens, including viruses. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water.

On any given day, Des Moines Water Works’ state certified laboratory conducts 50 to 60 tests on our various source waters and another 150 to 200 tests to ensure the highest quality of water is produced.

The laboratory doesn’t just test for federally regulated contaminants, we also take great pride in monitoring and testing for emerging and unregulated threats so that we can stay ahead of potential health risks.

Des Moines Water Works has plans in place to handle variety of emergency situations and pandemics.

Des Moines Water Works was one of the first water utilities in America to begin sequestering critical staff at its water treatment plant as part of our response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan was created by staff over 10 years ago for situations just like we are experiencing today.

Beginning in late March, Des Moines Water Works sequestered employees at each of our three water treatment plants for two weeks at time.  The critical staff includes operations, maintenance, repair, controls, supervision, and regulatory compliance employees to ensure a continuous supply of safe and reliable water to serve Central Iowa during these unprecedented circumstances.

During this time, please remember the following:

  • Our General Office remains closed to the public.
  • In-home customer service visits and backflow inspection visits are temporarily suspended, unless an emergency.
  • Please log-in to your online customer account at www.dmww.com or contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 to assist you with payment.
  • And because proper sanitation is important to curb community spread of the virus, Des Moines Water Works will temporarily suspend service termination for delinquent accounts.
  • While the General Office is closed, customers can continue to make payments. Customers can contact us to make a pay arrangement so their water is not terminated immediately when the suspension is lifted.

Des Moines Water Works field crews will continue maintaining and repairing the infrastructure that supports the water system, including responding to main breaks and planned improvement projects.

Water you can trust for life. It’s not just our motto, it’s our mission that guides everything we do when it comes to providing over 500,000 Central Iowans safe, affordable and abundant drinking water straight to their tap.

So have a glass water. Wash your hands. Stay home. Thank an essential worker. We’re all in this together. And together, we are #DSMStrong.

Many in the community have asked how to express appreciation for our Water Workers. Take a moment to write or draw your #ThankAWaterWorker.

You can scan or take a picture of your note and e-mail to [email protected] or mail to 2201 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines 50321.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Value of Water 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 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 May 2, 2019

DMWW Community Partnerships

Des Moines Water Works is committed to being a vital contributor to the betterment of our community. Each year, sponsorship applications are considered from community organizations that advance the utility’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives. Since 2015, Des Moines Water Works has provided $84,500 in cash sponsorships and $30,000 in in-kind technical assistance to local organizations or academia with environmental studies, curriculum or events designed to build appreciation for the value of water or increase research and awareness for source water quality and quantity. In 2018, a few of those local organizations Des Moines Water Works sponsored include:

Our Water Our Land Video Series – With Des Moines Water Works’ sponsorship, Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center produced 30 educational videos that include timely, interesting, and honest information about a range of important social, political, and economic issues. Our Water Our Land video series brings a more educational, thought provoking, and balanced discussion on water quality and soil health. More information: www.aglawcenter.wp.drake.edu/our-water.

Polk County/Beaver Creek Watershed Management Authority – As a large watershed feeding Des Moines Water Works’ river source, Des Moines Water Works provided sponsorship dollars to Polk County in support of a Beaver Creek comprehensive watershed plan. Watershed Management Authorities and their planning and management within a watershed is integral to water quality improvement in Iowa.

Water Rocks! – An award-winning education program through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Water Rocks! helps students, teachers and parents learn the science of water quality through music. Des Moines Water Works provided sponsorship dollars in order to bring their exciting program into Des Moines Public Schools. More information:
www.waterrocks.org.

In addition, you may have seen a Des Moines Water Works mobile water stations at a recent community event, festival or charity. Since 2012, Des Moines Water Works has provided free mobile water stations to more than 20 events each year, including the Downtown Farmers Market, Des Moines Arts Festival, 80/35 Music Festival, and Iowa State Fair Parade. These mobile water stations encourage visitors to bring their own reusable water bottles to events to stay hydrated and eliminate bottled beverage waste.

Des Moines Water Works thanks all its community partners working to provide important programs supporting safe and affordable drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Education, Value of Water October 9, 2018

Imagine a Day Without Water

It can be easy to forget that some issues we all care about cut across geographic and political lines. Citizens may have different opinions on a variety of issues, but when it comes to our daily lives, they have a lot in common. They get up in the morning, brush their teeth, use the bathroom, and make coffee. They shower, do their laundry, and wash the dishes. Hospitals provide lifesaving services. Firefighters put out fires. But none of that would be possible without safe and reliable water.

A day without water is threatens our health, safety, and economy. That’s why Des Moines Water Works is joining with hundreds of groups across the country for Imagine a Day Without Water, a national day of action to raise awareness about the value of water.

If you’ve never experienced it before, it may be hard to imagine a day without water. But for some communities in Iowa (Creston and Greenfield) and across America (Flint, MI and Toledo, OH), they already know.

The vast majority of Americans, across parties and regions, want the federal government to invest in our water infrastructure. Investment in water infrastructure has not been a federal priority for decades, leaving it to local water utilities and people who pay water bills to make up the difference. While the U.S. government is currently funding $82 billion less than what is needed to maintain our water infrastructure, Des Moines Water Works proactively invests in the water system with water main replacement and other infrastructure improvements.

On Imagine a Day Without Water, Des Moines Water Works is kicking off the second annual Citizen Water Academy, with 24 participants from across central Iowa seeking to learn more about our most important resource: the water we depend on for life. Though Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for almost 100 years, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring and challenges are not common knowledge among most citizens. It is our hope that the Citizen Water Academy graduates not only come away from the Water Academy with a better understanding of their local water utility, but are also equipped to help lead the discussion on important water issues now and in the future.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Value of Water August 9, 2017

Citizen Water Academy of Central Iowa

Though Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for almost 100 years, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring and challenges presented by contaminated source water are not common knowledge among most citizens.  With water quality on the minds of Central Iowans, Des Moines Water Works is launching a Citizen Water Academy of Central Iowa in an effort to engage the public in more detail about the evolution of drinking water and understand plans for the future that meet the growing needs of our community.

The Citizen Water Academy is a free, four-session crash course about the history, use and management of water in the Central Iowa region.  The 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.  Attendees will receive 16 hours of instruction, tour multiple treatment plants operated by Des Moines Water Works, listen to over 15 presentations from soil and water experts, and interact with our expert Des Moines Water Works staff over the 4 courses of the program.  It is our hope 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 debate on important water issues now and in the future.

For more information on the Citizen Water Academy and to apply to be a part of the inaugural class, visit www.citizenwateracademy.com  For specific questions, contact Jennifer Terry, at (515) 283-8706 or [email protected]

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Education, Health, History, Infrastructure, Public Policy, Source Water, Value of Water, Water Quality, Water Treatment June 8, 2017

Keep your cool, stay hydrated

We know we need to stay hydrated during these hot days of summer. But what drink is the best? Grab a glass of Des Moines Water Works tap water.

Tap water is safe and affordable

Municipal tap water in the United States is some of the safest water you can drink. You can go to nearly any city in the country and drink the water without giving its safety a second thought. Nonetheless, many people choose to spend more for bottled water. Studies show that bottled water is no safer than tap water, yet bottled water costs almost 2,000% more. An 8 ounce glass of water can be refilled approximately 15,000 times for the same price as a six pack of soda.

Replace sports drinks with H2O

A common myth is sports drinks are needed during and after a sports game or workout to recover. The fact is unless you work out hard for more than one hour, the fluids lost through sweat can be replaced with plain water. Drinking sports drinks when you don’t need them can lead to gaining weight. Sports drinks may be appropriate for competitive sports that last more than one hour, but during the day and at most sports practices, water is the best drink.

More tips to stay hydrated:

  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
  • Check on elderly family and neighbors.
  • Remember to replenish your pets’ water dish frequently.
Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Health, Value of Water March 8, 2017

Contact the Des Moines City Council

On Monday, March 20, the Des Moines City Council is scheduled to vote on whether the city should support House File 484, a controversial bill that would eliminate the Des Moines Water Works. Call them and urge them to vote no.

Mayor Frank Cownie
Email: [email protected]
City Hall Phone: (515) 283-4944
Home Phone: (515) 255-3644

Bill Gray – Ward 1
Email: [email protected]
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1623
Home Phone: (515) 274-0077

Linda Westergaard – Ward 2
Email: [email protected]
Home Phone: (515) 988-4288

Christine Hensley – Ward 3
Email: [email protected]
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1625
Home Phone: (515) 255-4716

Joe Gatto – Ward 4
Email: [email protected]
Home Phone: (515) 402-2626

Christopher Coleman – Ward 5
Email: [email protected]
City Hall Phone: (515) 237-1622
Home Phone: (515) 276-7644

Skip Moore – At Large
Email: [email protected]
Home Phone: (515) 681-9804

Why You Should Stand Against HF 484

House File 484 is a bill being considered in the Iowa Legislature  that would disband the governing boards of the Des Moines, Urbandale, and West Des Moines water works. If signed into law, these three independent utilities would be forced to turn over management and their assets to the city councils in each city.

This is a diversion

  • There is no drinking water quality crisis in the Des Moines metro area that would necessitate the state legislature stepping in.
  • The real problem is source water quality in the state. The Legislature should be focused on water quality – not local water production.
  • Metro utilities have done an outstanding job for decades of planning and implementing the supply, treatment, and transmissions projects necessary to ensure everyone in the metro has access to quality water in adequate quantities at reasonable rates.

Legislative overreach

  • This legislation stands in stark contrast to Home Rule (the right for local self-government)
  • Iowa Code Chapter 388, states that a city may establish or dispose of a city utility, but it is subject to the approval of the voters of the city.
  • This legislation takes the right to vote out of the hands of the citizens of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Urbandale.
  • Approximately 15 years ago, West Des Moines asked the citizens of West Des Moines to vote on dissolving their water board. More than 90% of the voters said no. This legislation will allow them to take over the utility without it going to the voters.
  • This is clearly an effort to bypass existing law and the will of the people.

Current version of the bill doesn’t even address regionalization

  • The amended bill doesn’t create a regional water authority, which was ostensibly the reason for the original legislation.
  • Regionalization, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. This is why a coalition of 22 metro water utilities commissioned a study in 2014.
  • House File 484 would dismantle in an instant all of our accomplishments today. The metro water utilities will find a solution to our region’s future water needs by continuing the dialogue, not dismantling what has already been done.

Why water boards were set up independently

  • Water utility boards were set up independent from city councils for a reason – to protect a public health necessity from politics. Simply stated, it is an independent local water utility owned by its customers and it works, and has worked for 100 years.
  • There is absolutely no need to dismantle the water boards in the metro area that have decades of experience of delivering safe and affordable drinking water, and have long histories of financial diligence that have resulted in healthy water systems at relatively affordable rates.
  • Currently, water rates are reinvested in the water system, funding imperative capital improvements – for example, over $3 million this year in water main replacement projects for Des Moines.
  • It is no secret the City of Des Moines needs new revenue sources. If assets, responsibilities and revenue are transferred to City of Des Moines, portions of water rates could be funneled to the general fund of City of Des Moines, circumventing needed infrastructure plans.
  • Takes the management of delivering safe and affordable drinking water from professionals and puts in the hands of politicians.

Why you should stand against HF 484

  • This is a solution looking for a non-existent problem.
  • The legislature is sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
  • The proposed legislation actually impedes the regions ability to create a regional water authority.
  • House File 484 sets a dangerous precedent for all of Iowa’s 500 independent utilities boards.
  • Legislation could impede economic growth as it puts a freeze planning and construction of new water treatment facilities.
  • House File 484 is an example of politics at its worst. This legislation is clearly retaliation for the Clean Water Lawsuit, and shows no regard to the 500,000 people who depend on Des Moines Water Works for clean and affordable drinking water ever day.
  • As we saw in Flint, Michigan, when financially strained cities make decisions for purely economic reasons, the results can be catastrophic.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Posted in Board of Trustees, Customers, Value of Water, Water Quality November 7, 2016

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.

This year, Des Moines Water Works has been pleased to provide $20,000 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:

  • Water Rocks! – An award-winning education program through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Water Rocks! helps students, teachers and parents learn the science of water quality through music. Des Moines Water Works provided $4,500 to Water Rocks! in order to bring their exciting program into Des Moines elementary and public schools.
  • Walnut Creek Watershed Coalition – Des Moines Water Works awarded $3,000 for the annual Walnut Creek Cleanup and Watershed Festival, as well as educational kiosks throughout the watershed that provide current water quality parameters, including nitrate, phosphorus, pH, turbidity and bacteria.
  • Community Youth Concepts – Des Moines Water Works provided $3,000 to the Youth Volunteer Corps of Des Moines program in order educate youth on the importance of responsible water use. Students learned about silting, erosion, and the public responsibility for watershed management. Teens participated in hands-on service learning related to conservation efforts that will restore wetlands and benefit Iowa’s native wildlife and plants.
  • Raccoon River Watershed Association – Water recreationalists, hikers, birders, hunters and fishermen/women are just a few on a long list that enjoy the land and water along the Raccoon River. Des Moines Water Works awarded the Raccoon River Water Association $3,000 for its annual conference, “Life in the Raccoon,” that educates and promotes the many aspects of the vast and complex Raccoon River Watershed.
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa – Des Moines Water Works awarded Practical Farmers of Iowa $650 to support their annual conference that educates farmers about on-farm practices that will benefit all Iowans through improved water, soil and communities. Practical Farmers of Iowa has been showcasing Iowa farmers’ on-farm innovations that work toward building a strong, sustainable agricultural system in Iowa for over 30 years.

67In addition to monetary donations, this year, Des Moines Water Works donated three water fountain and bottle filling stations to Des Moines Public Schools. These water fountains were placed in Cowles, Goodrell, and Park Avenue elementary schools.  Providing the water fountain and bottle fillings stations promote the availability of Des Moines’ quality tap water to the many students, staff and parents at each school building, and reduce the amount of bottled beverages consumed and improperly discarded in landfills.  Each water station has a ticker display that lets users know how many plastic bottles have been eliminated by using the bottle filling feature.

Finally, you may have seen a Des Moines Water Works’ mobile water station at a recent event, festival or charity. Des Moines Water Works has provided a mobile water station to more than 20 events this year, including Downtown Farmers Market, Des Moines Arts Festival, 80/35 Music Festival, and the Iowa State Fair. These mobile water stations encourage visitors to bring their own reusable water bottles to events in order to stay hydrated and eliminate bottled beverage waste.

Des Moines Water Works thanks all its community partners working to provide education, appreciation and accessibility of safe and affordable drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in About Us, Education, Environment, Value of Water November 24, 2014

Investment in Aging Water Infrastructure and Degraded Source Water

PumpsIn setting water rates and the proposed budget for 2015, the Board of Water Works Trustees has demonstrated a continued commitment to investing in Des Moines’ aging water infrastructure and providing safe water to customers, despite increasingly poor quality of source waters.

“While Des Moines Water Works has a long history of substantial reinvestment in water infrastructure, the aging of our assets and our increasing concerns about the impacts of climate change requires even greater investment going forward,” said Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. “The degradation of our infrastructure is evidenced by the increasing number of main breaks, and affects our mission to provide a quality and reliable service to our customers.”

The Board of Water Works Trustees believe in a funding philosophy of “pay as you go,” where improvements and replacements are funded through rates and not funded by debt, all while maintaining reasonable water rates in relation to the rest of the country.

The proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2015 calendar year budget includes rate increases for Des Moines, total service, and wholesale water customers. The rate increases include a 7% increase for Des Moines and total service customers and a 5% increase for wholesale customers, namely suburban customers who purchase water from Des Moines Water Works to resell to their residents. The 7% rate increase is only for the water portion of the monthly bill, not city services that Des Moines Water Works collects for city agencies. For a typical four-person household inside the city of Des Moines, the 7% increase equates to an additional $1.65 on a customer’s monthly water bill.

Certain service areas, such as unincorporated Polk County, have greater capital needs to combat an aging system and accommodate growth. Beyond a 7% increase in rates, those customers will have an additional $1.50/thousand gallon fee that will fund significant capital improvements in the service area.

The 7% increase for Des Moines customers is fundamental to supporting operations and a healthy capital reinvestment program, including facilities necessary to adequately treat source waters that continue to degrade.

“Delivering safe and reliable water to our customers is a capital intensive responsibility,” said Stowe. “Even while working efficiently, the costs for treatment and distribution of water continue to rise. To not invest in critical water infrastructure and capital improvement projects would be irresponsible.”

In addition to investment in the aging infrastructure, the 2015 rates reflect the nearly $1 million Des Moines Water Works spent in 2013 to reduce nitrate concentrations found in Des Moines Water Works’ source waters to a level below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking water standard.

Within the proposed 2015 budget, 16% of the utility’s capital budget will be spent on improvements to naturally reduce rising nitrate levels in source waters. This includes the use of sand quarries and gravel pits that naturally filter nitrate – a longer term investment and more cost effective solution in comparison to operating and expanding the expensive nitrate removal facility.

New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2015. A complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2015 water rate structure is available at www.dmww.com/upl/documents/library/2015-water-rates.pdf.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Infrastructure, Rates, Value of Water, Water Quality