Archive for the ‘Water Quality’ CategoryJune 12, 2012
Rain barrels collect rainwater from rooftops via rain gutters, which is then used to water yards and gardens. 1/4” rain can yield over 200 gallons of water. Any large container with a lid will work, and you can make your own quite easily. Many videos with step-by-step instructions for making a rain barrel are available online.
Rain gardens are planted depressions near rain gutters that allow rainwater to be absorbed, thus reducing runoff and potentially polluted storm water going down our storm sewers and into our rivers. Rain gardens also help recharge groundwater. Native plants should be used because they don’t require fertilizer and are more tolerant to local climate conditions. Rain gardens need a little more maintenance than a lawn in the beginning, but in the long run become much easier to care for.
Look for Des Moines Water Works’ 2012 Consumer Confidence Report in your June statement. This annual water quality report summarizes the results of our water monitoring program as required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during 2011. Many of the analyses are required by the Safe Drinking Water Act and other regulations; however, we monitor for contaminants above and beyond the basic requirements. Water supplied by Des Moines Water Works continues to meet and surpass all state and federal drinking water standards.
Please take time to read your annual water quality report – it is important to understand the facts about the quality of water delivered to you, your home and/or business. If you receive your bill statement from Des Moines Water Works electronically (E-statement), you can access the report online at http://www.dmww.com/water-quality/water-quality-data/water-quality-reports/ or request a copy of the report from a Customer Service Representative. If you have questions regarding the report or water quality, please contact us at (515) 283-8700.Labels: CCR, Consumer Confidence Report, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, water quality Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Water Quality, Water Treatment May 30, 2012
Exfoliating pedicures, organic mud facials, rejuvenating hydrotherapy…. No, it’s not a day at a fancy spa. It’s sand on your feet, mud on your cheek and current under your canoe at the 10th Annual Project AWARE.
Join other volunteers for one day or the whole week along the Iowa River, July 7-14, as you paddle up to 17 river miles per day, loading your boat with trash as you go. The weeklong, 93-mile river cleanup includes daily educational programs, meals and camping areas. Registrations must be postmarked by June 22, to avoid a late fee and guarantee meals.
Last year, 429 volunteers muscled over 32 tons of trash from the Little Turkey, Turkey and Volga rivers. Thirty-one tons consisted of scrap metal and tires, all of which could be recycled.
It’s a dirty job … but for those with a taste for the finer things in life, think of it as a rewarding trip to the spa.
Photo credit: IDNR via http://www.flickr.com/photos/iowadnr/sets/72157627340897304/Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Iowa River, Project AWARE, River cleanup Posted in Environment, Source Water, Water Quality May 1, 2012
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) has utilized two Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells as sources of water for four years. These wells are installed deep into the Jordan Aquifer and used to store water that is needed when water demand is high – usually during the summer months when customers are using more water for irrigation of lawns and gardens. When water demand is low, mainly during winter months, DMWW will store drinking water down into the wells which displace the native Jordan water around the wells.
A total of 270 million gallons can be stored in each of two ASR wells during the winter months when DMWW has excess water treatment capacity. Then in the summer months, during higher water demand, the drinking water is pumped out of the ASR wells and into the water distribution system for use by customers. The water is pumped out of each of the ASR wells at three million gallons per day rate. These wells can pump for a total of 90 days to recover the 270 MG put into the wells.
The ASR wells can be constructed for about one-third the cost of adding capacity to an existing water treatment plant. These ASR wells are utilized to take capacity demand off the treatment plants.
This is just one of the methods DMWW uses to maximize the funds used to invest in the infrastructure required to deliver quality water to our customer in the quantities that they need.
The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. to provide a venue for persons who want to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2009 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Each day, approximately, 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet.
Proper disposal of prescription drugs is also important to water quality. Unwanted prescription drugs thrown down the drain or toilet can end up in water ways, potentially harming aquatic life, recreational activities and the quality of source water used for your drinking water.
Find a collection site near you. In Polk County, you can drop off unwanted and unused prescription drugs at these locations:
2702 SE Delaware
3140 SE 14 Street
West Des Moines Police Department
250 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines
Iowa Department of Public Safety HQ Building
215 East 7th Street
Johnston City Hall
6221 Merle Hay Road
Altoona Fire Department
950 Venbury Drive
Polk City City Hall
112 S. 3rd Street
URBANDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT
3740 86TH ST
DYMOND PUBLIC SAFETY CENTER
8505 HARBACH BLVD
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is gearing up for a special Earth Day weekend full of activities that promote watershed protection and wise use of Earth’s resources.
DMWW is a sponsor for City of Des Moines’ 2012 Trash Bash on Friday, April 20. This year’s event is dedicated to improving Iowa’s waterways and water quality. Teams of volunteers will kick-off the event at Nollen Plaza, where DMWW will have an educational booth and debut the DSMH2O Mobile Water Station for visitors to fill up their reusable water bottles! Be sure to “check-in” to DSMH2O on Foursqaure to receive a free reusable water bottle or T-shirt! Trash Bash volunteers will then set out to pick up trash in various locations around the city, including Water Works Park. Last year, over 1,000 volunteers removed 6,000 pounds of trash, tires and recyclables.
DMWW will have an interactive booth at the Science Center of Iowa’s Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 21 at 11:00 am. Stop by for fun games, including fishing for pollutants! Be sure to “check-in” to DSMH2O on Foursqaure to receive a free reusable water bottle or T-shirt!
At both events, DMWW will be asking visitors to complete a Take Back the Tap pledge form, encouraging everyone to choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible, as well as support policies that promote clean, affordable tap water for all. Complete the pledge form and submit it to Des Moines Water Works by June 15 to be entered into a drawing to win a Des Moines Water Works prize pack!
Also, plan a visit to the Des Moines Botanical Center on Sunday, April 22. Enjoy FREE admission on Earth Day!Labels: Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Earth Day, water quality Posted in About Us, Conservation, Customer Service, Green Initiatives, Water Quality April 17, 2012
Some people are more sensitive to subtle changes in taste or odors. Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) uses the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers as water sources. By using surface water, there can be some seasonal variations that occur. The treatment process should eliminate the variation in finished water, but sometimes there will be a slight change some customers may notice. For example, there may be a slight increase in smell or taste of chlorine at times, especially during a river’s spring thaw. This is easily remedied by storing water for drinking in a pitcher in the refrigerator.
If you think you have an issue with taste and odor of the water in your home, there are a few things you can do to determine the source of the problem. Check to see if the problem is apparent in all fixtures of the home. For example, is the issue apparent in the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room utility sink? Many times the issue is only at one fixture. This would indicate the cause is something in the household plumbing. A few things to consider would be: Has there been a recent change in the household plumbing? Do you have an in-home water treatment device that needs regular service or filter changes? Plastics can impart flavors and odors to the water; this can include parts in the faucet, plumbing lines, or appliances. If the problem is present in all fixtures, try running the tub or shower faucet for a period of time and then recheck to see if there is still an issue.
If it is an odor issue, try pouring a glass and then smelling it in another room. Sometimes the odor may be coming from another source, possibly a drain or garbage can, in the same room. By eliminating this possibility, one can ensure that it is the water that contains the odor. If you notice a sulfur odor, it may be from your home’s hot water heater. If the temperature is not set high enough, bacteria can grow in the water heater. A possible solution for this would be to turn the heater up high for a couple hours then return the setting to a normal level. If this is done, please use caution the first few times water is turned on, as water could still be hot.
If you are storing drinking water for convenient use, here are a few things to help prevent taste and odor issues. Store water in a glass container, as plastic can impart taste or odors to the water. Also make sure the container has a good seal. Store in the refrigerator as water will have less flavor when chilled. If the water has sat for a while, it may be flat. If this is the case, pour it back and forth between containers or shake it to help aerate the water. This will help to add oxygen to the water and remove the stale, flat flavor.
If you are still experiencing problems, please call your Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700 and report the issue and the duration the problem has been apparent. We will work with you to diagnose the problem.
Fluoridation of municipal drinking water has aroused some controversy from its beginnings in 1945. There is no doubt high concentrations of fluoride are toxic to the human body. But it’s important to remember that the toxicity of any material depends on the dose amount and the exposure duration. In the case of municipal water fluoridation, the overwhelming weight of evidence shows the current recommended dose – 0.7* part per million (ppm) – to be safe. The measurement unit of ppm is one part substance per million parts of water. One ppm is equivalent to a half gallon jug of water in an Olympic-size pool.
Des Moines Water Works’ source water (the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers, and shallow groundwater under river influence) contains fluoride naturally, usually between 0.1 and 0.5 part per million (ppm). The addition of fluoride to Des Moines Water Works’ drinking water is monitored every minute of every day by DMWW staff, so that the proper amount of fluoride is always maintained in the drinking water delivered to your home.
Des Moines Water Works and the water industry continue to examine and react to new research. But at the current time, the weight of evidence overwhelmingly supports continued fluoridation of municipal drinking water. Fluoridation of municipal drinking water is endorsed by:
- American Dental Association
- American Medical Association
- American Heart Association
- American Cancer Society
- American Water Works Association
- Centers for Disease Control
Every U.S. Surgeon General and every sitting President since Kennedy have publicly endorsed fluoridation. As the Centers for Disease Control has recognized, municipal drinking water fluoridation is one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century. We know good dental health is important to our overall physical well being. Good teeth enable us to eat a healthy diet throughout our life and into old age, helping lengthen our lifespan.
Fluoridation opponents like to say that only a handful of countries fluoridate their water, most notably the US and countries of the former British Empire. This is not accurate.
- Fluoridated countries: USA, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, UK, and Vietnam.
- Countries where natural fluoridation provides adequate benefit: Argentina, France, Gabon, Libya, Mexico, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA, and Zimbabwe.
- Countries/areas with fluoride levels above therapeutic levels: Africa, China, India.
Much controversy has been made of the fact that most western European countries do not fluoridate their water, and their rate of tooth decay is similar to the USA. What they don’t say: Many of these countries (plus Japan) once had fluoridated water, but discontinued fluoridation at some point. Discontinuation was almost always accompanied by intervening strategies: widespread use of sealants and topical fluoride treatments that kept decay rates similar to the U.S. It is important to point out that nearly all these countries had some sort of nationalized medical care which gave their citizens easy access to these interventionist strategies once water fluoridation was stopped. Notably, Germany and France both replaced water fluoridation with fluoridated salt. Many other European countries also fluoridate salt. So the arguments about Western Europe really don’t hold much water (pun intended)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are there side effects to fluoride?
Excess amounts of fluoride can be harmful to teeth and bones. Many people of the early American West had brown-stained teeth because they were consuming spring and mineral water with extremely high amounts of fluoride. It is also thought that infants should not consume fluoride in amounts greater than that found in breast milk. For this reason, the American Dental Association recommends that infant formula be prepared with unfluoridated water.
What if I’m pregnant or have an infant?
The American Dental Association makes these recommendations regarding infants and fluoride:
- Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends human milk for all infants (except for the few for whom breastfeeding is determined to be harmful).
- For infants who get most of their nutrition from formula during their first 12 months, ready-to-feed formula is preferred over formula mixed with water containing fluoride to help ensure that infants do not get more fluoride than they need.
- Powdered or liquid concentrate infant formula can be mixed with water that is fluoride free or contains low levels of fluoride. These types of water are labeled as purified, demineralized, deionized, distilled or reverse osmosis filtered water. Many stores sell these types of drinking water for approximately $1.00 per gallon.
- Occasional use of fluoridated water should not greatly increase the chance of over-exposure to fluoride for the infant.
- After their first birthday, children can drink fluoridated water because they’ve grown and they weigh more.
- Children under the age of two should not use fluoride toothpaste.
Breast milk is very low in fluoride. Nursing mothers or pregnant women who drink fluoridated water do not pass on significant amounts of fluoride to their child. Avoiding fluoridated water during pregnancy is not necessary. Use of fluoride supplements by the expectant or nursing mother does not benefit the baby. Parents should consult with their dentist or physician if questions or concerns about fluoride exist.
Should I be concerned about Fluoride?
If you have concerns about fluoride, you should discuss this topic with your dentist and doctor. If you wish to eliminate fluoride from your drinking water, home treatment devices are available – primarily reverse osmosis systems. Before buying, make sure the system you are purchasing can remove fluoride.
Want more info on Fluoride, check out our blog series.
*Updated January 7, 2011, due to new fluoride concentration recommendation.
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).
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.