Archive for the ‘Water Quality’ CategoryOctober 25, 2012
Des Moines Water Works Fleur Drive Treatment Plant has the option of three different sources of raw water. The first and best source is a shallow groundwater collection system called the infiltration gallery. It is a three-mile long, porous pipe constructed with concrete rings. This runs parallel to the Raccoon River in Water Works Park, and collects water from the sands and gravels of the river valley. The ponds in the park are also there to help recharge the gallery. It provided all the water to the Des Moines area until 1949.
Increased water demand required construction of an intake on the Raccoon River in 1949, and the drought of 1977 precipitated construction of an intake on the Des Moines River in 1980.
Des Moines Water Works selects its source of water each day, and sometimes can change throughout the day, due to water quality and the ability to treat different substances present in the source water.
Some of the challenges Des Moines Water Works is faced with in selecting the best source water include:
- Availability: The first choice would be the gallery, but most days there is not enough capacity to supply all the water needed, so a second source is needed to supplement the gallery.
- Algae and bacteria: These can cause treatment challenges, such as plugging filters or taste and odor issues.
- Nutrients: Some of these are naturally-occurring in the environment, but most are man-made. They can be from sources such as agriculture, livestock, or wastewater treatment.
- Other: Turbidity (cloudiness of the water), hardness (dissolved minerals in the water), organic material (plant decomposition) or taste and odor.
- Episodic events: There may be an accidental spill or chemical release into the river.
- Cost: The gallery and Raccoon River are available at the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant, but the Des Moines River has to be pumped five miles from the intake to the plant. This adds additional cost when Des Moines Water Works must use the Des Moines River.
Many of the challenges Des Moines Water Works sees changes daily, so monitoring is done continuously. Evaluating the source water and determining what is the best available and at the cost is to treat that source ensure Des Moines Water Works can deliver water you can trust for life.
Forty years ago, in the midst of a national concern about untreated sewage, industrial and toxic discharges, destruction of wetlands, and contaminated runoff, the principal law to protect the nation’s waters was passed. The Clean Water Act (CWA) set a national goal “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” with interim goals that all waters be fishable and swimmable.
The Act embodied a new federal-state partnership, where federal guidelines, objectives and limits were to be set under the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while states, territories and authorized tribes would largely administer and enforce the CWA programs, with federal technical and financial assistance. In Iowa, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is delegated to administer the CWA.
- Start or join a watershed improvement and protection group
- Organize a river, stream or lake clean-up event
- Get trained as an IOWATER volunteer
- Get school kids, churches, civic organizations involved in education, projects and programs
- Talk with policymakers about your support for watershed funding and programs – City Councils, County Supervisors, Legislators and others
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper about what good water quality means to you
- Talk with family and friends about the importance of clean water
We must work together to protect clean water in Iowa for our families and future generations. Everyone has an impact on the water and we are all responsible for making a difference. Water is worth it.
To learn more about the Clean Water Act, visit: http://water.epa.gov/action/cleanwater40/Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Source Water, water quality, Watershed Posted in Environment, Source Water, Water Quality October 16, 2012
Des Moines Water Work’s primary water sources are the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. Land use in the Raccoon and Des Moines River Watersheds is overwhelmingly agricultural. About 1.7 million of the 2.3 million acres in the Raccoon watershed is cultivated for corn and soybeans. Land covered by perennial vegetation is nearly non-existent outside urban areas. Much of the corn-soybean system requires constructed drainage (agricultural tile drainage) to maximize yields. Manure and commercial fertilizers applied to crop land are transported during rainfall events as either run-off or discharged to a river through a tile drainage system. All of these factors have resulted in various consequences for water quality and challenges for drinking water utilities.
Today, the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) will meet to discuss whether or not to continue to ban manure application to soybean crops. Manure is a source of nutrients used in combination with or in place of commercial fertilizer. Nutrients in water are necessary for healthy watersheds; however, in high concentrations they can adversely affect aquatic life and human health. For a drinking water utility, increasing nutrient loads can cause difficult and costly challenges at the source, in the treatment process, and at the tap. Monitoring trends in the Des Moines and Raccoon River since 1974 show the ever-increasing trend of nitrate-nitrogen (a nutrient) loading and concentrations. Without a comprehensive, measurable state nutrient standard and strategy these conditions will be perpetuated.
All waters in Iowa are “public waters and public wealth” of its citizens and is for the beneficial use of all citizens. It is also the policy of the State of Iowa – delegated to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission – to protect existing water uses and to protect and maintain the physical, biological and chemical integrity of all waters of the state. Making a decision on whether manure should be applied to soybeans is again representative of the piecemeal approach to nutrient management that will not effectively decrease non-point source nutrient contributions to Iowa’s surface and ground water resources.
Des Moines Water Works provided comments to EPC commissioners strongly urging them to take this opportunity to support development of comprehensive nutrient management strategies and standards. Standards that protect Iowa’s water resources, promote economic development, and enhance the quality of life necessary to attract workers and jobs to the state. And most importantly, establish the target so many producers and the public have requested.
It is not Des Moines Water Works’ intent to tell people how to farm or what they can and cannot do on their land. But it is our intent, to rigorously advocate for establishing a comprehensive nutrient strategy, setting numeric nutrient standards, and the aggressive reduction of non-point source nutrient contributions to Iowa’s surface and ground water resources.
Des Moines Water Works and the drinking water industry ensures that the investment the public has made in them results in all Iowans having access to safe drinking water. We believe every Iowan who drinks a glass of water should recognize the importance of our water resources to sustaining life and the critical connection between our water resources and food production, an existence and connection that should occur without degradation of our water resources.
Producers are able to make all the decisions on his or her land, but those decisions are having dramatic consequences that impact others. Integrated solutions on a watershed scale and involvement of all stakeholders in the planning and implementation process is critical to generating change. Whether you live in an urban, rural or something in-between, we are all part of the watershed and whatever we do in our daily lives impacts water quality in the watershed.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Raccoon River, Source Water, water quality, Watershed Posted in Environment, Source Water, Water Quality September 12, 2012
In 1935, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) started to consider storing Raccoon River water as an alternative water source when river levels were low. Following substantial drought conditions in 1939 and 1940, DMWW identified a sight for construction of a reservoir.
In 1942, Neumann Brothers Construction of Des Moines received the bid and surveying and construction began immediately. With the assistance of DMWW’s Grounds staff, Neumann completed construction of the lake and dam nearly a year and a half later. It was named the Dale Maffitt Reservoir in honor of the then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. In 2000, DMWW began operating the L. D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing population.
In addition to the land used for the lake itself, DMWW purchased hundreds of acres surrounding the lake, in an effort to protect the watershed and ultimately the drinking water to the best of its ability. Today, Des Moines Water Works owns and maintains nearly 1,500 acres in and around the reservoir and river.
The park is a nature lovers dream. Fishing, picnicking, and hiking are favorite pastimes at Maffitt Reservoir. For the general public’s convenience, several docks that extend nearly 20 feet into the lake are located along the shore. A nature trail of approximately 4.5 miles leads hikers around the lake.
In 2001, DMWW constructed permanent restrooms, installed wild flower areas and seal coated the park roads. Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park is truly a hidden gem in the Des Moines area.
Maffitt Reservoir Park is located southwest of Des Moines – take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.
Maffitt Reservoir Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). For a complete list of park rules and regulations, visit http://www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir/
Photo by Christopher A. Knisley – Freelance Wildlife Photographer
Des Moines Water Works through the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission Assisting Dallas County Board of Supervisors in Formation of a Middle-South Raccoon River Watershed Alliance
The State of Iowa has authorized local governments to address flooding and management of water and soil resources in watersheds across the state through the formation of local alliances. An alliance is formed through a 28E agreement (contractual agreement between governmental organizations) with representatives appointed by city, county and soil and watershed conservation districts (SWCD) within the watershed. An advisory body with landowners and other groups will also be part of the process. The watershed alliance has no taxing authority and no impact on the authority of a city, county, or SWCD to conduct its business. Instead, the alliance will educate, coordinate and leverage resources for the betterment of the watershed.
The Middle-South Raccoon River Watershed Alliance is working within the following vision and mission statements:
Vision: A regional alliance with resources to lead, and support improvements in soil protection, flood management and water quality.
Mission: To facilitate regional collaboration that will identify strategies and goals to educate the public, reduce the risk of flood events, and leverage resources for improved soil and water quality protection.
As outlined by legislators in Iowa Code the alliance can:
- Educate residents
- Identify sources of funding to institutionalize the Watershed Management Alliance
- Assess flood risks
- Assess options for cutting flood risk
- Monitor state & federal flood risk planning activities
- Assess water quality
- Leverage funding of multiple partners
- Allocate state and federal moneys available for water quality and flood risk reduction programs and implement best management practices
- Implement the Raccoon River Master Plan
- Enter into contracts and agreements
Source: Iowa Code Chapter 466B, Subchapter III
The Middle-South Raccoon River Watershed Management Alliance has just recently been selected to partner with the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) on a multi-year project to monitor, plan, and implement watershed projects aimed at improving soil and water resources and the adverse impacts of flooding. Phase I will focus on the Middle Raccoon River watershed. The IFC formally announced the partnership June 22, 2012, in Redfield, IA.
The landscape of the Middle-South Raccoon River Watershed is located in the best of rural Iowa, where community is tied to the tradition of farming and outdoor recreation. The benefits gained from the partnerships in the Middle-South Raccoon River watershed is a place where agriculture, communities, recreation, and Iowans thrive and prosper.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Raccoon River, Source Water, water quality, Watershed, Watershed alliance Posted in Environment, Flooding, Source Water, Water Quality June 18, 2012
As long as Des Moines Water Works has been in existence, protecting the water resources from pollution and assuring an adequate supply of water well into the future has been utmost importance. Thanks to the utility’s founding fathers – not to mention employees throughout the years – the growth of Des Moines Water Works has kept pace with the expanding needs of the community.
In 1884, the company began constructing an infiltration gallery system that would use groundwater from the Raccoon River. The infiltration gallery was the only water source at the time.
By 1919, the water supply grounds covered approximately 470 acres.
In 1925, when the Board of Water Works Trustees purchased 334 acres of land south of the Raccoon River, west of S.W. 30th Street, General Manager Charles Denman stated that the newly acquired land would insure a potential water supply large enough for a city twice the size of Des Moines.
Gradually, additional land (now known as Water Works Park) bordering the Raccoon River on both sides, extending to 63rd Street (city limits) was purchased to protect the source water and to extend the infiltration gallery.
In April of 1933, Water Works Park was opened to the public. At that time, the water supply grounds covered 1,400 acres. (Today, it spans 1,500 acres.)
Foreseeing a need for an emergency source of water, construction of a water storage reservoir near the Raccoon River southwest of Commerce began in 1943 (Maffitt Reservoir). Dale Maffitt, General Manager, was quoted in the Des Moines Tribune as saying it will insure an adequate water supply for Des Moines for many years to come.
Obviously, planning for the future didn’t end in the 1940s. Within the last 12 years, two additional water treatment facilities have been constructed. The L. D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir began operation in 2000. Today, this water plant serves customers in southwest Des Moines, parts of Xenia and Warren Water Systems, Waukee and parts of Clive, Urbandale and West Des Moines. The Saylorville Water Treatment Plant went online in 2011 serving customers north of Des Moines. Long-range plans have been developed, future demand has been projected, and staff continues to prepare for the future, assuring there will be an adequate supply of water.
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.
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/
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.