Archive for the ‘Water Treatment’ CategoryDecember 3, 2013
At the December 3, 2013, Board of Water Works Trustees’ Planning Committee meeting, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) staff announced the utility, which serves approximately 500,000 customers in Central Iowa, will continue community water fluoridation at the current level of 0.7 mg/L.
“Staff has reviewed currently available data and the data overwhelmingly supports that fluoridation of drinking water at current levels does not pose a detectable health risk,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “From these findings, together with the health and economic benefits provided, staff concludes that the current levels of fluoride delivered to our customers (0.7 mg/L) is appropriate for public health and is consistent with the balance of scientific and medical opinion currently available.”
The issue was opened up for public comment at the October committee meeting and staff solicited comments, research and studies on fluoridation. Unlike other providers of drinking water, including private water companies and corporate bottled water providers, DMWW actively sought and received public comment and engaged in public discussions, providing transparency in its process, inviting the public to provide their opinions and point toward scientific data or studies. As anticipated, the solicitation of public comments drew significant interest and elicited many emotional responses. Approximately 650 comments were received. Comments can be viewed online at http://www.dmww.com/water-quality/fluoride-comments/.
Community water fluoridation is supported by more than 100 national and international health, service, and professional organizations. A few of these supporters are American Dental Association (ADA), American Medical Association (AMA), American Water Works Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Surgeon General, and the World Health Organization. The CDC proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.
“Des Moines Water Works continuously reviews its water treatment and distribution practices to ensure both regulatory compliance and economic delivery of safe, affordable, and abundant drinking water,” said Stowe. “Processes are dynamic, and as new science becomes available, DMWW will adjust accordingly; however, the clear weight of peer-reviewed scientific evidence shows that fluoridated water, at proper levels, safely and effectively reduces tooth decay in children and adults.”
Numerous studies have also shown the cost benefits of fluoridation. One study, “An economic evaluation of community water fluoridation,” has shown every dollar spent on fluoridation can save residents $38.00 in dental costs. DMWW spends approximately $130,000 annually in direct costs for water fluoridation.
Anti-fluoridation proponents point toward several concerns about adding fluoride to public water supplies. However, studies citing significant health detriment have been based on fluoride concentrations well beyond the current levels of 0.7 mg/L. This level of fluoridation is supported by the AMA, ADA, CDC, Department of Health and Human Services, and Iowa Department of Public Health. DMWW’s policy of fluoridation through the public water system supports its mission of providing safe and quality drinking water for the public health of its community.
The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold their regularly scheduled meeting, which includes a public comment period, on December 17, at 3:30 p.m. at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, located at 909 Robert D. Ray Drive.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, fluoride Posted in Customer Service, Fluoride, Water Treatment August 21, 2013
On August 20, the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) held their regularly scheduled monthly meeting at Des Moines Water Works (DMWW). Prior to the business meeting, Commissioners Couser, Rastetter, Sinclair, Smith, and Ver Steeg, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) staff, and representatives from environmental and agricultural organizations toured Des Moines Water Works’ Fleur Drive Treatment Plant to gain a better understanding of the treatment process. DMWW staff provided the Commissioners an insight into the condition and challenges of source waters used for drinking water for the more than 500,000 people in central Iowa.
Challenges expressed by DMWW included everything from high nitrates to flood events. However, most questions and comments stemmed from the exceptionally high nitrate levels this year. DMWW staff emphasized that even if nitrate levels are currently low, the combination of nitrates and phosphorus in the rivers and increasing temperatures will again challenge DMWW due to algae blooms. Algae can cause taste and odor problems and require additional filter maintenance, which slows the treatment process and reduces production capacity.
The EPC is a panel of nine citizens who provide policy oversight over Iowa’s environmental protection efforts. EPC members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by vote of the Senate for four year terms.
On May 11, The Move Project will host The Water Ride, a bicycle ride that raises funds for clean water projects in Africa. Starting and ending at Mullets, riders have the option to ride 20, 40 or 85 miles.
The Move Project is a non-profit organization that focuses on the alleviation of poverty, freeing slaves, providing shelter to the homeless and food and water to those without access to these life essentials. Des Moines Water Works is The Water Ride’s sponsor this year, covering all costs associated with the ride.
“This event is powerful in that 100% of the funds raised on this ride will go directly to providing clean water to a community in Africa. Having access to clean water affords individuals and families the opportunity to receive an education, work and live a healthier life,” said Sam Mahlstadt, co-founder of The Move Project.
“The Water Ride elevates our community’s awareness of the inaccessibility of water in other countries, as well as celebrates our local drinking water quality,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “The Water Ride is a great way to culminate our National Drinking Water Week festivities and emphasize the value of drinking water to a community’s overall health.”
Sign up by going to www.thewaterride.eventbrite.com by May 3, to receive a t-shirt at the event.
“When I took a summer off last year to ride my bicycle across America for clean water projects in Kenya, I realized how easy it is to tie in a passion to benefit others. If riding a bike for half a day could transform a community, there’s no question about signing up,” said Emily Boyd, co-founder of The Water Ride.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, The Move Project, The Water Ride Posted in About Us, Water Quality, Water Treatment February 7, 2013
In 1927, the Des Moines Federation of Women’s Clubs petitioned to the Board of Water Works Trustees to install a municipal water softening plant to save customers money spent on soap and wear and tear on clothes. For the next 20 years there were arguments for and against construction of such a facility and then World War II delayed progress of this project until 1947.
A lengthy feature article titled “City to Enjoy Soft Water in Two Years” appeared in The Des Moines Register in November 1947. It described the advantages of soft water and the method of treatment that would be used, and mentioned that cost of the operation of the plant might have to be financed through a raise in water rates. The state health department engineer was quoted as saying the usual experience is that the added cost of soft water is equaled by the saving in soap alone. He also mentioned additional savings, such as longer life of boilers and water heaters.
In December 1949, the filter and lime softening plant went into operation. It consisted of two underground basins, each with a four million gallon capacity, and the filter building which housed the laboratory, chemical feed operations, and eight filters. The filters resemble small swimming pools, each of which contains 100 tons of gravel and 130 tons of sand and holds approximately 50,000 gallons of water.
In the underground basins, lime is mixed with water to remove minerals and kill bacteria. Then the water was pumped to the filters, where it was cleaned by passing through layers of gravel and sand.
In 1958, the capacity of the filter plant doubled when two lime softening basins and eight filters were added.
The filter and lime softening processes are vital to treating the public water supply and are still being used today.
With continued concerns about drought and a desire to ensure mechanisms are in place with the State of Iowa and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Saylorville, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) requested the release of water from Saylorville on January 16. For six hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., about 5 million gallons of water was released at a rate of 30 cubic feet per second (cfs = 7.5 fluid gallons). To prepare for possible drought conditions again this summer, DMWW wanted to ensure that a future release could occur in a timely fashion.
In 1982, DMWW signed agreements with the State of Iowa and the United States of America in regards to water storage space in Saylorville Reservoir. DMWW paid $2.4 million for the storage rights, and we continue to pay $100,000 per year for maintaining a pumping facility.
“Des Moines Water Works has never exercised the process of releasing our water supply at Saylorville Reservoir,” said Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. “But given last year’s drought conditions, including poor water quality while in short supply, it is in our best interest to test the procedures to protect all our water resources for our ratepayers.”
The State of Iowa has the right to request the release of 18.86% of the volume of water in Saylorville when levels are between 812-836-feet. Two-thirds of that volume would be for DMWW purposes and the other one-third for Alliant Energy in Ottumwa.
There are two components to water release from Saylorville Reservoir:
- Water quality release – this release ensures that there is enough water to support the wildlife habitat in and along the river.
- Water supply release – the potential additional water release for Des Moines Water Works and Alliant Energy. Saylorville has a specific release plan in place for varying water levels.
The water released from Saylorville Reservoir directly benefits both the Fleur Drive and Saylorville Treatment Plants. DMWW can also release water from Maffitt Reservoir to benefit the L.D. McMullen Treatment Plant as needed, too.
Other proactive measures are already in place in the event of continued drought conditions. DMWW has acquired permits to dredge parts of the Des Moines River if the channel is not bringing enough water to our intake at Prospect Park. We also have a permit to dredge part of the Raccoon River to impact the channel by the flooding station to keep the recharge ponds and Gallery maximized.
Des Moines Water Works plans to meet all of our customer needs by these increasing available supplies of water, but if the drought continues, asking the public to conserve water, particularly in regards to lawn irrigation, may once again be requested.
View this important video about Des Moines Water Works’ locate program, water infrastructure and treatment process.
Video produced by Iowa One Call.Labels: Des Moines Water Works, Des Moines waterworks, DMWW, Iowa One Call, Water Treatment Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Customers, Water Treatment October 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.
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 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.
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.