Posts Tagged ‘Board of Trustees’

May 8, 2017

Des Moines Water Works Remains Focused on Source Water Protection

Des Moines Water Works has chosen not to appeal its Federal Clean Water case. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa issued its ruling on March 17, dismissing all of Des Moines Water Works’ claims against the Boards of Supervisors in Sac County, Buena Vista County and Calhoun County.

In March 2015, Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees filed a federal lawsuit against the Boards of Supervisors in their capacities as trustees of 10 drainage districts. The complaint alleged the named drainage districts are point source polluters as defined by the Clean Water Act and Iowa Code Chapter 455B, and called for the drainage districts take all necessary actions to comply with the Clean Water Act. In addition, Des Moines Water Works demanded damages in an amount required to compensate for the harm the drainage districts caused by their unlawful discharge of nitrate.

“As an independent water utility, the sole focus of Des Moines Water Works is to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the 500,000 Iowans we serve. Water quality is an issue that we take very seriously, and the conclusion of the lawsuit will not change that,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “While many in the agriculture community and state political leadership took issue with the lawsuit, nobody objected to the facts showing drainage districts are polluters. The risks remain and demand immediate accountability to protect our state.”

The ruling dismissing the case did not dispute the assertion that drainage districts cause water quality problems in the Raccoon River Watershed. Rather, the court indicated that Des Moines Water Works may well have suffered an injury, but the drainage districts lack the legal ability to redress that injury.

According to Stowe, “Policy and law must keep pace as public health and water quality concerns demonstrate both risk and cost to water consumers; that includes 100-year old Iowa Code dealing with drainage districts and implementation of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.”

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy estimates that 92% of nitrate in Iowa’s water comes from unregulated sources, namely agriculture, and 8% from regulated sources, such as sewer systems. Without proper funding and water quality data to measure progress, the Nutrient Reduction Strategy cannot produce the 45% nitrogen reduction goal. The court’s ruling noted this argument, and concluded these are policy issues the Iowa Legislature should resolve.

“Central Iowa will continue to be burdened with expensive, serious and escalating water pollution problems; the lawsuit was an attempt to protect our ratepayers, whose public health and quality of life continue to be impacted by unregulated industrial agriculture,” said Stowe. “These serious problems have been placed squarely on the shoulders of our state legislators. The old, business-as-usual, voluntary-only approach will never result in the 45% nitrogen reduction. We hope that, rather than wasting valuable time and resources crafting legislation designed to punish Des Moines Water Works for filing the lawsuit, our legislators can create bold laws that address water pollution. True source water protection is vital to our customers and community.”

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Customers, Source Water, Water Quality May 1, 2017

Central Iowa Drinking Water Cooperation

Des Moines Water Works has a long history of providing central Iowa with safe, affordable and abundant drinking water. The utility’s regional approach began as early as 1934, when Urbandale began receiving water from Des Moines Water Works because their wells were going dry and water was being rationed. Since then, most suburban communities have connected to Des Moines Water Works, and Des Moines Water Works remains committed to continuing to be a regional water provider that meets the growing needs of our area. Legislative threats to impact these historic relationships are damaging to metro interests and impact local authority.

Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission (CIRDWC) was formed in 2001, with the primary objective to create a collaborative approach to meet the Des Moines metro’s water needs. CIRDWC is comprised of 22 members, including several who do not purchase water from the Des Moines Water Works.

A significant regionalization study was commissioned by CIRDWC, and completed approximately two years ago.  The study has evolved into ongoing discussions among technical water experts, including an extensive Long Range Plan to evaluate central Iowa’s water needs and supply, treatment and distribution capabilities through 2035. Regionalization is extremely complex and must be left to water professionals. The Board of Trustees have established a Regionalization Review Committee to purse a regionalization model.

Des Moines Water Works values our relationships with metro area communities and believes Des Moines and suburban customers alike have benefited from a long standing and strong working relationship. A regional approach provides economies of scale and encourages collaboration in jointly constructed assets and facilities, including treatment plants, storage facilities, and pumping stations. Additionally, a regional approach promotes economic development in the metro area, as communities work together to provide a reliable and adequate water supply to new industries and customers with a heavy reliance on water service.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Customers March 8, 2017

Why You Should Stand Against HF 484


House File 484
is a bill 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 8 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates October 23, 2012

Des Moines Water Works Announces 2013 Budget and Zero Rate Increase for Most Customers

DES MOINES, Iowa (October 23, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 calendar year budget, which includes a zero rate increase for Des Moines and wholesale water customers.  In some communities served by Des Moines Water Works – such as unincorporated Polk County, Pleasant Hill, Cumming, Alleman and Runnells –  who have more significant infrastructure needs, Des Moines Water Works has increased rates for residential customers by five percent.

The proposed budget includes $50.4 million of operating revenue.  Operating expenses are budgeted at $33.3 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $19.4 million.  The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2013 budget on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.

“The Board’s actions are the result of significant efforts by staff to reduce costs during a period of difficult economic challenges for our customers,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manger, Des Moines Water Works.  “However, a zero rate increase will not likely be repeated as the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utilities’ infrastructure and rate increases more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering water.”

For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com.  New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2013, for those customers with rate increases.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates August 21, 2012

Board of Water Works Trustees Names William Stowe as New CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works

DES MOINES, Iowa (August 21, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees of Des Moines Water Works has selected Bill Stowe as CEO and General Manager.

“Bill Stowe is a capable leader who is well prepared for the challenges and opportunities facing Water Works, one of Des Moines’ greatest assets,” said Graham Gillette, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “Bill Stowe is an innovator who understands the role Water Works plays in ensuring Central Iowa’s future.”

Stowe was one of five finalists interviewed by the Board of Trustees and questioned by employee and community panelists earlier this month. The five finalists were chosen from a large field of candidates. Stowe replaces Randy Beavers who has served Des Moines Water Works for 31 years, the last 5 as its CEO and General Manager.  Beavers will retire September 7, and Stowe will assume his duties on September 24. Des Moines Water Works is a regional water utility serving approximately 500,000 people in the Des Moines metro area.

“The five finalists were all outstanding.  Each would have brought a unique skill set to the job,” said Leslie Gearhart, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “We are grateful to the employees and members of the community who helped screen candidates during this process.”

Stowe currently serves as Assistant Manager-Public Works/Engineering for the City of Des Moines, a position he has held since 1999.  Prior to that, Stowe was the Human Resources Director for the City of Des Moines, Operations Manager for MidAmerican Energy, as well as an analyst for Shell Oil, labor relations representative for Inland Steel Industries and a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board.  Stowe has a B.A. from Grinnell College, a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, a M.S. from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from Loyola University Law School.

“It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to lead this exceptional utility in service to our community. I welcome the opportunity to join with the employees of Water Works to continue to provide valued water services to our customers throughout the region,” said Stowe.

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About Des Moines Water Works
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a municipal water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 500,000 people). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.

About the Board of Water Works Trustees
The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, consists of five members, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Des Moines for a term of six years. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. The functions of the Board of Water Works Trustees can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Employees July 23, 2012

Board of Water Works Trustees Announces Candidates for CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works

DES MOINES, Iowa (July 23, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, announces five candidates for the position of CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works.  The Board of Water Works Trustees selected Colin Baenziger & Associates, a nationwide search for Des Moines Water Works, a regional utility serving approximately 500,000 people in the Des Moines metro area.

“The field of candidates for CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works is impressive,” said Leslie Gearhart, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “The Board wanted to conduct a national search for a person with a proven track record as a leader and communicator. By the looks of the finalists we have chosen, we appear to be close to finding just that person.”

“The Board demanded the recruitment of the new CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works be an open and inclusive process,” said Graham Gillette, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee. “Naturally, the next stage will include the participation of employees, City of Des Moines leadership, business leaders, individual customers, and large customers throughout the metropolitan area.”

Candidates for the position of CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works are listed alphabetically.

Patrick Ball
Current position:  Utilities Director, City of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Previous experience:  Director, Operations Manager, Operations Specialist and Solids Handling Operator, City of Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Department.

William Gilmore
Last position held:  Principal, Project Manager and Group Leader, CDM Smith, Edison, NJ.
Previous experience:  Deputy Director, Department of the Treasury, State of New Jersey. Executive Director, East Windsor Municipal Utilities Authority, East Windsor, NJ.

Kirk Hobbs
Current position:  Vice President-Community Relations and Economic Development Duke Energy (formerly Cinergy, PSI Energy), Plainfield, IN.
Previous experience:  Vice President-Business Relations and Development, Regional Director-Customer and Community Relations and Area Manager-Field Customer Relations, Duke Energy/Cinergy.

William Stowe
Current position:  Assistant Manager-Public Works/Engineering, City of Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa.
Previous experience:Human Resources Director, City of Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa. Operations Manager, Manager of Human Resources, Manager of Employee Relations, Manager of Labor Relations, MidAmerican Energy.

Jason Yarborough
Current Position:  Community Manager, Barefoot Bay, FL.
Previous experience:  Utilities Director, City of Palm Bay, Palm Bay, FL. City Manager, Groveland, FL.  Assistant City Manager/City Clerk, Mary Esther, FL.

The Board of Water Works Trustees invites the public to an open house to meet the candidates on Wednesday, August 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works, 2201 George Flagg Parkway. Each member of the Board of Trustees will individually interview each candidate the morning of Thursday, August 9.  Afternoon sessions consist of candidate interviews by the full board as well as two panels consisting of Des Moines Water Works employees and community representatives. Afternoon interview sessions are open to the public. The Board’s selection will be announced the week of August 13.

Current Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager, Randy Beavers, P.E., informed the Board of Trustees on April 1, of his retirement, effective September 7.  Mr. Beavers has been CEO and General Manager since December 2008, and served as Interim CEO & General Manager since December 2007, following the retirement of L. D. McMullen. Mr. Beavers began his career at Des Moines Water Works as Principal Engineer in 1981.

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About Des Moines Water Works

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a municipal water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 500,000 customers). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.

About the Board of Water Works Trustees

The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, consists of five members, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Des Moines for a term of six years. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. The functions of the Board of Water Works Trustees can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees March 29, 2012

An Insight into DMWW’s Early History

Thanks to those before us, the early history of Des Moines Water Works was chronicled in several books of typewritten pages up until 1971, which was the centennial year of the founding of the company.  The priceless books of yellowed pages provide a glimpse into significant occurrences in years past. Sources of information for those history books included scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, official records of the Board of Water Works Trustees, and the memories of various individuals.

The following entries may not pertain to the most momentous events, but they were notable.  And as brief as some of the notations are, they tell the whole story.

September 1922:  “An article titled “Des Moines Municipal Pumping Station” appeared in the magazine National Engineer.  The article, illustrated by large pictures of the new steam turbine-driven centrifugal pumping unit, boiler feed pumps, and coal crane and pits, was written by A.T. Luce, engineer and superintendent of the Des Moines Municipal Water Plant.”

November 16, 1922:  “The General Manager was instructed to furnish the Board with an itemized statement of the cost of operation and maintenance for the various automobiles used in connection with the Water Plant.  This report shows that the Water Plant owned 22 trucks and roadsters, purchase dates varying from 1913 to 1922, a Dodge Coupe purchased in 1922, and a Peerless, purchase date not indicated.”

May 15, 1924:  “To discontinue paying wages in cash and to pay by check.”

July 17, 1924:  “Board to discontinue farming operations on water supply grounds.”

December 5, 1929:  “News story in Des Moines Tribune quoting Mr. Denman (DMWW General Manager) as saying that too many people were still getting water by waving the pump handle up and down instead of connecting to the city water mains.”

March 5, 1931:  “Directional sign for aviators to be painted on top of new water tower.” (Hazen tower)

February 8, 1939:  “The General Manager was authorized to purchase three horses to be used on the water supply grounds.”

December 31, 1956: “Year 1956 was Iowa’s driest on record.”

July 8, 1959:  “Water Board sells the locomotive.”  (In 1956, a steam engine was purchased by DMWW to serve as a backup to the boiler. According to “old timers” in Water Production, the locomotive’s boiler was never fired.)

August 25, 1960:  “Water Works laboratory testing 10,000 elms on Water Works property for Dutch elm disease.”

August 14, 1963:  “Four boys turn on 47 fire hydrants in the night.”

July 13, 1965:  “Water Board to be represented at ground breaking ceremonies for Saylorville Dam on July 17.”

January 24, 1966:  “Fleur Drive to be widened.”

February 17, 1970:  “Snowmobiling not approved for Water Works Park or Maffitt Reservoir.”

We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Des Moines Water Works’ history. Do you have any early memories of Des Moines Water Works?

Photo of steam locomotive #1678 taken by Richard Ikenberry.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, History March 26, 2012

Water Rate Increase Effective April 1, 2012

Last October, Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees approved water rate increases that will be effective on water bills beginning April 1. Volume charges for water will increase $0.06 per thousand gallons for residential customers in the City of Des Moines. Water charges for a typical four-person household will increase approximately $0.45 per month. On average, a two-person household will see an increase of approximately $0.22 per month.  Water availability charges are not changing.

For more information on your water rates, visit www.dmww.com.   If you have any questions, please contact Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700.

Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates February 17, 2012

What’s in a Name?

The Arie Den Boer Arboretum, Dale Maffitt Reservoir, Denman Woods . . . have you ever wondered about the history behind the names?  Namesakes of property and facilities owned by Des Moines Water Works include former general managers, Board of Trustees members, and employees whose strategic visions helped the water utility evolve into the industry leader it is today.

Charles Sing Denman’s 37-year career began in 1896 when the water company was privately owned.  He was the first general manager, appointed in 1919, when the water company became municipally owned.  During his tenure, the water system experienced tremendous growth and many of the facilities in use today were constructed under his direction.  As a testament to his love of nature, the western tract of land that extends along both sides of the Raccoon River in Water Works Park was designated as Denman Woods.  A concrete bench was erected in his memory in 1937 inside the Fleur Drive treatment plant, which was moved to its current location at Water Works Park in the late 1970s when the Charles Sing Denman Memorial Garden was dedicated. 

In 1928, Arie den Boer, a horticulturist, was hired to beautify Water Works’ grounds and create a park, which was opened to the public in 1933.  Mr. den Boer introduced several hundred varieties of crabapple trees and won numerous prestigious awards for his work in horticulture.  The crabapple arboretum was named in Mr. den Boer’s honor when he retired in 1961, after serving as grounds superintendent for 33 years.

The water tower at 48th and Hickman is a memorial to Allen Hazen who designed the tower and unexpectedly died in 1930 before construction was completed.  Mr. Hazen was a prominent New York engineer of international reputation and a pioneer in the area of water treatment.   

Dale L. Maffitt was the general manager when 650 acres southwest of Des Moines were purchased in 1942 to construct a dam and water storage reservoir to be used as an emergency water supply.  The 200-acre impounding reservoir and surrounding area was named for Mr. Maffitt after his death in 1955, following 41 years of employment, 22 of which he led the utility as general manager.  

Henry Nollen and Norman Wilchinski were long-term Board of Trustees members, both of whom served on the first water board of 1919.  Two water storage facilities built in 1955 were named after them.  The Nollen Standpipe is at 26th and Hull and the Wilchinski Standpipe is at SE 9th and Pleasantview Drive. 

The Tenny Standpipe at Merle Hay Mall, which was built in 1959, is a tribute to Morris K. Tenny.  A 44-year employee, Mr. Tenny held the positions of chemist and assistant manager, prior to serving as general manager for 13 years.  He was instrumental in the growth of the Water Works.   

Maurice King’s employment with the Water Works spanned nearly 43 years.  The Maurice A. King Intake and Pumping Station facility on the Des Moines River was named after Mr. King who served as General Manager from 1968-1977.

The L.P. Moon Storage and Pumping Station facility was named in recognition of a former long-term Board member, Louise P. Moon.  Located in Clive, this west side facility was placed on-line in 1996.  Ms. Moon currently serves as Windsor Heights’ representative on the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, of which Des Moines Water Works is a member.

In May of 2000, the Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, a 25 million gallon per day facility, began operation using nine radial collector wells for its main water source, but also drawing from Maffitt Reservoir for additional water resources.  In 2007, it was renamed in honor of L.D. McMullen, a 30-year employee who served as general manager from 1985-2007 and was instrumental in construction of the water treatment plant. 

We are proud of these visionaries and their contributions to Des Moines Water Works and the community.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, History, Parks November 30, 2011

How is DMWW Operated?

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) has been a publically owned utility governed by a five-member Board of Trustees since 1919. Members of the Board of Water Works Trustees (Board) are appointed by the Mayor for six-year terms subject to approval by the City Council. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. Functions of the Board can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation. A majority vote by the Board is necessary to pass any motion or take any action.

The full Board meets monthly, typically the fourth Tuesday of the month. Two Board committees – Planning and Finance and Audit – also meet monthly. All Board and Board committee meetings are open to the public in accordance with Code of Iowa Chapter 21. Public notice and an agenda is posted at least 24 hours prior to commencement of Board meetings, and meeting minutes are subject to the Open Records Law. It is not required by law, but in an effort to be transparent, Board and Board committee meetings are recorded and posted on DMWW’s website. Board meetings can also be viewed on Mediacom Channels 86 or 97.1 the Tuesday after the Board meeting beginning at approximately 4:00 pm and on Thursdays, beginning at approximately 8:30 pm.

Visit http://www.dmww.com/about-us/board-of-trustees/ to learn more about the members of the Board of Water Works Trustees, meeting agendas, supporting documentation, and recordings of meetings.

Posted by: Pat Ripley 1 Comment
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees