Posts Tagged ‘Des Moines floods’

September 19, 2018

Critical Infrastructure Upgrades Since 1993

Water is one of the most useful things on Earth and also one the most powerful. As the Des Moines metro area prepared to celebrate 25 years of progress from the historic Flood of 1993, residents once again witnessed firsthand the devastating force of nature during the flash flooding of late June 2018, with pockets of the metro area receiving 6 to 10 inches in a matter of hours. Tributaries of the Raccoon River and Des Moines River reached record or near-record levels. The localized flash flooding caused significant damage to many homes and businesses.

After monitoring river projections through the late evening, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) staff began flood preparations for the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant in the early morning hours of July 1. While the Raccoon River at Fleur Drive did not reach record stages like the Flood ’93, the physical and informational changes made since 1993 have been tested numerous times:

  • Levees surrounding the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant were built up an additional 6 feet.
  • Flood gates were installed around Fleur Drive Treatment Plant and George Flagg Parkway General Office.
  • Stormwater upgrades inside Fleur Drive Treatment Plant were made to protect against internal flooding during heaving rains.
  • Access to the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant during a flood event were improved with the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway interchange construction.
  • Critical support functions at the General Office were relocated to ensure access of important data.
  • Two additional water treatment plants – L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir and Saylorville Water Treatment Plant – were built to create redundancy in our water treatment capabilities.
  • Three Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells were also constructed to provide redundancy.
  • Real-time river data from United States Geological Survey, National Weather Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were made available. The availability to this important data is invaluable to staff for emergency planning and preparation.

(photo of Fleur Drive Treatment Plant flood gates during 2008 flood)

With these critical infrastructure upgrades, Des Moines Water Works is able to remain committed to providing safe, affordable and abundant water service, even in times of crisis.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Flooding, Infrastructure October 4, 2010

Improvements Since ’93 Des Moines Floods

The Raccoon River was above flood stage in Water Works Park seven times in 2010.  Even though record high flood levels were not reached, all that water creates a lot of work and makes us wonder what the future will bring.

In 1993 the levee surrounding Water Works’ Fleur Drive Treatment Plant was overtopped by flood waters, leaving the Des Moines without water for more than a week.  Since then a number of projects have been completed to help ensure this does not happen again.

Most importantly, the levee surrounding the Fleur Drive Plant has been raised by six feet to a level four feet above the record 1993 water level.  A flood gate has also been added which can be closed quickly as compared to the earthen plug that was used to close the levee in the past.  These improvements have not seen water as high as 1993 but they were tested during the flooding in 2008 when more than 8 feet of water rose against the 14-foot tall flood gates.  The levee and flood gates performed well and treatment plant facilities were protected.

In addition to levee and flood gate improvements the Water Works has added additional sources of supply since 1993.  In 2000 the LD McMullen Water Treatment Facility went into service near Maffitt Reservoir with the ability to produce up 25 million gallons of water per day.  Four aquifer storage and recovery wells have also been constructed around the metro with a combined capacity of over 10 million gallons per day.  Later this year the new Saylorville Water Treatment Plant will go on line with the capacity to supply up to an additional 10 million gallons per day to the metro area.  Taken together these facilities provide valuable backup to the primary Fleur Drive Water Treatment Plant.

All of these changes have helped protect the water supply but Water Works Park is still vulnerable to flooding.  Just this year the high water has caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to park roads, plantings, and other park facilities.  Each time the water level goes above flood stage the cleanup effort in the park requires hundreds of man hours to complete.  In addition high water resulted in the cancellation or relocation of numerous events scheduled on park grounds including concerts, cultural festivals, and family gatherings.

Posted by: Ted Corrigan No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Environment, Flooding