Posts Tagged ‘Des Moines waterworks’

July 17, 2019

2019 Citizen Water Academy

Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for 100 years; however, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring, and challenges presented by deteriorating source water are not common knowledge among most citizens. Des Moines Water Works is hosting the third annual Citizen Water Academy – a free, four-session crash course about the history, use and management of water in the central Iowa region. 

The Citizen Water Academy is designed to help community members learn and appreciate our most important natural resource – the water we depend on for life. Selected participants will receive 16 hours of instruction, tour multiple treatment plants operated by Des Moines Water Works, listen to presentations from soil, water and environmental professionals, and interact with Des Moines Water Works staff over the four sessions of this program. It is the goal that participants not only come away from the Academy with a better understanding of their local water utility, but are also equipped to help lead the conversation on important water issues now and in the future.

“You covered a lot of information in a short amount of time. 
I’m impressed with the program.”

– Katie Rock, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner; Citizen Water Academy 2018 graduate

The previous Water Academy cohorts included participants from all backgrounds – Des Moines Water Works customers, Des Moines area city councilmembers and staff, county supervisors, young professionals, writers, teachers, and more.  For more information and to apply to be a part of the 2019 Citizen Water Academy class, visit www.CitizenWaterAcademy.com.

“Excellent speakers with quality information. This will help me be a much better citizen and advocate.”

 – Patricia Prijatel, Drake Professor Emerita and health writer; Citizen Water Academy 2018 graduate

Candidates must commit to attending all four sessions:

Session 1: Thursday, October 24, 1:00-5:15 pm

Session 2: Thursday, October 31, 1:00-5:30 pm

Session 3: Wednesday, November 6, 1:00-5:00 pm​

Session 4 and Graduation: Wednesday, November 13, 1:00-5:00 pm

The deadline to apply is September 20, 2019. Des Moines Water Works staff will review all applications, give consideration to ensure the class composition is diverse and regionally balanced, and select no more than 24 candidates.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Customers, Value of Water July 11, 2019

Des Moines Water Works Locally and Nationally Recognized for Energy Management

Des Moines Water Works has been locally and nationally recognized for energy management, energy programs and energy training. Energy costs are a significant portion of the utility’s operational budget, so implementing an energy management program is critical.

U.S. Department of Energy Recognition
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Plants partner Des Moines Water Works for their efforts to drive organizational/cultural changes that enhance the partner’s ability to improve energy performance, including installing electric submeters and energy monitors to provide staff with real-time energy data for three water treatment plants and saving $185,000 a year in energy costs.  As part of DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants works with leading manufacturers and water and wastewater treatment agencies to boost their competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency.

The annual Better Practice Awards are bestowed upon select partners for outstanding accomplishments in implementing and promoting the practices, principles, and procedures of energy management in industry. Des Moines Water Works was formally recognized at the Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit in Arlington, Virginia, on July 10, in part due to the 60 electric submeters the utility installed to measure energy data. The data is displayed on three dedicated energy monitor screens providing Des Moines Water Works operators with information they need to operate the treatment plants efficiently.

Water treatment facilities across America increasingly face aging infrastructures and rising costs.  According to the Electric Power Research Institute, U.S. water and wastewater treatment and distribution systems purchase nearly 70 billion kWh annually (about 1.8 percent of U.S. electricity consumption).  Low-cost operational changes enabled by an energy management system can sustainably reduce operating costs to enable reinvestment in infrastructure or control rates.

As part of the broader Better Buildings Initiative, Better Plants partners voluntarily set a long-term goal, typically to reduce energy intensity by 25 percent over a 10-year period across all their U.S. operations. DOE supports these efforts with technical expertise and national recognition.

“Better Plants partners such as Des Moines Water Works are implementing innovative energy efficiency solutions in the industrial space that are cutting costs and energy-use and the Better Practice Awards honor their leadership,” said Valri Lightner, DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office Acting Director.

City of Des Moines Recognition

Des Moines Water Works was awarded Energize Des Moines’ 2018 Award for Best Practices in Energy Efficiency and Employee Training.  The award was presented to Des Moines Water Works at the May 20, 2019, City Council Meeting.

Energize Des Moines is a program to reduce energy use (electric, gas, and water) in Des Moines’ largest buildings (above 25,000 square feet). The program is part of the City Energy Project initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of buildings. In most large American cities, buildings account for most of the energy use and carbon pollution. In Des Moines, it is 35-40%.

Des Moines Water Works added Energize Des Moines to its Energy Management System in the summer of 2017. As part of the program, Des Moines Water Works agreed to upload energy and water consumption data for the utility’s administration building to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®, an online tool used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. It is used to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings against similar buildings across the nation. In February 2018, Des Moines Water Works’ administration building became an ENERGY STAR Certified Building, outperforming 82% of similar buildings nationwide.

Using 2016 as the baseline, Des Moines Water Works improved its energy intensity by 8.58% during 2017-2018. Energy intensity is normalized using water production and weather data. The improvement saved Des Moines Water Works $615,000 in direct energy cost savings and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 2856 metric tons.

Des Moines Water Works’ Energy Management Initiatives Background

In 2018, Des Moines Water Works became the first U.S. water treatment utility to certify a water treatment plant to the ISO 50001 standard and Superior Energy Performance® (SEP) program.  The SEP program has long helped industrial and commercial organizations establish energy management systems that meet the widely respected ISO 50001 standard and achieve verified energy and cost savings.  As the first certified facility in the water sector, Des Moines Water Works’ Fleur Drive Water Treatment Plant has paved the way for similar facilities nationwide to increase efficiency, cut costs, and demonstrate responsible management of resources.

“Des Moines Water Works has taken pro-active steps in good stewardship of energy and ratepayer dollars by implementing a comprehensive energy conservation and management program,” said Ted Corrigan, Des Moines Water Works Interim CEO and General Manager.  “This culture of managing energy will help the Des Moines Water Works expand its energy and cost savings to benefit the environment and our water customers.  Des Moines Water Works is a leader in stewardship of natural resources, improving energy performance, and reducing carbon emissions.”

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Environment, Public Policy July 10, 2019

Summer Irrigation Odd-Even Watering Schedule

Landscape irrigation makes up a large portion of water consumption, particularly during the warmer months of the year. There are many sophisticated automated, in-ground lawn sprinkler systems in use today; however, these systems require regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Even the most properly maintained system can be operated unwisely. 

Des Moines Water Works encourages central Iowa businesses and homeowners to Use Water Wisely, a recommended program aimed at smart summer irrigation. By improving the efficiency of irrigation practices, businesses and homeowners can reduce consumption, save money, and reduce the peak load on water facilities.

Recommended Schedule

The recommended outdoor irrigation schedule applies to all spray irrigation systems for businesses and homes:

  • Watering is not recommended on Mondays.
  • Even-numbered addresses are encouraged to water on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.
  • Odd-numbered addresses are encouraged to water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.
  • Watering is not recommended during the hottest part of the days hours of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Examples

My home address is: 5018 1st Street. Recommended irrigation schedule: Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.

My business address is: 1355 Main Street. Recommended irrigation schedule: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, before 10:00 am or after 5:00 pm.

In addition, it is important to:

  • Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
  • For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
  • When possible, avoid laying sod or grass seed during the month of July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months of the year.  New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive.  Grass seed is also best used during the fall.
  • Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs.

For more information, visit: www.dmww.com/education/using-water-wisely.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Conservation, Customers May 2, 2019

DMWW Community Partnerships

Des Moines Water Works is committed to being a vital contributor to the betterment of our community. Each year, sponsorship applications are considered from community organizations that advance the utility’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives. Since 2015, Des Moines Water Works has provided $84,500 in cash sponsorships and $30,000 in in-kind technical assistance to local organizations or academia with environmental studies, curriculum or events designed to build appreciation for the value of water or increase research and awareness for source water quality and quantity. In 2018, a few of those local organizations Des Moines Water Works sponsored include:

Our Water Our Land Video Series – With Des Moines Water Works’ sponsorship, Drake University’s Agricultural Law Center produced 30 educational videos that include timely, interesting, and honest information about a range of important social, political, and economic issues. Our Water Our Land video series brings a more educational, thought provoking, and balanced discussion on water quality and soil health. More information: www.aglawcenter.wp.drake.edu/our-water.

Polk County/Beaver Creek Watershed Management Authority – As a large watershed feeding Des Moines Water Works’ river source, Des Moines Water Works provided sponsorship dollars to Polk County in support of a Beaver Creek comprehensive watershed plan. Watershed Management Authorities and their planning and management within a watershed is integral to water quality improvement in Iowa.

Water Rocks! – An award-winning education program through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Water Rocks! helps students, teachers and parents learn the science of water quality through music. Des Moines Water Works provided sponsorship dollars in order to bring their exciting program into Des Moines Public Schools. More information:
www.waterrocks.org.

In addition, you may have seen a Des Moines Water Works mobile water stations at a recent community event, festival or charity. Since 2012, Des Moines Water Works has provided free mobile water stations to more than 20 events each year, including the Downtown Farmers Market, Des Moines Arts Festival, 80/35 Music Festival, and Iowa State Fair Parade. These mobile water stations encourage visitors to bring their own reusable water bottles to events to stay hydrated and eliminate bottled beverage waste.

Des Moines Water Works thanks all its community partners working to provide important programs supporting safe and affordable drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Education, Value of Water April 29, 2019

2019 Capital Improvements

Water utilities are an infrastructure intensive industry. Des Moines Water Works maintains over 10,000 fire hydrants and approximately 1,400 miles of buried water mains which have 9,800 valves. Des Moines Water Works has over 80,000 water meters and automated reading devices serving our customers. Each of Des Moines Water Works’ three water treatment plants and more than 50 remote sites (i.e. ground or elevated water storage facilities, pump and booster stations) have multiple mechanical, electrical, and controls systems that require a high degree of maintenance to ensure these systems work at peak efficiency to allow us to treat and distribute the highest quality water at the least possible cost.

Des Moines Water Works will be investing $1.4 million in building and facility maintenance, $1.9 million in new pumping and storage facilities, $2.9 in equipment updates, $3.5 million in treatment plant improvements, and $9.6 million in water main replacement and distribution system improvements as the major areas of focus for 2019.

As the largest 2019 capital investment, water main replacement is a necessary, preventative approach that saves money on repairs, reduces the loss of water that occurs as a result of the main breaks, and minimizes disruption to customers. Des Moines Water Works prioritizes water main projects by: replacement of water mains that have a history of breaks; modeling the likelihood of future breaks; relocation to accommodate city, county, or state construction projects; and improvement of fire flow and meeting the needs of customers.

The Board of Water Works Trustees has recognized the utility can most cost effectively maintain our infrastructure assets by generating the necessary capital through water rate revenue. This allows the utility to pay for the maintenance and replacements on a “pay as you go” basis. The 2019 utility budget included an upcoming rate increase (effective April 1) to allow an operating budget growth of 6.2%, and produce an estimated $19.3 million for new capital improvement projects after existing debt service obligations are met.

After each project is designed, Des Moines Water Works will receive bids from contractors and the construction contract will be awarded to the contractor that will be performing the work. If the bids received allow Des Moines Water Works to complete all the streets within budget, construction will take place in 2019.

Des Moines Water Works will contact customers directly in the neighborhoods throughout Des Moines and unincorporated Polk County that have been scheduled for water main replacement in 2019. Additional customer communications and public meetings will be forthcoming. Des Moines Water Works appreciates the cooperation and understanding from customers during construction and will work with contractors to minimize the inconvenience to customers impacted by the following projects:

Polk County Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT 1
· NE 3rd Street from NE 54th Avenue to NE 49th Place
· NE 5th Street from NE 51st Place to NE 54th Avenue

Polk County Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT 2
· NW 51st Place from NW 2nd Avenue to NW 6th Drive
· NW 49th Place from NW 2nd Avenue to NW 6th Drive

Des Moines Water Main Replacement – CONTRACT
· Park Avenue from SW 33rd Street to SW 37th Street
· 48th Street private main conversion to public main

City of Des Moines Road Reconstruction with Des Moines Water Main Replacement
· Fleur Drive Reconstruction from Bell Avenue to Watrous Phase 1-North Bound
· 2019 Roadway Reconstruction:
– SE 5th Street from Park Avenue to E. Broad Street
– South Union Street from E. Kirkwood Avenue to Park Avenue

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Infrastructure, Rates April 24, 2019

Boat Permits Now Available for Maffitt Reservoir

Canoe, kayak and paddleboard enthusiasts are invited to enjoy the beautiful water and views at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. Interested users must purchase an annual permit to launch their watercraft at Maffitt Reservoir. The annual boat permit can be purchased for $20.00 at Des Moines Water Works’ General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines. No motors or sails of any kind are allowed, which helps ensure the lake remains a high quality water source for the area’s drinking water supply.

Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits among the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works, Dale Maffitt. In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, producing up to 25 million gallons per day for Des Moines and surrounding areas. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.

Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). Take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.

For more information on the use of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at Maffitt Reservoir and other Park Rules, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 or visit www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Maffitt Reservoir, Parks April 22, 2019

On Earth Day, Des Moines Water Works Encourages All Iowans to Think Downstream

It’s a simple fact that everyone knows: water flows downstream.  As water travels downstream, it also brings with it many other things along the way like soil, debris, and other contaminants.

For Earth Day, Des Moines Water Works is encouraging everyone to Think Downstream, and this year, Des Moines Water Works is leading by example. For more than 25 years, Des Moines Water Works has been issued a permit to discharge the waste from its Nitrate Removal Facility back into the Raccoon River.  Over the past few years, Des Moines Water Works worked with regulators at Iowa DNR and staff at Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) on a process to divert Nitrate Removal Facility waste from entering the Raccoon River at the Fleur Drive plant, for treatment at the WRA.

Construction and testing for a $2.5 million pump station and pipe for the waste from the Nitrate Removal Facility to the WRA are now complete.  Moving forward, when the Nitrate Removal Facility is in operation, the WRA will receive DMWW’s nitrate removal waste where the nitrate will be treated through controlled biological environments within the WRA facility.  In addition, a beneficial reuse product called biosolids is produced for land application on agricultural fields in the Des Moines River Watershed (Polk and Jasper Counties).

“Investing in multi-million-dollar capital improvements to enhance treatment processes is one solution to deal with pollution in our source waters; however, improved upstream land use practices can reduce nutrient concentrations in downstream drinking water sources,” said Ted Corrigan, Interim CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.  “All Iowans need to take responsibility for improving Iowa’s water quality. We encourage everyone to Think Downstream and consider what they may do to help make Iowa’s water safe for drinking and recreation.

“Both Des Moines Water Works and Des Moines WRA consider and view this venture as a major step towards environmental stewardship and are fully committed to the positive results it will yield: safe drinking water for central Iowa with a major reduction of contaminants being discharged back into our waterways that flow downstream to the next community,” said Scott Hutchens, Director, Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority.

For a video on Des Moines Water Works’ Think Downstream initiative, visit: www.thinkdownstream.com

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , Posted in Conservation, Environment, Source Water, Water Treatment January 18, 2019

Fire Hydrant Access

Des Moines Water Works collaborates with city fire departments to properly maintain nearly 10,000 fire hydrants in the Des Moines Water Works distribution system. You can help your local fire department and Des Moines Water Works by following these simple tips to keep fire hydrants working  properly and accessible when they are needed:

  • During winter months, shovel snow away from fire hydrants.
  • Do not paint fire hydrants – the color of the fire hydrant is indicative of water flow available for fire protection.
  • Keep cars, bikes, toys and other objects away from fire hydrants at all times.
  • Mow and trim grass or weeds around fire hydrants near your property.
  • Do not plant flowers or shrubs around fire hydrants.

If you notice a damaged fire hydrant or witness suspicious activity near a fire hydrant, please call Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.  Your call is important to the fire protection of your home, business and others around you.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Infrastructure January 17, 2019

DMWW Calls on (Old and New) Friends for Telemetry Assistance

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) in some situations uses secured radio telemetry to send information from remote sites to the Control Center. This information is used to monitor various attributes of remote sites so staff can be alerted to any problems and ensure systems are running optimally.

In recent months, DMWW experienced periodic and sometimes total failure of the radio system that communicates to several facilities and water tower sites.

DMWW employees worked diligently for some time to try to remedy the issue. When no solution could be found, staff reached out to radio sales representatives and technical resources to assist with the problem. In addition, Des Moines Police (DMPD) radio department, Polk County Emergency Management, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were also contacted to help find the interference.

That’s when a relatively unknown volunteer group, Polk County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, was brought in for assistance.

The mission of Polk County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is to provide emergency radio communications for Polk County and surrounding communities when officially activated by an authorized agency. ARES is comprised of 76 volunteers and is governed by the FCC Code of Federal Regulations. An FCC requirement for maintaining radio spectrum for amateur radio is providing service to the public.

“The primary focus of our communications efforts are surrounding emergency response – specifically to augment public service communications capabilities for the various jurisdictions within Polk County,” said Scott Kirstein, Emergency Coordinator, Polk County ARES. “Fortunately, Polk County is pretty well equipped and has considerable resources to utilize for most emergencies, so we are not needed very often for the real thing; however, we do provide routine support for community events, like the Des Moines Marathon, Living History Farms Race, Fight for Air Climb, to name a few.”

A total of eight operators from Polk County ARES assembled to track down the signal interference plaguing DMWW over the course of about three weeks. DMWW, DMPD radio department, and the FCC continued to assist during the workday, while the amateur volunteers worked the late shift.

A Polk County ARES volunteer working to isolate the source of the signal in Downtown Des Moines.

After a process of elimination (finding out for sure what was not causing the interference, to determine where it could be), the volunteer group
pinpointed the signal to defunct equipment on top of a downtown Des Moines building that was causing the unintentional interference. The team contacted the owner of the license associated with the equipment and got permission to disable it, and DMWW confirmed the signal interference was gone.

Collectively, the Polk County ARES volunteer team spent approximately 70 hours to assist DMWW.

“We are just a handful of folks who are willing to help out if we can. We heard of a need, thought maybe we could help, and caught a couple of breaks to solve a problem,” said Scott Kirstein.

After the experience, DMWW has a more robust radio system with encryption and a stronger relationship with several entities who can assist if a similar problem happens in the future.

Thank you to DMPD, Polk County, FCC, and the volunteer amateur radio group in locating the signal interference and working to find solutions for DMWW’s communications systems, which are a vital element in our work to deliver safe drinking water to 500,000 central Iowa customers.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customer Service, Infrastructure January 10, 2019

Water Regionalization Update

Des Moines Water Works has been an independent water utility since 1919. For 100 years, it has provided Des Moines with safe and abundant drinking water that has allowed the city to flourish. Since 1934, Des Moines Water Works has been providing drinking water to central Iowa communities outside of the city of Des Moines, helping the entire region grow and providing savings through economies of scale.

While Des Moines Water Works currently acts as the primary regional producer of water, we believe current and future challenges for producing water could be better met through expanded representation and involvement in decision-making, rate-setting, and capital planning, and by more equitably sharing costs and spreading the assumption of risk among the people and governments of the region.

In recent years, Des Moines Water Works has worked alongside its suburban wholesale customers to find appropriate ways that they could be included in important ratemaking and planned infrastructure decisions. Over the past two years, these discussions have been formalized and professionally facilitated by FCS Group of Redmond, Washington, with the goal of providing a pathway to create a regional water production authority for central Iowa that maximizes water resource management.

The formal discussions between three local independent water utilities (Des Moines Water Works, Urbandale Water Utility and West Des Moines Water Works) and surrounding communities have been beneficial. Each community and entity brings its own unique perspective and specific needs to the table, and after spending hundreds of hours listening and discussing these important issues, we are all more aware of each community’s needs regarding water now and into the future. At the same time, other communities and water producers are still actively pursuing new water production expansion of their own, which only complicates matters even more.

The good news is that the lines of communication between all parties remain open and productive. Des Moines Water Works will continue to invest time and resources to find a solution that will benefit the community at large. Safe and abundant drinking water is not just a necessity for continued economic growth in our area, but it is a vital necessity for life itself.

While an acceptable model for expanded regional governance of and participation in water production in central Iowa has yet to be developed, Des Moines Water Works remains committed to working with all parties interested in exploring ways to increase participation and representation in the governance of water production.

As we continue to explore water production solutions for the region, we will keep you updated on public meetings and important information. View information from the process thus far at: 
www.dmww.com/about-us/board-of-trustees/central-iowa-regional-water.

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