Posts Tagged ‘DMWW’

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 No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Conservation, Customers 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 October 9, 2018

Imagine a Day Without Water

It can be easy to forget that some issues we all care about cut across geographic and political lines. Citizens may have different opinions on a variety of issues, but when it comes to our daily lives, they have a lot in common. They get up in the morning, brush their teeth, use the bathroom, and make coffee. They shower, do their laundry, and wash the dishes. Hospitals provide lifesaving services. Firefighters put out fires. But none of that would be possible without safe and reliable water.

A day without water is threatens our health, safety, and economy. That’s why Des Moines Water Works is joining with hundreds of groups across the country for Imagine a Day Without Water, a national day of action to raise awareness about the value of water.

If you’ve never experienced it before, it may be hard to imagine a day without water. But for some communities in Iowa (Creston and Greenfield) and across America (Flint, MI and Toledo, OH), they already know.

The vast majority of Americans, across parties and regions, want the federal government to invest in our water infrastructure. Investment in water infrastructure has not been a federal priority for decades, leaving it to local water utilities and people who pay water bills to make up the difference. While the U.S. government is currently funding $82 billion less than what is needed to maintain our water infrastructure, Des Moines Water Works proactively invests in the water system with water main replacement and other infrastructure improvements.

On Imagine a Day Without Water, Des Moines Water Works is kicking off the second annual Citizen Water Academy, with 24 participants from across central Iowa seeking to learn more about our most important resource: the water we depend on for life. Though Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for almost 100 years, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring and challenges are not common knowledge among most citizens. It is our hope that the Citizen Water Academy graduates not only come away from the Water Academy with a better understanding of their local water utility, but are also equipped to help lead the discussion on important water issues now and in the future.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Value of Water October 2, 2018

Water Works Park Improvements

Construction of the first phase of Des Moines Water Works Park improvements is underway. The improvements include a two-way amphitheater, great lawn, celebration lawn, restrooms, a marketplace, natural play areas and outdoor classrooms, pathways, and parking. Improvements are expected to be completed by May 2019. The area will provide a platform for park users to engage in educational, recreational, and cultural activities. A passageway under Fleur Drive to safely connect Water Works Park to Gray’s Lake Park is planned for 2019.

 

In the coming months, park users can also expect a dedication of “The Wild,” a celebration of the over 1,400 acres of Water Works Park that will remain largely untouched. These areas will be enhanced with signage and virtual information tools that allow for more self-discovery and understanding the role Des Moines Water Works Park plays in both clean water production and the many ecosystems contained within.

The Des Moines Water Works Park Foundation has privately raised funds for the park improvements and do not come from Des Moines Water Works ratepayers. For more information on the planned Des Moines Water Works Park improvements, visit: www.dmwwpf.org/future-plans.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Des Moines Water Works Park 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 September 10, 2018

Gallery ‘Flooding Station’ 100 Years Old

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. The Gallery system is a three-mile long, porous pipe constructed with concrete rings. The gallery runs parallel to the Raccoon River in Water Works Park from SW 46th Street to Fleur Drive. It collects naturally-filtered water from the sand and gravel of the river valley. The concrete rings are four and five feet in diameter and two feet long and are held slightly apart so water can trickle into the pipe. The Gallery system at Des Moines Water Works dates back to 1884, when the first 260 feet was constructed. By 1910, over 6,000 feet of Gallery had been excavated and placed in service.

Prior to 1910, when Des Moines’ water supply was deficient, trenches were dug in nearby sandbars or whole surfaces of sandbars were cleaned off to allow them to flood at a shallow depth and augment the water supply to the Gallery. After Gallery extensions were made in 1910, “emergency filters” were also constructed to collect water for infiltration. Thus began the construction of the current ponds in Water Works Park to augment the water supply to the Gallery.

During the drought of 1916 and after, extremely low water levels were artificially increased using a temporary pumping station to pump water from the Raccoon River onto a low-lying area. About five million gallons per day (mgd) were pumped onto the ground to flood an area of about four acres. Since this worked so effectively at increasing water supplies in the Gallery, it was decided to build a permanent pumping station at this location in 1918. It was placed into service in February 1919, and contained two motor-driven centrifugal pumps that could each pump 5 mgd. Since it was originally used to flood the land, it became known as a ‘flooding station,’ not pumping station.

One interesting fact about the Gallery flooding station is who the architect was: Norman T. Vorse. Mr. Vorse was a well-known architect of the time. He designed many Des Moines landmarks, including Court Avenue Bridge, Des Moines Municipal Courthouse (now the home of Des Moines Police Department) and Hoyt-Sherman Auditorium.

The Infiltration Gallery 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. Today, the Infiltration Gallery system provides the first 20 million gallons of water each day, and a century later, the flooding station is still in use.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in About Us, Infrastructure, Source Water August 1, 2018

2018 Citizen Water Academy

Though Des Moines Water Works has successfully supplied safe, abundant and affordable drinking water to central Iowans for almost 100 years, the associated planning, production, distribution, monitoring and challenges presented by contaminated source water are not common knowledge among most citizens.  With water quality on the minds of Central Iowans, Des Moines Water Works is hosting it’s second annual Citizen Water Academy of Central Iowa in an effort to engage the public in more detail about the evolution of drinking water and understand plans for the future that meet the growing needs of our community. Last year, DMWW hosted 24 participants in the inaugural Citizen Water Academy.

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

What to Expect

All sessions are held at Des Moines Water Works general office.

Session 1: Wednesday, October 10, 1:00-5:00 pm

Theme: Imagine a Day Without Water

Session 2: Thursday, October 25, 1:00-5:30 pm

Theme: What is the value of clean water?

Session 3: Thursday, November 1, 1:00-5:00 pm

Theme: Working to protect source water

Session 4 and Graduation: Wednesday, November 7, 1:00-5:00 pm

Theme: Putting knowledge into practice

There is no tuition, fee, or charge to apply to attend the Citizen Water Academy.  For more information on the Citizen Water Academy and to apply to be a part of the 2018 class.  For more information and to apply, visit www.citizenwateracademy.com

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service July 25, 2018

New Aquifer Storage and Recovery Well Serving Central Iowa Customers

Des Moines Water Works has utilized aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells as sources of water since late 1990s. These wells are installed deep into the Cambrian-Ordovcian Aquifer, also referred to as the Jordan Aquifer, and are used to store drinking water that is needed when water demand is high. When water demand is low, mainly during winter months, drinking water is injected into the wells which displaces the native Jordan Aquifer water. Up to 450 million gallons can be stored in an ASR well during the winter months when Des Moines Water Works has excess water treatment capacity. In summer months, during higher water demand, the drinking water is pumped out of the ASR well and into the water distribution system for use by customers.

West Des Moines Water Works, a wholesale customer of Des Moines Water Works, needed to purchase additional water from Des Moines Water Work to meet the needs of Microsoft Corporation. To meet the water demand requirements of Microsoft, West Des Moines Water Works, City of West Des Moines and Des Moines Water Works entered into a Chapter 28E Agreement to construct a new ASR Well facility. The Army Post Road ASR Well facility will be placed in service this summer and will provide an additional 3 million gallons of water per day to help serve Microsoft and other Des Moines Water Works’ customers.

The total cost of this project is $6.1 million. The City of West Des Moines and the West Des Moines Water Works paid $4.655 million of the cost while the Des Moines Water Works paid $1.4 million dollars. The Des Moines Water Works also provided the 5.28 acre site for the Army Post Road ASR Well facility along with the engineering design and construction management for the project.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customers, Water Treatment June 29, 2018

No water quality success worth reporting or celebrating

The Iowa Farm Bureau is perturbed that the news media didn’t do more to cover the fifth year anniversary of Iowa’s voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy and the conservation progress being made by Iowa farmers.

The Iowa Farm Bureau pouting because they are not receiving enough praise and admiration from the media is funny considering the influence they wield with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, and key members of the Trump administration.

Since her ascension to the office of Governor, Des Moines Water Works has requested a meeting with Governor Reynolds on numerous occasions.  Each time we have been told she is working hard to make Iowa better, but has no time in her schedule to sit down with a utility that supplies drinking water to one-sixth of the state’s population.  Even after parts of nine Southwest Iowa counties were without drinking water recently, the Governor’s office still brushed off a request to sit down and discuss important issues related to access to safe drinking water.

While Governor Reynolds continues to refuse to meet with Des Moines Water Works, she has appeared or partnered in numerous events with the Iowa Farm Bureau and other commodity groups in her first 13 months in office.  From water quality events in Northwest Iowa to speaking at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting, Reynolds doesn’t miss an opportunity to be seen with the organization. In fact, Reynolds even joined Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt when he visited the Iowa Farm Bureau in August of 2017.

One would think the Iowa Farm Bureau could deal with being ignored in a news cycle so long as they have the ear of decision makers in Des Moines and Washington D.C.

As for the substantive part of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s latest article about farming and conservation, we commend them for finally acknowledging that farmers have responsibility for water quality.  As well as Rep. Steve King’s recent comments on the House floor about Iowa farmers’ contribution to the Gulf of Mexico’s ‘Dead Zone,’ in his Amendment to the House Farm Bill.  This is truly a breakthrough.  Finally, Iowa Farm Bureau acknowledges agricultural activities do impact water quality (even if, erroneously, the author believes Iowa’s water quality has improved since the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was implemented).  However, if it’s the truth you are seeking, it should be easily verifiable by data and the problem is that the facts and science are not on the Iowa Farm Bureau’s side.

The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy has failed.  Nitrate concentration in both the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers has been unchanged since the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy was introduced in 2013.  However, nitrate loads in both rivers has actually increased during that same time frame.  And remember, the stated goal of the program was to reduce Iowa’s contribution of nutrients in our rivers, streams, and lakes by 45 percent, which is nowhere in sight.

In fact, a recent study from the University of Iowa shows the state’s contribution to the nitrogen pollution in the Gulf of Mexico has grown by almost 50 percent, despite the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  The study also shows that Iowa is responsible for 55 percent of the nitrogen load is the Missouri River.  Chris Jones, a research engineer at the University of Iowa’s IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering, states, “The way that pencils out is that the amount of water coming from Iowa has seven times more nitrate than the rest of the Missouri River watershed.”

The Iowa Farm Bureau is seeking praise for farmers because some of them have chosen to enact conservation practices on their land.  While it is indeed good and right to commend farmers who take the necessary steps to protect water sources and improve soil quality, a voluntary approach is never going to achieve the desired results.  It is time for a bold approach to address water quality in our state.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Des Moines Water Works is required to meet the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for the maximum contaminate level (MCL) in its finished drinking water. When nitrate concentrations in Des Moines Water Works’ source waters (Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers) are above 10 mg/L, the utility must deploy costly nitrate removal solutions in order to meet the Safe Drinking Water Standard for its finished drinking water.

With no measurable improvement in our sources waters, Des Moines Water Works has no choice but to continuing investment to de-nitrify because the condition of the Raccoon River is deteriorating.  Our continued investment in the Saylorville Water Treatment Plant on the Des Moines River is necessary because it is more financially prudent to avoid the more heavily polluted Raccoon River.

The current game being played by the Iowa Farm Bureau and our elected leaders is a dangerous one.  It makes ribbon cuttings and press releases touting unrealized success a priority, while the conditions of our source waters are simply ignored.  The doors at Des Moines Water Works will continue to remain open to anyone who wants to discuss how we can all work together to improve water quality in the state.  Let’s not confuse “collaboration” or “cooperation” with back-slapping cheers for the status quo.  We realize that unless our current leaders choose to leave the echo chamber they are currently residing in, not much is going to change.  And that is unfortunate and dangerous. Iowa’s surface waters are a public health disaster in waiting.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 3 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Source Water, Water Quality