Archive for January, 2011

January 27, 2011

Water Works Treatment Process

How does water get from the river to your faucet? Follow the journey as Des Moines Water Works explains in this treatment process video on YouTube!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Education, Fluoride, Water Treatment January 19, 2011

Colors Come Alive in 2011 at Des Moines Botanical Center

Visitors to the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center in 2011 will be welcomed with seasonally changing gardens, educational activities and family events inspired by all things color, including rainbows, color palettes, kaleidoscopes, seasons and music. 

Throughout the year, children, families and visitors of all ages will enjoy “Colors Alive!” which includes six plant bed changes in the Dome – many bringing the theme alive with life-size props and characters made out of plants. The theme continues into the Show House, with four seasonal designs and outside in the Herb Garden which is open May through September.

With each new garden design, children are engaged in different activities and crafts throughout the Dome and everyone can enjoy new products in the Garden Gate Gift Shop corresponding with each new garden design.  Visit the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center often to see each new garden.

The Color of Music is on display now through the end of February. Visitors will be captivated by the show beds inspired by popular songs that have color words in their titles or lyrics.  The showcased plants will feature colors and props that give clues to the song titles. Can you guess them all?  Designed by Lead Horticulturist, Todd Monson and artistic paintings by Events Coordinator, Pam Kline.

Posted by: Dawn Goodrich No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Botanical Center, Parks January 18, 2011

Tap Water Remains Best Bargain Around

New Year’s resolutions are usually about saving money, getting healthy or helping to make the world a better place. What’s the perfect resolution that does all three: Give up bottled water and drink tap water instead.  In a world of sky-rocketing prices on everything from food to fuel, your tap water remains one of the best bargains around. 

  • Studies show that bottled water is no purer than tap water, yet bottled water costs almost 2,000% more.
  • An 8 ounce glass of water can be refilled approximately 15,000 times for the same price as a six pack of soda.
  • At a fraction of a penny per gallon, tap water provides safety, convenience and freedom.
  • Less than 1% of the average person’s total personal income is spent on water and wastewater services.
  • Your DMWW water bill pays for a lot more than simply water.  You get sophisticated water treatment, daily testing and monitoring and a vast underground infrastructure that delivers safe, quality water right to your tap.
  • DMWW monitors more than 100 contaminants and must meet almost 90 regulations for water safety and quality.
  • DMWW adds small amount of fluoride to your water supply to help prevent tooth decay.  Child cavity rates have been greatly reduced. 

New Year’s resolutions that involve minor changes to your daily life are the easiest to stick with. While drinking only tap water might be a small step, it’ll have a big impact!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Value of Water January 12, 2011

New Payment Option

Des Moines Water Works is excited to offer new enhancements to our existing payment options.  Beginning February 1, 2011, customers may now choose to pay by Electronic Check. “E-check” is offered at no cost to customers and will be available via the automated phone system, account log-in, and over the phone with a customer service representative.

Also effective February 1, 2011, a convenience fee of $2.00 will be charged on credit card payments made by website or by telephone, whether by automated phone system or with a live customer service representative.  There will be no credit card convenience fee on credit card transactions made at DMWW general office or through our credit card recurring payment program.

DMWW offers several ways to pay your monthly statement. Choose the method that best works for you! Please remember, for your safety and ours, DMWW service staff does not accept payments while working in the field.

  • Direct Pay:  Your monthly charges are paid automatically by your financial institution. Payments are debited from your account 10 days after the billing date. Visit or call (515) 283-8700 to request a Direct Pay form today.
  • Recurring Payment by Credit Card:  Your monthly charges are paid automatically by a Visa or MasterCard of your choice. Payments are debited from your account 10 days after the billing date. Visit or call (515) 283-8700 to set up Recurring Payment by Credit Card.
  • Account Log-in:  Pay by E-check, credit or check card, set-up Recurring Payment by Credit Card, view billing statements and payment history.
  • DMWW Customer Service Contact Center:  Call (515) 283-8700 to make payments by credit card and E-check anytime, any day. If you require assistance, customer service representatives are available 7:30 am-5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Payments are still accepted at our general office and many metro area pay stations. For a list of pay stations, visit Please be advised that some pay stations now charge a $2.00 fee (DMWW does not regulate or receive these fees).

As a reminder, if you wish to go “paper free” with your monthly statements, you can sign up for E-statements at Please contact a customer service representative at (515) 283-8700 if you have any questions regarding payment options or to request E-statements.

Posted by: Amy Kahler 4 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service January 10, 2011

2011 Legislative Forecast

January not only marks the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new administration in the governor’s office, 38 new legislators, and a new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Much of Des Moines Water Works’ (DMWW) effort will revolve around water resource and infrastructure management and protection education from the perspective of a drinking water utility. 

Some specific legislative and regulatory issues DMWW will be monitoring include potential changes to Iowa Code regulating levee and drainage districts with emphasis on more transparency and accountability of the Drainage and Wetland Landscape Initiative being implemented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. DMWW will be watching for legislation that has the potential to change the configuration and/or authority of the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).

DMWW will be monitoring the likelihood of continuing the Water Resources Coordinating Council (WRCC). The utility supports the Council as the mechanism to coordinate all water programs and funding at the state and federal level. The Rebuild Iowa Office (RIO) established following the 2008 floods is scheduled to sunset in 2011. DMWW supports some form of the RIO continuing in the future as they have done an exemplary job of coordinating flood relief and in bringing recovery funds to Iowa.

On the federal level, DMWW will provide comments on the 2012 Farm Bill relating to conservation programs and funding with the ability to improve water quality in the Raccoon and Des Moines River watersheds.

The Raccoon River Watershed Master Plan is scheduled for completion in June 2011. Public comments will be requested on the draft plan early in 2011. DMWW will seek partners to institutionalize an implementation structure that will implement Plan recommendations. Information regarding the Plan may be found at

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Public Policy, Value of Water January 7, 2011

New Fluoride Concentration Levels for DMWW Finished Water

Effective Monday, January 10, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) will adjust levels of fluoride such that the final concentration is 0.7 parts per million (ppm) in finished water at both Fleur Drive and L.D. McMullen Treatment Plants. Natural levels of fluoride in DMWW’s source water range from 0.2 to 0.5 ppm.

This adjustment is in accordance to recent recommendations by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), American Dental Association, American Water Works Association and Iowa Department of Public Health.

According to HHS and EPA, the adjustment will maximize the health benefits of water fluoridation, an important tool in the prevention of tooth decay while reducing the possibility of children receiving too much fluoride.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by: Chris Jones 2 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Fluoride, Water Quality, Water Treatment January 7, 2011

Simmer Down – Avoiding Hot Water Burns

Thousands of tap water scald burns occur annually in the United States.  Children under the age of 5 and adults over 65 are particularly high risk groups.  All of these burns are preventable. The following can help you prevent or control tap water burns:                  

  • Before placing a child into the bath or getting into the tub yourself, test the temperature of the water on the inside of your wrist. 
  • Hold your wrist in the water for a slow count of five.  It should be comfortably warm, not hot.  Generally, a child’s bath water temperature should not exceed 100 F.
  • Never leave a young child unattended in the bathroom or tub.
  • Mix the water to ensure there are no hot spots.
  • Adjust the thermostat setting on your water heater to a temperature of 130F.   While this setting may be higher than your present setting, it insures no bacteria growth in the heater.

Hot Water Causes Third Degree Burns…

  •  In 1 second at 156 F
  •  In 2 seconds at 149 F
  •  In 5 seconds at 140 F
  •  In 15 seconds at 133F

First Aid for Scalds

Quickly remove clothing, if you can.  This helps the heat escape from the skin.  However, if stuck to the skin, leave the clothes on to avoid further skin damage.  Immediately pour cold water gently over the scald for 15 to 20 minutes.  Never use ice, oil, butter or ointments.  These can further damage the skin.  Cover the scald with a clean cloth.  See a doctor if the scald is on the hands, feet, genitals or buttocks, if it is blistered, or if in doubt.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Health January 5, 2011

DMWW Reports Carbon Footprint

Des Moines Water Works recently reported its greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions to The Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization that is a collaboration of North American states, provinces, territories, and Native Sovereign Nations.  The purpose of the organization is to set consistent and transparent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report GHG emissions.  Reports for CY 2007 though 2009 can be viewed through the Climate Registry Web site:

DMWW analyzed and reported its GHG emissions to gather information regarding sustainability of treatment and distribution processes, as well as contribution of GHGs to the environment. The analyses did provide a few surprises.  Electrical power usage contributes over 90% of total energy use and GHG emissions.  Clearly the greatest opportunity to diminish GHG emissions is to reduce electrical demand and improve energy efficiencies.  Most of the electricity is used to pump large volumes of water where distance and elevation are the primary variables to energy requirements.  Location of facilities as well as design is an important factor in overall efficiency.  The two lime softening treatment plants (Fleur Drive and L.D. McMullen at Maffitt Reservoir) were very similar in their GHG emissions per million gallons of treated water, even though the newer McMullen facility is a more efficient design with newer and better equipment. This analysis provides a baseline to compare energy efficiencies of differing technologies, such as the all-membrane treatment process at the new Saylorville Water Treatment Plant versus lime softening at the Fleur Drive and L.D. McMullen plants.

Documenting GHG emissions according to rigorous reporting protocols provided invaluable information on power use and inefficiencies, and identified opportunities to improve energy efficiency.  The process identified potential capital investments that will reduce the utility’s risk to a limited energy supply, so DMWW can continue to provide a sustainable supply of water to customers in a cost effective and environmentally responsible manner.

Posted by: Gordon Brand 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Green Initiatives January 3, 2011

Fluoride in Water – Final in a Series of Five

Legality of Fluoridation

Fluoridation of municipal drinking water has aroused some controversy from its beginnings in 1945. Determined people have questioned its effectiveness, safety, and legality. Most scientists, dentists, and physicians are satisfied that the effectiveness and safety questions have been resolved. Some people, however, still object to fluoridation from the perspective that it denies them a legally protected choice.

There is a Constitutional basis for fluoridation. The preamble states the purpose of government is “to promote the general welfare.” The 10th Amendment gives to the states all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government, and this includes control of public health legislation. The development of public health law illustrates the conflict between individual rights and the greater good. Historically, the courts have sided with the greater good on issues of public health, two examples being vaccinations and quarantines. The same legal basis supports our regulations on toxic air emissions, timber harvesting, and wastewater discharges.

The courts have rejected opposition arguments based on the pursuit of happiness and personal liberty, the right to privacy, and forced medication (violation of the principle of informed consent). In Rogowski v. City of Detroit, the court held that it was “common knowledge” that fluoridation is beneficial, and “the fact that a belief is not universal is not controlling, for there is scarcely any belief that is accepted by everyone.”  An Oklahoma court found that fluoridation is “no more practicing medicine or dentistry than a mother would be who furnishes her children a well-balanced diet.” The courts have recognized the similarity of water fluoridation and disinfection with chlorine, a practice which has been upheld in the courts many times. The U.S. Supreme Court has never chosen to hear an appeal regarding the legality of fluoridation, with six cases dismissed because they did not warrant the court’s attention, and seven cases dismissed for lack of a substantial “federal question.”

Science works best within its structure of hypothesis, experiment, theory, interpretation and publication. Its likely fluoridation has been more rigorously evaluated by this process than any other public health measure, and this has been recognized by our courts and elected bodies.

DMWW continues to stay current with all the latest research and regulations regarding fluoride. This is the final article in a series of five. Links to previous articles are below. Thanks for reading!

Fluoride in Water – Part 1

Fluoride in Water – Part 2

Fluoride in Water – Part 3

Fluoride in Water – Part 4

Posted by: Chris Jones 3 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Fluoride, Water Quality, Water Treatment