Archive for November, 2011

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 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 November 28, 2011

DMWW’s Cross-Connection Program: Preventing Possible Contamination

Drinking water is one of our most precious resources and at Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) we strive to bring the safest and best tasting water to Des Moines residents.

What is cross-connection?

An actual or potential connection between the public drinking water supply and a customer’s plumbing system that makes it possible for used water, pollutants, or contaminants to enter the public drinking water supply.

DMWW manages an active Cross-Connection Control Program to meet state and local plumbing codes. This proactive approach is designed to prevent the possible contamination of the public water supply through backflow from customers’ facilities. Our program statement outlines how contamination can happen and how DMWW solves the problem.

DMWW works with specific backflow testers and testing companies that we know do the most outstanding work, so we can continue to provide you with quality water. The list of testers and companies can be found via the following link.

Posted by: Ted Corrigan No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Water Quality November 21, 2011

Winterize Your Home

Cold, winter weather will soon be upon us. Take advantage of the temperate, fall conditions to do some winterizing around your home.  Here are a few tips to help you prevent your pipes from freezing:

  •  Cover the pipes in your attic, crawl spaces, and unheated garage with pipe insulation, heat tape or heat cables.  Make sure you use material safe for pipe insulation. The more insulation you use, the better your pipes will be protected.
  • Seal any leaks allowing cold air inside your home with caulk or insulation.  Leaks are commonly found around dryer vents, pipes, and electrical wiring.  Even a small air leak can cause your pipes to freeze during severely cold weather.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and store them indoors during the winter.  Cover your outdoor faucets with faucet covers, or wrap them in old rags and cover with plastic.  If possible, drain water from pipes leading to outdoor faucets by shutting off the indoor valve.
  • Open cabinet doors that cover plumbing on extremely cold nights.  This lets heat move to areas in your home where pipes are not insulated, such as under sinks.
  • Set the thermostat no lower than 55F (12C) if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time.  Turn off the water and drain your pipes. Fire protection sprinkler systems will deactivate automatically after the water is shut off.

Reminder for Winter Vacationers:

Contact a Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 with your departure and expected return dates.  If you plan to leave your water on while you are gone, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to periodically check your home.  Also, make sure you leave emergency contact information with that person.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers November 16, 2011

Should You Be Worried About Arsenic in Your Water?

Arsenic is an odorless and tasteless semimetal element.  It occurs naturally and is a byproduct of some agricultural and industrial activities.  Higher levels tend to be found in ground water sources than in surface water. 

Human exposure can lead to short- and long-term health effects.  Long-term exposure has been linked to some forms of cancer.  Short-term exposure to high levels (1000 times higher than the EPA limit) can lead to adverse health effect, such as nausea and vomiting, but such an exposure is highly unlikely from a Public Water System (PWS) in compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

The EPA has set the current Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of arsenic at 10 parts per billion (ppb).  This would equate to roughly a few drops of food coloring in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. 

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) sees very low levels, at or below quantitation limits, of arsenic in our source waters.  DMWW’s three treatment plants all have treatment processes in place that remove over 90% of arsenic from the source waters.  This ensures that DMWW finished drinking water is well below the EPA’s MCL for arsenic.  According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the enforcement agency of water regulations for the EPA, only 0.3% of PWS in Iowa had arsenic violations in 2010.

Should you be worried about arsenic in your water?  If you receive water from a Public Water System, they are already testing for it and will list levels detected in the Consumer Confidence Report they are required to provide every year.  If the MCL is violated, the Public Water System must provide a public notice. 

If you have your own water supply and are concerned about arsenic or other contaminants DMWW provides testing services for nominal fees.   If you have questions about your drinking water, please contact DMWW at 515.283.8700.

Posted by: Jeff Mitchell No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Source Water, Water Quality November 6, 2011

New Website Look & Customer Features

Des Moines Water Works’ website has a new look.  But the most exciting changes are in the enhanced customer features.

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) listened to customer suggestions for more functionality to online customer accounts, including consumption alerts.  Don’t be surprised by a high water bill anymore. DMWW’s new website will offer customers the ability to set a daily consumption threshold – an amount you choose that represents normal water use for your account.  If your daily consumption exceeds that on any given day, an automated alert will be sent to an email account you provide.

“We encourage customers to save money and save water by taking advantage of the consumption alert feature available on our new website,” said Amy Kahler, Director of Customer Service and Marketing.  “Too many times, customers don’t notice a leaking toilet until they open their water bill and find that it has doubled or even tripled its normal amount. The new alert feature allows customers to be notified as the leak is occurring and promptly correct it, avoiding wasted water and the surprise of a large bill.”

Other new customer account features include the ability to:

    • Create your own username and password
    •  Manage multiple accounts under one profile (log in)
    • Change and store bank/credit card information
    • Schedule payments
    • View consumption for the last 13 months
    • Sign up for E-statements and/or automated payment methods

Other basic improvements to the website include a cleaner layout and simplified navigation.  We encourage you to visit and become an online account user or update your profile.  We are confident you will like the new look and feel of our website, and will find the new features very convenient and easy to use.

DMWW remains committed to servicing your account.  Customer service representatives are available to assist you with questions about your DMWW account between the hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 13 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service