Archive for February, 2012

February 23, 2012

Life in the Tropics

Painted turtles, goldfish and koi call the Des Moines Botanical Center’s two ponds home. It is difficult to get an exact count of each, but we guess there are approximately 10 painted turtles, nearly 40 koi of all sizes and colors, and a couple dozen goldfish of various sizes.

The fish have a pretty easy-going day. Every morning, they feast on the fallen leaves inside the Dome and investigate anything found in the ponds left by visitors, including shoes, sunglasses and beaded necklaces. They then devour a not-so-gourmet blend of protein, fat and fiber. Between the two ponds, you can tell who is on a diet or a picky eater. The fish in the lower pond take their time making their way towards the food, while the fish near the waterfall pond have collisions with each other trying to get first dibs! The rest of the day consists of swimming with friends as visitors rain shiny coins on them like they are royalty.

The turtles have a different agenda. In the mornings, you can find them floating in the water, minding their own business. Most of them don’t seem to mind fish feeding time. As the fish franticly swim towards food, the turtles often get bumped into, and not surprisingly, sometimes get pushed under water, as a fish swim over them.  They just bob back up and grab any remaining food that comes their way. When high-noon comes, you’ll find them in groups on the ledge of the ponds sunbathing. They are still as can be with their necks stretched out, soaking in the rays…possibly the ladies of the group gossiping over the gentlemen floating by.

Everyday life as a Botanical Center fish or turtle is what some of us might call a much needed vacation in the tropics!

Visit the Des Moines Botanical Center today to see the fish and turtles.  The Botanical Center is open daily 9:00 am-5:00 pm.

Posted by: Karey Alvarado No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Des Moines Botanical Center February 17, 2012

What’s in a Name?

The Arie Den Boer Arboretum, Dale Maffitt Reservoir, Denman Woods . . . have you ever wondered about the history behind the names?  Namesakes of property and facilities owned by Des Moines Water Works include former general managers, Board of Trustees members, and employees whose strategic visions helped the water utility evolve into the industry leader it is today.

Charles Sing Denman’s 37-year career began in 1896 when the water company was privately owned.  He was the first general manager, appointed in 1919, when the water company became municipally owned.  During his tenure, the water system experienced tremendous growth and many of the facilities in use today were constructed under his direction.  As a testament to his love of nature, the western tract of land that extends along both sides of the Raccoon River in Water Works Park was designated as Denman Woods.  A concrete bench was erected in his memory in 1937 inside the Fleur Drive treatment plant, which was moved to its current location at Water Works Park in the late 1970s when the Charles Sing Denman Memorial Garden was dedicated. 

In 1928, Arie den Boer, a horticulturist, was hired to beautify Water Works’ grounds and create a park, which was opened to the public in 1933.  Mr. den Boer introduced several hundred varieties of crabapple trees and won numerous prestigious awards for his work in horticulture.  The crabapple arboretum was named in Mr. den Boer’s honor when he retired in 1961, after serving as grounds superintendent for 33 years.

The water tower at 48th and Hickman is a memorial to Allen Hazen who designed the tower and unexpectedly died in 1930 before construction was completed.  Mr. Hazen was a prominent New York engineer of international reputation and a pioneer in the area of water treatment.   

Dale L. Maffitt was the general manager when 650 acres southwest of Des Moines were purchased in 1942 to construct a dam and water storage reservoir to be used as an emergency water supply.  The 200-acre impounding reservoir and surrounding area was named for Mr. Maffitt after his death in 1955, following 41 years of employment, 22 of which he led the utility as general manager.  

Henry Nollen and Norman Wilchinski were long-term Board of Trustees members, both of whom served on the first water board of 1919.  Two water storage facilities built in 1955 were named after them.  The Nollen Standpipe is at 26th and Hull and the Wilchinski Standpipe is at SE 9th and Pleasantview Drive. 

The Tenny Standpipe at Merle Hay Mall, which was built in 1959, is a tribute to Morris K. Tenny.  A 44-year employee, Mr. Tenny held the positions of chemist and assistant manager, prior to serving as general manager for 13 years.  He was instrumental in the growth of the Water Works.   

Maurice King’s employment with the Water Works spanned nearly 43 years.  The Maurice A. King Intake and Pumping Station facility on the Des Moines River was named after Mr. King who served as General Manager from 1968-1977.

The L.P. Moon Storage and Pumping Station facility was named in recognition of a former long-term Board member, Louise P. Moon.  Located in Clive, this west side facility was placed on-line in 1996.  Ms. Moon currently serves as Windsor Heights’ representative on the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, of which Des Moines Water Works is a member.

In May of 2000, the Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, a 25 million gallon per day facility, began operation using nine radial collector wells for its main water source, but also drawing from Maffitt Reservoir for additional water resources.  In 2007, it was renamed in honor of L.D. McMullen, a 30-year employee who served as general manager from 1985-2007 and was instrumental in construction of the water treatment plant. 

We are proud of these visionaries and their contributions to Des Moines Water Works and the community.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, History, Parks February 3, 2012

Do I Need Water Service Line Coverage?

Des Moines area residents may recently have received a letter from HomeServe, a company offering water service line coverage.  Although Des Moines Water Works believes such a service could be of value to our customers and we are, in fact, in the process of creating a program that we could recommend to our customers, Des Moines Water Works does not endorse HomeServe at this time and did not provide any customer information to the company.

The letter correctly states the property owner is responsible for the water service line from the main to your home or business, which includes the stopbox.  Leaks in the service line or an inoperable stopbox can be expensive to repair, which is why DMWW is researching solutions for customers who wish to protect themselves from the risks associated with their water service line.  In our research, we have found most plans offer only limited coverage and do not cover all aspects of the service line, such as an inoperable stopbox.  We are thoroughly researching service providers and plans and will select a partner we can recommend only after a thorough and rigorous review of the company’s qualifications and services.  We anticipate a program that DMWW can fully endorse will be available to our customers later this year.

“Before selecting any service provider or coverage, we encourage customers to ask questions specifically related to the coverage offered to ensure it covers the service line from the tap to the home or business, including the stopbox, and to be sure the offer is made by a reputable company,” said Randy Beavers, CEO and General Manager.

DMWW considers ourselves your partner in ensuring you receive a quality product and service for all aspects of your water service, and we take very seriously our mission to provide responsive services that provide high value to our customers.  We cannot affirm that HomeServe’s offering meets this high standard.

If you have any questions, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Amy Kahler 6 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customer Service February 1, 2012

“Like” and “Follow” Des Moines Water Works to Support a Good Cause

Des Moines Water Works will donate one dollar to their Project H2O – Help to Others program for every new fan on Facebook, follower on Twitter and subscriber to their company blog.  The special campaign which runs February 1 to March 31, will generate financial support and awareness to the low-income assistance program.

“This campaign is a great opportunity for customers to start engaging with Des Moines Water Works through social media, and at the same time, bring awareness and support to a program that helps customers in our community,” said Amy Kahler, Director of Customer Service and Marketing.  “Twitter and Facebook are real-time customer communication channels that DMWW is answering.” 

To join, visit the company’s social media sites at:

Des Moines Water Works’ blog, Facebook and Twitter pages provide instant customer information directly from the source, as well as:

  • Water emergency advisories, such as water main breaks and outages
  • Water quality concerns and facts
  • Water Works Park news and community events
  • Conservation and watershed protection tips

The Project H2O program was established in 1995 by Des Moines Water Works to accept contributions from customers to help in assisting low-income households in Des Moines, Ankeny, Polk County, Windsor Heights and Warren County with payment of their water bills. Since Des Moines Water Works is a local utility, every dollar contributed helps someone in your community.

Des Moines Water Works partners with The Salvation Army – an outside, nonprofit agency – to administer the Project H2O program.  For more information on the program, or to see if you qualify, please contact The Salvation Army at (515) 282-3422.

For more information on ways to give to the Project H2O program, visit

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service