Archive for October, 2019

October 25, 2019

Des Moines Water Works: Celebrating 100 Years and Planning for the Next 100 Years

The first meeting of the independent Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines was held on November 13, 1919.  For 100 years, Des Moines Water Works has been an independently-operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing in Central Iowa by providing safe, affordable and abundant drinking water.

To celebrate 100 years of serving Central Iowa and planning for the next 100 years, Des Moines Water Works is hosting two public open houses and treatment plant tours for customers to get a “behind the scenes” look at the treatment process at the historic Fleur Drive Treatment Plant that produces and delivers water 24 hours, 365 days a year.

The public is invited to follow along on the treatment process from “River to Tap” on Saturday, November 2. Two times are available for the open houses and treatment plant tours:

  • 9:30-11:30 am
  • 12:30-2:30 pm

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. Pre-register here:

“From the very beginning, Des Moines Water Works’ mission was to protect public health by providing safe and affordable drinking water,” said Ted Corrigan, Interim CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.  “From expanding the distribution system for fire protection in the early 1900s to meeting the drinking water needs of 500,000 central Iowans and the region’s thriving economy, Des Moines Water Works’ mission remains the same as it was 100 years ago and will guide us in meeting water needs for the next generation.”

A few highlights of Des Moines Water Works 100-year history include (but not limited to):

  • Expanded treatment technologies to meet the growing Central Iowa community and vast water quality concerns;
  • Built two additional treatment plants for added water supply and redundancy after the historic Flood of 1993;
  • Worked with neighboring communities to meet their customer needs – including the first suburban customer of Urbandale in 1934;
  • Continued investment and advocacy for source water protection in Iowa – including two 1,500-acre public parks – to protect drinking water sources.

View Des Moines Water Works History 1871-1919

View Des Moines Water Works History 1920-1950

For a complete Des Moines Water Works history, visit

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees October 7, 2019

A Fire Hydrant’s Important Role in the Health and Safety of our Community

While many of us drive or walk past fire hydrants without much thought, Des Moines Water Works takes great pride in the installation and maintenance of the nearly 10,000 fire hydrants in Des Moines and surrounding communities. Fire hydrants provide an essential function in the maintenance of the water system and adequate fire protection for our community.

Every year in the fall, fire hydrant inspection or “hydrant walking” is completed to ensure all fire hydrants in the system are in working order. This annual inspection ensures hydrants have not been damaged or are not holding water that could freeze over winter, both of which would render the hydrant unusable in the event of an emergency.

While Des Moines Water Works is responsible for maintenance of the fire hydrants that firefighters use to protect our community, fire hydrants are actually used more frequently for water system maintenance. Any time maintenance is performed on the water system (i.e. water main break, valve repair, etc.), air is allowed to escape from the pipes through the hydrant, and water is flushed from the hydrant to ensure water delivered to customers following maintenance is clear. You can help Des Moines Water Works and your fire department by following these simple tips to keep fire hydrants working properly and accessible when they are needed:

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

Unauthorized use of a hydrant can cause significant damage to the distribution system, the hydrant, and your home or business plumbing. Additionally, it may cause damage to our water supply. Any unauthorized use of a fire hydrant may result in a $1,500 fine and misdemeanor charges.

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 water service and fire protection of your home, business and others around you.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customers, Infrastructure