Posts Tagged ‘Des Moines Botanical Center’

April 22, 2016

On Earth Day, Des Moines Water Works Reflects on Resources Spent to Manage Agrotoxins in Source Waters

This Earth Day, as nitrate concentrations in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers continue to rise, Des Moines Water Works reflects on the vast resources spent to manage the persistent agrotoxins in the waters of the state.

Des Moines Water Works continues to meet and exceed regulatory requirements for safe drinking water for 500,000 central Iowa customers; however, not without a cost to our ratepayers.  In 2015, Des Moines Water Works operated its Nitrate Removal Facility for a record-setting 177 days, surpassing the previous record of 106, set in 1999.  Due to the significant costs to operate the facility and the rising nitrate concentration in Des Moines’ source waters, Des Moines Water Works has also invested a significant amount of capital funds in projects for natural nitrate removal or avoidance:

  • The natural denitrification strategies include Water Works Park ponds, former gravel pits near Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant, and most recently, a constructed wetland pilot project in Water Works Park.  If the one-acre pilot wetland is successful, Des Moines Water Works will consider converting a large portion (up to 80-acres) of Water Works Park into constructed wetlands, with the goal of providing natural denitrification, and ultimately protecting the health of our customers.

In this natural process, nitrate is consumed and converted to nitrogen gas by the life processes of microorganisms.  Although the ultimate source of water is the Raccoon River, this approach maximizes the time the water is in off-river storage and allows the nitrate concentration in the river water to be reduced via biological reduction.

  • To avoid high nitrate water in a particular source water, Des Moines Water Works has also invested capital funds for projects that provide access to water with very little nitrate levels – Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells – or water with lower nitrate concentration – Des Moines River – that can be blended with other water sources in order to meet drinking water quality standards.

Des Moines Water Works’ two ASR wells (a third one is currently being constructed) store finished water in wells for distribution to customers at a later date. Although originally developed to smooth out spikes in treatment demand during high customer demand periods, the ASR wells have been utilized to meet customer demand during high nitrate levels.

The Des Moines River Intake facility was constructed to provide additional raw water supply for the Fleur Drive Water Treatment Plant. With the Saylorville Reservoir upstream from the intake, the nitrate concentration in the Des Moines River is almost always lower than the Raccoon River. Access to the Des Moines River provides Des Moines Water Works with another lower nitrate water supply option that was not available prior to construction of this facility.

  • Des Moines Water Works’ newest treatment plant – Saylorville Water Treatment Plant – uses reverse osmosis membranes that removes nitrate from the water, without the use of a side-stream nitrate removal facility.

Ultimately, the best way to reduce nitrate concentration in the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers is nutrient management on farms and watershed protection to prevent agrotoxins from directly entering surface waters.  Des Moines Water Works follows this concept by practicing agricultural best management practices on 100 acres of leased farm land on Maffitt Reservoir property, including the use of cover crops and adjusted rental rates for the tenant to install conservation practices.

Des Moines Water Works remains vigilant in protecting the source waters that produce drinking water for central Iowans.  On this Earth Day and every day, Des Moines Water Work is committed to producing water you can trust for life, even with adverse water quality conditions.  Des Moines Water Works asks all Iowans to Think Downstream.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Source Water, Water Quality September 19, 2012

Greater Des Moines Garden Transformation

In a few months, the Des Moines Botanical Center, an iconic fixture in the Des Moines landscape, will begin to transform to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Under the care and management of Des Moines Water Works since 2004, the Garden’s management will transition to the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a 501(c)3 nonprofit  on January 1, 2013.

Over the course of the summer, the City of Des Moines has relined the sanitary sewer between the University Avenue and I-235 bridges in preparation for the transformation of the facility. The City has also been in the process of relocating and enhancing the John Pat Dorrian Bike Trail in the Botanical Garden’s vicinity. The new trail will have riverside views and the benefit of a 10-foot-wide trail and generous shoulders. The bike trail will be completed later this year.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s phase one improvements to the facility will be underway from early 2013 through late summer 2014, in order to plant the expanded landscape at the most optimal time for the plants. The building improvements will include a new café overlooking a terrace and water garden, a new garden shop and reconfigured lobby, an office suite for the staff, and upgraded meeting and rental spaces.  The phase one exterior additions will include a shade tree allee, a celebration event lawn surrounded by gardens, a water garden and a series of specialty gardens. The expanded landscape will have a diverse plant palette and year-round interest.

During the transformation, the geodesic domed conservatory will remain open from January-June 2013. From July through the early part of September, the facility will be closed to the public as the garden’s interior and exteriors are transformed.

Be sure to mark your calendars for some of the beloved programs that you have grown to anticipate including:  A Celebration of Champagne and Chocolate on November 16, 6:00-8:00 pm; Botanical Blues from 1:00-3:00 pm, every Sunday in January and February; Learn on Saturday Lectures from 10:00 am-12:00 pm every Saturday in January, February and March; along with seasonal floral displays, and so much more.

If you are interested in supporting the transformations of the Botanical Garden or becoming a member of the Garden, please contact the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s Membership and Development Manger, Amanda Jordan at (515) 323-6265 or [email protected].

Posted by: Stephanie Jutila 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in Des Moines Botanical Center, Parks August 21, 2012

Successful Gardening in a Drought

As drought conditions continue, it is essential to monitor your trees, shrubs and plants to avoid losing them for good.  As a general rule, most plants require a minimum of one inch of rain a week to remain healthy.  This can be obtained by either rainfall or watering.  Watering should be done in the early morning or early evening to avoid the hottest part of the day and evaporation.  Adhering to Des Moines Water Works stage 1 water conservation guidelines, it is also requested that any watering be done every other day.

Trees, shrubs, and perennials should be watched for either curling leaves or flagging (yellowing of the leaves).  A periodic, heavy watering is more beneficial than a light, daily spraying on these plants.  A bucket of water with small holes in the bottom allows water to slowly release into the soil giving a more uniform watering. Using a two-inch thick layer of mulch around these plants will also help retain moisture levels in the soil and reduce water evaporation. Trees that have been in the ground for less than five years should have priority over older trees.

Vegetable, annual and container gardening dry out much faster than other plants and watering should be done in the morning or late evening. Vegetable crops will likely be smaller than normal due to the heat. They tend to use the energy from water and sunshine just to flower and stay alive and don’t have enough extra energy to produce the crop.

Most brown grass is considered dormant, not dead. Applying a fertilizer would not be recommended in these conditions. Fall aeration and over-seeding would be better money spent. Under DMWW stage 1 water conservation guidelines, it is requested that residents and businesses in the Des Moines metro area cease or reduce lawn irrigation.  If you must irrigate (new sod), do so early morning or late evening, and every other day.

Posted by: Todd Monson No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customers, Des Moines Botanical Center, Green Initiatives July 11, 2012

A Growing Botanical Center

The Des Moines Botanical Center will grow next year to feature new outdoor gardens, tree-lined walkways, a water garden, and a botany lab. The renovation also involves a new name. Effective January 1, 2013, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a nonprofit foundation, will assume the center’s lease with the City of Des Moines and oversee the expected $11.6 million in renovations. Also included in the makeover are a new cafe, an event lawn, updated meeting and event rooms and an expanded parking lot.  Phase one construction is expected to begin early 2013.

Des Moines Water Works has operated the Botanical Center since January 2004, and will continue to support the new Botanical Garden with annual in-kind contributions.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Des Moines Botanical Center April 19, 2012

Des Moines Water Works Celebrates Earth Day

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is gearing up for a special Earth Day weekend full of activities that promote watershed protection and wise use of Earth’s resources.

DMWW is a sponsor for City of Des Moines’ 2012 Trash Bash on Friday, April 20.  This year’s event is dedicated to improving Iowa’s waterways and water quality.  Teams of volunteers will kick-off the event at Nollen Plaza, where DMWW will have an educational booth and debut the DSMH2O Mobile Water Station for visitors to fill up their reusable water bottles!  Be sure to “check-in” to DSMH2O on Foursqaure to receive a free reusable water bottle or T-shirt!  Trash Bash volunteers will then set out to pick up trash in various locations around the city, including Water Works Park.  Last year, over 1,000 volunteers removed 6,000 pounds of trash, tires and recyclables.

DMWW will have an interactive booth at the Science Center of Iowa’s Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 21 at 11:00 am.  Stop by for fun games, including fishing for pollutants! Be sure to “check-in” to DSMH2O on Foursqaure to receive a free reusable water bottle or T-shirt!

At both events, DMWW will be asking visitors to complete a Take Back the Tap pledge form, encouraging everyone to choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible, as well as support policies that promote clean, affordable tap water for all.  Complete the pledge form and submit it to Des Moines Water Works by June 15 to be entered into a drawing to win a Des Moines Water Works prize pack!

Also, plan a visit to the Des Moines Botanical Center on Sunday, April 22.  Enjoy FREE admission on Earth Day!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Conservation, Customer Service, Green Initiatives, Water Quality 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 January 17, 2012

Year in Review

From starting up our third treatment plant to educating more than 27,000 children and adults, here’s a look at the top 25 accomplishments in 2011 at Des Moines Water Works.

  1. Commissioned DMWW’s third water treatment facility, Saylorville Water Treatment Plant
  2. Responded to 300 main breaks
  3. Assisted 56,000 customers in the office and visited 42,000 customers in the field
  4. Launched Parkitecture competition for the redesign of Water Works Park
  5. Repaved roads in Water Works Park
  6. Hosted several events at Water Works Park, including HyVee Fishing Derby, Big Country Bash, weddings, charity walks, Des Moines Marathon and Jolly Holiday Lights
  7. Planted approximately 70,000 plants and flowers in Water Works Park and Fleur Drive medians
  8. Found $611,000 in process efficiencies throughout the utility
  9. Reaffirmed  our strong Aa1 bond rating by Moody’s, second from highest attainable
  10. Redesigned new website with enhanced customer features, like consumption alerts
  11. Implemented electronic checks as a new customer payment option
  12. Awarded “Public Policy Champion of the Year” from Iowa Ducks Unlimited
  13. Implemented new Geographical Information System (GIS):  DMWW’s water distribution staff is now using new GIS software that allows access of important information about the distribution system while working in the field.
  14. Established Enterprise Asset Management software:  Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) at its most basic level is a work order system.  But as an asset management software, EAM is a lot more than that.  Asset management goes beyond creating work orders and includes planning and scheduling projects, tracking assets’ conditions, and forecasting asset replacement. 
  15. Ended use of gaseous chlorine at all facilities:  All water disinfection throughout the utility (three plants and six remote locations) is now being done with liquid hypochlorite.  This effort brings a safer environment for our employees and community.
  16. Reported our greenhouse gas emissions to The Climate Registry
  17. Contributed $19,286.28 to the United Way of Central Iowa through employee donations – a record year!
  18. Reduced employees’ metabolic syndrome risk factors by 18% from 2010 to 2011
  19. Awarded two safety recognition awards
  20. Received a Proclamation from Mayor Cownie during Drinking Water Week, recognizing DMWW’s contributions to the community
  21. Assisted DMACC with a new water/waste water curriculum
  22. Received a book and dedication from Ankeny first graders illustrating the importance of clean rivers
  23. Celebrated the importance of water with over 2,000 Iowa 5th grade students at the Iowa Children’s Water Festival
  24. Reached 27,800 people through classroom presentations, tours and special events conducted by the Urban Environmental Partnership.
  25. Hosted 237 meetings/social events and 53 weddings at the Des Moines Botanical Center, including 10 weddings on 11/11/11! The Botanical Center also welcomed 255 tour groups for a total of 9,560 people
Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Botanical Center, Customer Service, Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Education, Employees, Environment, Parks, Saylorville Water Treatment Plant December 15, 2011

Des Moines’ Best Kept Dining and Shopping Secrets

Riverwalk Café
You already know to visit the Des Moines Botanical Center to enjoy the warmth from the tropical plants, but did you know the Riverwalk Café inside the Botanical Center offers a delicious and affordable lunch menu?  No admission to the Botanical Center is required to dine at the Riverwalk Café!  Enjoy sandwiches, wraps, grilled sandwiches, pasta bowls, homemade soups good for the soul, and filling salads. The house specialty, and I do mean specialty, is the steak or chicken quesadilla, you will love it! I am ready for lunch, how about you?  The kiddos will favor the chicken strips or grilled cheese sandwich, served with chips and a drink. Top off lunch with a delicious homemade cookie, a sweet slice of sour cream coconut cake or a yummy brownie. Eat in or call ahead and take it with you.  Groups of 10 or more: check out the delivery menu that includes breakfast packages, box lunches and signature tray packages. 

Garden Gate Gift Shop
With less than two weeks to buy it, wrap it and tag it, you need to get shopping today!  We invite you to visit the Botanical Center’s Garden Gate Gift Shop for unique gifts for everyone on your list. Find a splendid inventory of jewelry, books, plants and keepsakes. Surprising and fun gifts for kids and tweens, practical and meaningful gifts for mom and grandma.  Funny gifts for a coworker, friend or that compulsive University of Iowa and Iowa State fan.  Pick up a scarf or a Christmas Cactus or two – one for me, one for you!  No admission to the Botanical Center is required to shop at the Garden Gate Gift Shop!

Posted by: Pam Kline 1 Comment
Labels: , Posted in Botanical Center September 7, 2011

Fall Gardening Tips

Now is the time to start thinking about putting your garden to bed for the winter. September is an opportune time to start cleaning up beds by cutting back perennials and pulling out annuals that have quit blooming for the year.

By October, you should dig up and store tender bulbs such as dahlias, cannas, caladiums and elephant ears. You should cut off the foliage and store them in 50-65 degree temperatures until spring. Spring flowering bulbs should be purchased and planted outdoors at this time. Other plants that benefit from fall planting include evergreens, peony, phlox and bearded iris.

Before a hard freeze you should remove plants from containers, cut roses back to 18 inches and mulch, and continue cutting back plants in the garden that the frost has affected. Leaving old plants and plant debris in the garden over the winter is the best way to promote diseases in the spring, so remove them as soon as they are cut back.

Also remember, the best time to prune is after the trees and shrubs have gone dormant usually late December-February.

Posted by: Todd Monson No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks August 19, 2011

Looking for a Unique Location for Your Next Meeting?

Does your group or organization need a unique space for meetings, seminars or annual banquet?  Something different is at the Des Moines Botanical Center.  The Botanical Center offers free parking, on-site catering, several well appointed meeting rooms that are clean, well lit and can be set up to accommodate any size group… and wireless Internet in every room! Not to mention, the scenic location east of downtown and along the beautiful Riverwalk, makes the Botanical Center a very convenient and picturesque location.

Whether it’s a seminar, wedding or banquet, the Des Moines Botanical Center is the unique setting you are looking for. Call an event coordinator today at (515) 323-6290 or visit to find out more!  Take a look and book today!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Botanical Center