Posts Tagged ‘Employees’

November 5, 2012

Safety at Des Moines Water Works

A reliable supply of clean, healthy water to your home or business requires a lot of things and one of the most critical is Des Moines Water Works employees.  Healthy, safe workers are paramount to delivering water you can trust for life.

Des Moines Water Works has many layers of safety to protect employees as well as the public.  For example, Des Moines Water Works has a fleet of nearly 100 vehicles, so driving safety is paramount to employees as well as the public.  When you’re on Fleur Drive, downtown, a major street or residential area, watch for orange signs and cones.  They aren’t just placed there for your inconvenience.  They protect Water Works employees while working and protect the public while driving.  Water Works employees go through regular training to know federal requirements on the proper set up of these temporary traffic control situations.

Other steps taken to protect employees includes an employee safety committee, regular safety training, safety inspections and observations, accident investigations and having safety rules, policies and programs in place.  Employees receive training and reminders about driving safely from supervisors, the Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and the National Safety Council.  Employees also wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when needed.

Just like all Des Moines Water employees, buckle up, scan for hazards, and watch your speed.  Safety is everybody’s business!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customers, Employees October 29, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Water Treatment Operator

At Des Moines Water Works, Process Control Operators are essential to providing safe and reliable drinking water to 500,000 customers throughout central Iowa. It isn’t just a job. It matters. Like police officers, fire fighters, and other emergency personal that work to keep our cities safe, water treatment operators are needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure public health in central Iowa.

Please view this short video to learn more about Process Control Operators at Des Moines Water Works.

There are many career opportunities available in water treatment. With some education and experience, an individual can earn their water treatment licenses enabling them to climb the career ladder. If you think you would enjoy a career in water, DMACC offers a Water Environmental Technology program that provides the skills and ability to become a water treatment operator.  For more information, visit

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees October 1, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Water Production Laborer

Meet Joe.  Joe is a Water Production Laborer for Des Moines Water Works.  He says a day in the life of a water production laborer is anything but boring.

From fall to spring, you will find Joe and other laborers in the underground water basins.  Here, he drains the four million gallons of water each basin holds and hoses down everything so that it is clean to work in.  He then makes any necessary repairs and continues with preventive maintenance after that.  The basin crew then fills it back up with water and move on to the next basin.

In the late spring and summer months, Joe is out of the basins for the season.  Water production laborers then assist maintenance mechanics and utility mechanics on many different projects at all the different sites Des Moines Water Works manages.  This can be quite diverse.  One day you may be hanging from a crane hook lowered 30 feet underground and the next day you could be helping install new sleeves and bearings on a 21,000 GPM pump.  Along with variety of task, the position also requires working at various sites, such as the Fleur Drive, L.D. McMullen or Saylorville Water Treatment Plants.

Joe says, “I am able to do a multitude of different things at many different sites around the Des Moines metro area.   Being a Water Production Laborer has also provided me with the opportunity to learn new skills.  That is why I have enjoyed my career in water at Des Moines Water Works.”

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees September 24, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Control Center Operator

Des Moines Water Works has been providing safe drinking water to Des Moines since 1871. Today, Des Moines Water Works serves approximately 500,000 people throughout the Des Moines metro area. Few people realize the importance of providing citizens with safe and reliable drinking water. Like police officers, fire fighters, and other emergency personal that work to keep our cities safe, proper water operators are needed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to ensure public health in central Iowa.

At Des Moines Water Works, there is a Control Center Operator always on duty managing the treatment of the water at all three of Des Moines Water Works’ treatment plants. They also monitor and control the distribution system, which includes 10 pumping stations, 12 booster stations, and 25 water towers throughout the Des Moines metro area.

Depending on the time of day, the priorities of the operator varies. Operators that work the day shift perform numerous processes for cleaning water and replenishing the distribution system.  The evening shift operator’s goal is to monitor the distribution system to keep it regulated. The overnight operator focuses on refilling the water towers for the morning rush.

The peak demand for water is usually Monday-Friday from 5:00 am to 10:00 am. The demand will then pick back up during the evening when people get home from work. During the summer, the demand is also high towards the end of the evening when businesses and homeowners typically irrigate lawns. It is important to keep water storage facilities filled for optimal water pressure throughout the distribution system and for use during fire fighting.

The day shift operator also manages chemical deliveries at three treatment plants, which is done remotely from the control center at the Fleur Drive Treatment Plant. There may also be requests from other utility employees related to maintenance of the treatment plants. The overnight shift operator’s responsibility is to prepare the treatment plants for the next day, such as updating all of the logs.

To handle all that needs to be taken care of, Control Center Operators must be able to prioritize all of the requests and duties that they face each shift. They must be able to multitask and handle an emergency in a calm manor.  Each shift is different than the one before, but Des Moines Water Works Control Center Operators understand that their role is vital to the health of residents of Des Moines and surrounding areas.

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees September 3, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Water Works Park Police Officer

Meet Dean.  Dean is a Des Moines Water Works Park Police Officer and has been helping visitors of Water Works Park for over six years.  Park Police Officers keep Water Works Park safe for patrons and address any questions or concerns that visitors may have. But that isn’t all that they do.

The officers also provide security for the park at Maffitt Reservoir and other Des Moines Water Works facilities – including water towers and storage facilities located throughout the Des Moines metro area. They also respond to alarms or suspicious activity that may occur at Des Moines Water Works operated facilities.

Many organizations – Make-a-Wish Foundation’s Jolly Holiday Lights and HyVee Fishing Derby, to name a few – hold their events at Water Works Park, and the Park Officers assist with making each event safe and successful.

Des Moines Water Works Park Officers have been employed as police officers, so they are able to respond and provide assistance to incidents that may occur, such as assaults, car chases, lost people and pets. Citizens can also contact a Park Officer about a complaint or suspicious activity at a Des Moines Water Works facility or property.

Dean sees a lot of traffic – walkers/joggers, cars and bus tours – at Water Works Park during the spring, especially the weeks of the annual crabapple bloom in the Arie den Boer Arboretum.  He also enjoys seeing the horseback riders on the bridle trail – a unique sight to see inside the city, as well as the many personal events, like wedding ceremonies and family reunions.

Water Works Park hours are 6:00 am-10:00 pm. Maffitt Reservoir Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). For a complete list of park rules and regulations, visit

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, Parks August 27, 2012

A Day in the Life of: Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative

Meet Shelly.  Shelly is a Customer Service Representative at Des Moines Water Works and has been helping customers for over five years.  Shelly begins taking customers calls at 7:30 am.  Monday mornings and the day after a holiday are usually the busiest days.  Once, during a busy day, she took 100 calls by 10:30 am.  Usually, she takes about 100 calls a day.

Shelly also takes care of customer requests that come via Des Moines Water Works’ website. These requests are for starting, stopping and transfer of service.  Requests also come in for changes to a customer’s account information.  These requests tend to be heavier towards the beginning of the month.

Shelly, along with other Customer Service Representatives, also assist customers who come to Des Moines Water Works in person for assistance.  They may be coming in to bring in vouchers to assist with payment of their bill or to set up pay arrangements.

Shelly enjoys her job because she is able to talk to many people and no two calls are ever the same.  Shelly says, “Every job is important at Des Moines Water Works, but the Customer Service department is the place that customers go to for answers and if I do not give them the correct information, then I am not doing my job.”  Shelly also knows that she may be the only contact that a customer may have with Des Moines Water Works, so she tries to deliver the highest quality of service possible.

Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7:30 am-5:30 pm, at (515) 283-8700 or in person at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines, Iowa.

Posted by: Terilee H. Clark 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Employees March 15, 2012

New Technology Brings Improved Efficiency

Twenty years ago, Des Moines Water Works’ maintenance crews relied on paper maps, three-ring-binders, and thousands of index cards to track the location and maintenance history for every pipe, valve, and fire hydrant in the Des Moines water system.  When information was needed regarding a specific item, crews would call the dispatch center, wait while the dispatcher looked in the files for the information, and then take notes as the dispatcher read information over the radio.  The process worked, but it took time and there was the opportunity for errors in translation.

Today, all of Des Moines Water Works’ maintenance vehicles are equipped with an onboard computerized Geographic Information System (GIS).  This system, which uses ESRI geo-database software, provides even more information than was available from the historic files, provides that information without the need to wait or communicate over the radio, and provides it in a graphical format which is much easier to read and understand.

Personnel in the field now have access to detailed information on every valve or fire hydrant in the system including location, date of installation, manufacturer, depth, most recent date of operation, operational concerns, etc.  Information is also available related to water main failures, pipe fittings and alterations, and other features which are buried below ground.  Right-of-way lines, property lines, and building footprints are also shown for all properties in the city.

The GIS system is also GPS-enabled which allows crews to find their current location within the mapping system with the click of a button.  Having this information available at their fingertips helps Des Moines Water Works’ crews work more efficiently.

Posted by: Ted Corrigan 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, Infrastructure October 18, 2011

Employment Longevity Speaks Highly of DMWW

The average tenure of Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) employees is 15 years.  While that number is definitely something to brag about, an even more impressive statistic is the significant number of employees who have spent the bulk of their careers working for the water utility: 

    • 42 employees have over 25 years of service
    • 17 employees have over 30 years of service
    • 4 employees have over 35 years of service

    And one employee has worked for DMWW for 41 years!  Joann Elrod plans to retire from her position as Customer Service Coordinator this December.  She started working for the utility in 1970 as a file clerk, then a cashier, and has excelled in several other positions, the majority of them being customer service related. 

What has kept Joann at DMWW for over 40 years?  She said it’s the great people she works with and the fact that she has always enjoyed the work she does, noting that there hasn’t been a day where she didn’t learn something new.  She also attributes her employment longevity to the company’s size (approximately 210 employees) where she doesn’t feel like she’s a number.  

Within the next 10 years, 67% of Des Moines Water Works employees will be eligible to retire.  Plans are underway to capture all of this knowledge before it walks out the door.

Are you interested in a career in water?  Des Moines Area Community College began a new water/wastewater curriculum.

Posted by: Pat Ripley 4 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Employees March 28, 2011

Wellness @ Work

DMWW recently had the opportunity to attend the Physical Activity Training Summit sponsored by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) Now why would we want to go to training about physical activity?  Consider this quote from Dr. David Hunnicut, President of WELCOA. “Physical Activity is medicine.  If sold as a pill, it would be the single-most effective medicine available.  It’s as close to a silver bullet as anything we have.” He went on to say that by walking 30 to 45 minutes on most days, we can delay the onset of disability 10 – 12 years. 

According to the American Heart Association, we gain two hours of life expectancy for every one hour of vigorous exercise, like brisk walking  Why wouldn’t we jump on this bandwagon?  For many, it is lack of time or inconvenience.  As an employer, DMWW is committed to the health of its workforce and we want to make it easy.  DMWW’s employee health team encourages fellow employees to engage in physical activity, inlcluding the following:

  1. Loaner bikes:  hop on one of the loaner bikes to travel to a meeting in another building or take a ride in Water Works Park during lunch break.
  2. Wellness Walks:  walk 500,000 steps in 75 days and win prizes and a healthy lunch in an incentive contest.
  3. Garden work-out:  keep moving by planting and caring for flowers and veggies in the DMWW employee garden plot.  Those veggies give healthy eating a boost too!
  4. 100 hour challenge:  exercise for 100 hours and earn points in an incentive contest.
  5. Community events:  participate in five community sponsored races, runs, or walks – like the upcoming Grand Blue Mile:  and receive a DMWW high-quality moisture-wicking technical logo shirt. 

We know it takes only 30 seconds of exercise before the health benefits begin.  Small adjustments can lead to big changes.  We just need to get moving! What are your ideas for keeping employees physically active?   Do you need motiviation to start?  It’s National Start! Walking Day on April 6, 2011!  For a free toolkit, go to:

Posted by: Dorenda Walters No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees