Posts Tagged ‘Polk County’

January 17, 2019

DMWW Calls on (Old and New) Friends for Telemetry Assistance

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) in some situations uses secured radio telemetry to send information from remote sites to the Control Center. This information is used to monitor various attributes of remote sites so staff can be alerted to any problems and ensure systems are running optimally.

In recent months, DMWW experienced periodic and sometimes total failure of the radio system that communicates to several facilities and water tower sites.

DMWW employees worked diligently for some time to try to remedy the issue. When no solution could be found, staff reached out to radio sales representatives and technical resources to assist with the problem. In addition, Des Moines Police (DMPD) radio department, Polk County Emergency Management, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were also contacted to help find the interference.

That’s when a relatively unknown volunteer group, Polk County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, was brought in for assistance.

The mission of Polk County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is to provide emergency radio communications for Polk County and surrounding communities when officially activated by an authorized agency. ARES is comprised of 76 volunteers and is governed by the FCC Code of Federal Regulations. An FCC requirement for maintaining radio spectrum for amateur radio is providing service to the public.

“The primary focus of our communications efforts are surrounding emergency response – specifically to augment public service communications capabilities for the various jurisdictions within Polk County,” said Scott Kirstein, Emergency Coordinator, Polk County ARES. “Fortunately, Polk County is pretty well equipped and has considerable resources to utilize for most emergencies, so we are not needed very often for the real thing; however, we do provide routine support for community events, like the Des Moines Marathon, Living History Farms Race, Fight for Air Climb, to name a few.”

A total of eight operators from Polk County ARES assembled to track down the signal interference plaguing DMWW over the course of about three weeks. DMWW, DMPD radio department, and the FCC continued to assist during the workday, while the amateur volunteers worked the late shift.

A Polk County ARES volunteer working to isolate the source of the signal in Downtown Des Moines.

After a process of elimination (finding out for sure what was not causing the interference, to determine where it could be), the volunteer group
pinpointed the signal to defunct equipment on top of a downtown Des Moines building that was causing the unintentional interference. The team contacted the owner of the license associated with the equipment and got permission to disable it, and DMWW confirmed the signal interference was gone.

Collectively, the Polk County ARES volunteer team spent approximately 70 hours to assist DMWW.

“We are just a handful of folks who are willing to help out if we can. We heard of a need, thought maybe we could help, and caught a couple of breaks to solve a problem,” said Scott Kirstein.

After the experience, DMWW has a more robust radio system with encryption and a stronger relationship with several entities who can assist if a similar problem happens in the future.

Thank you to DMPD, Polk County, FCC, and the volunteer amateur radio group in locating the signal interference and working to find solutions for DMWW’s communications systems, which are a vital element in our work to deliver safe drinking water to 500,000 central Iowa customers.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customer Service, Infrastructure January 15, 2013

Welcome New DMWW Customers

Untitled-1Effective January 1, 2013, Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) began providing total service to approximately 465 Polk County Rural Water District #1 customers. DMWW will perform the activities of meter reading, billing, payment processing and general customer service. In addition, DMWW will begin maintaining water distribution system and providing field customer service, including water sampling, leak detection, locate services, meter repair and replacement, meter reading equipment repair and replacement, service termination, and service turn-on. DMWW welcomes its new service customers and is proud to deliver water you can trust for life.

Posted by: Amy Kahler No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers October 14, 2011

Polk County Snapshot: Volunteer Monitoring Event to Evaluate Water Quality in Polk County

The Des Moines Chapter of Izaak Walton League will coordinate the 2011 fall Polk County Snapshot event. Partners for the Snapshot include the Izaak Walton League, Iowa Environmental Council, State Hygienic Laboratory and Des Moines Water Works. Volunteers do not need experience to participate. Sampling is done in groups of two to four people, and we try to make sure at least one experienced volunteer (someone who is a trained by IOWATER or has done the snapshot before) is with each group. 

Water monitoring of Polk County rivers, streams, ponds and lakes is conducted in the spring and fall.  In sampling events held the past 7 years, volunteers helped collect water samples at over 70 sites throughout the county.  For safety reasons, it is required that there is a minimum of 2 people per team.  Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. 

Volunteers should register with Mike Delaney at [email protected] or (515) 339-0438.

Volunteers will meet at the Izaak Walton League, 4343 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines, IA to get their site assignments, sampling gear and instructions. 

What is a snapshot?  A snapshot is a view of water quality within a short time frame. It involves sampling the water in a specific location from your local creek, stream, river or lake. Most snapshots usually require about six hours.

Who participates?  Anyone can participate… teachers, students, city and county employees, concerned community members, clubs and other group organizations… both young and seasoned volunteers alike! Anyone with an interest in water quality in Central Iowa is encouraged to get involved.

Why are Snapshots conducted?  To learn more about the quality of our source waters and ways we can help improve them.

What do you find in a snapshot?  Results have shown that most streams in the metro area are impaired with pollutants from agricultural operations, urban runoff and human wastewater. Nearly all metro streams contain numbers of disease-causing E. coli bacteria, nitrate and phosphorus at levels well beyond the safe standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

How can I get involved?  It’s easy! Just contact Mike Delaney at [email protected] or (515) 339-0438.

Posted by: Linda Kinman No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Water Quality