Des Moines' $50M water nitrate fix-it plan
Des Moines Water Works is considering a $50+ million plan to build wells north of the metro to help remediate struggles with high nitrates, CEO Ted Corrigan tells Axios.
Why it matters: The project would be a big investment that could influence future water rates and help reduce the utility's operation costs.
Catch up fast: Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds that can be harmful when excessive in drinking water. .
- Fertilizers, wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are common water nitrate contributors.
Zoom in: DSM Water Works operates its nitrate removal facility when levels are high, which can cost upwards of $10,000 a day to operate.
- The facility ran 405 days in the last 10 years, costing nearly $5 million, according to utility data requested by Axios.
What they're saying: Water Works has for years recognized the need for additional nitrate removal capacity as the utility grows, Corrigan said.
- Radial collector wells, which use a natural filtration process, could offer a long-term and efficient solution for up to 25 million gallons of water a day, Corrigan said.
- The wells would simultaneously help the utility avoid growing problems with algae blooms.
What's next: The project has been added to the utility's overall $362 million five-year capital improvement plan but its review is ongoing.
- If plans move forward, the wells would likely be constructed on public land along the DSM river and with cooperation of the Army Corps of Engineers, Corrigan said.
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