Des Moines Water Works Company History Timeline

1867
Allen had built Terrace Hill in 1867.
1870
States enacted laws in the 1870 s that allowed farmers and landowners to organize and create drainage districts.
1871
In 1871, Frederic Hubbell and his law partner, Jefferson S. Polk, organized the Des Moines Water Company.
1873
In 1873, Allen purchased a bank in Chicago and moved there, but he couldn t save the bank and went bankrupt.
1880
The company passed to Polk Hubbell, and in 1880 to a joint-stock company, where a stockholder-elected board of five directors appointed a president, secretary, and one member, with the exclusive rights to operate the company for 40 years.
1891
In 1891, the first water tower was constructed on 17th Street, between Center and Crocker.
1897
In 1897, the newspaper and City Council launched a vigorous attack on water quality so they could get the company s asking price down.
1898
In 1898, the City said they would purchase the company, but the people voted it down.
1899
On July 8, 1899 an election was held to approve the formation of Valley Junction s first public water supply.
1902
In 1902, a new water gallery was begun out of large concrete rings 5 feet in diameter and 2 feet long, held slightly apart to allow water seeping in.
1910
In 1910, construction of ponds in the park began to augment the water supply.
1911
In 1911, the vote passed, but Denman wouldn't sell at the price.
1912
In 1912, a laboratory was started with a chemist, a bacteriologist, and an assistant.
1913
For various reasons, the utility faltered and another election was held in 1913 to establish the Valley Junction Water Works.
1914
The vote to purchase in 1914 was favorable, but the vote to issue bonds didn t pass.
1915
Shortly after the election, in 1915, a three-member Board of Trustees was formed to oversee operation of the utility.
1918
The vote to issue bonds did not pass until November 1918, and at that unfavorable time for the bond market, the city could not sell enough bonds, and sued for an extension of time.
In 1918, a permanent pumping station was built on the park grounds to pump water from the river into these ponds.
1919
Finally in 1919, the City purchased the water company.
In 1919, Des Moines Water Works DMWW was formed as a public utility under a new Code of Iowa, Section 388.
1920
Construction of a new pumping station at its present site began in 1920.
Roughly 99 million acres are under a drainage district with nearly 60 percent of it organized before 1920.
1928
Seven thousand plantings of trees and shrubs were made yearly from seedlings grown in the greenhouse under the care of Arie den Boer he joined DMWW in 1928 , who also introduced several hundred varieties of crabapple trees and won many awards for his work in horticulture.
In 1928, Denman recommended adding a softening plant to save customers money spent on soap and wear and tear on clothes.
1929
In 1929, construction of the Hazen water tower on Hickman began.
1931
In 1931, scientists started realizing the benefit fluoride plays in preventing tooth decay.
1948
In 1948, the first water rate increase in 50 years occurred.
1950
An election in 1950 authorized forming a three-member Board of Trustees to provide oversight and direction to the utility.
In 1950, levees around the Fleur Drive treatment plant were built.
1953
In 1953, West Des Moines constructed a water treatment plant.
1955
In 1955, the Nollen Standpipe at 26th and Hull and the Wilchinski Standpipe at SE 9th and Pleasant View Drive were built.
1957
In 1957, Iowa Light and Power installed a substation at DMWW and electric motors and pumps began to be used ending steam power.
1959
In 1959, DMWW started fluoridating its water at the request of the city council.
1971
Hubbell and Polk bought most of Allen s assets with Hubbell buying Terrace Hill which remained in the Hubbell family until it was given to the state in 1971 . Augustus Denman became the general manager.
1973
In 1973, this standpipe, near Sears at Merle Hay Mall, was named Tenny.
1985
In 1985, an office building was built.
1992
In 1992, the eight tanks of a nitrate removal facility were built.
1993
In 1993, the Raccoon River crested at a record 14.7 feet above flood stage, forcing the Fleur Drive treatment plant to be shut down and residents were without any water service for 11 days, and non-potable water for 18 days.
1994
In 1994, the offices were remodeled after the flood.
1998
In 1998, ground was broken for a new treatment plant, called the Maffitt Treatment Plant.
2000
In May of 2000, the Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Lake, a 25 mgd facility, began operation using five radial collector wells for its main water source, but also drawing from Maffitt Reservoir for additional water resources.
2003
In August 2003, a monthly pump record was set at 2,262.82 million gallons.
2006
On June 6, 2006, groundbreaking occurred for the Saylorville Water Treatment Plant, DMWW s third treatment plant located in the 6500 block of NW 26th Street in Polk County.
On June 7, 2006, a daily pumpage record of 90.19 mg was set.
2007
In 2007, the Board of Water Works Trustees renamed the Maffitt Treatment Plant to the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant.
2008
With his long, silver hair and resemblance to the actor Russell Crowe, Stowe garnered a cult-like fascination as public works director for his calm demeanor throughout each snow season and in 2008, when Des Moines dealt with historic flooding.
2011
In April 2011, the official start-up of the Saylorville Water Treatment Plant occurred.
2012
In July 2012, a new monthly record for pumpage was set 2,544.12 million gallons.
He was Des Moines' public works director for 13 years before taking the helm of the water utility in 2012.
2013
Even the Iowa Soybean Association has conceded, that more ways to finance the 2013 Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy plan cutting the nitrogen and phosphorus by 45 percent need to be found in light of the problem in the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.
2014
In July, the water utility reported that it spent more than 1.5 million since December 2014 to remove nitrates from the drinking water it supplies to 500,000 customers.
2015
In March 2015, Des Moines Water Works DMWW filed a lawsuit against three Iowa drainage districts because of nitrate problems in Des Moines drinking water supplies.
Founded
1919
Company Founded
Headquarters
Des Moines, IA
Company Headquarter
Founders
Jefferson Polk,B. F. Allen,Frederic Hubbell
Company Founders

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