DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines city council is giving the Blank Park Zoo some help with a hefty water bill.
As part of the measure approved Monday night, the zoo will begin paying for five-percent of the water it uses beginning on July 1st. That will increase to 20-percent by 2022 and that’s where it will be capped.
The city will pay the remainder unless a deal can be worked out with Des Moines Water Works.
The zoo is owned by the city but has been operated by a non-profit foundation since 2003.
Des Moines Water Works says the zoo should have started paying for water service when the foundation took over.
However, Water Works only requested $74,000 for water used last year and for the zoo to begin paying for the water it uses, going forward.
DES MOINES, Iowa — On Monday the Des Moines City Council will vote on a preliminary agreement to deal with the Blank Park Zoo’s outstanding $1 million water bill.
Back in March, Des Moines Water Works announced that the zoo, which used to qualify for free water more than 15 years ago, was no longer eligible to receive the discount and hadn’t been since 2003. That left an almost $1 million water bill unpaid. Water Works says they are not looking for back pay and now the city is stepping in the fill the gap.
The city council is looking at a plan in which the zoo will pay 20 percent of their water by 2023. However, it is the remaining 80 percent that is proving the be sticking point. City Councilman Joe Gatto wants Water Works to foot the bill or else it would fall to taxpayers. He says that because the city owns the zoo, they should get free or discounted water just like any other city building and that the cost is nothing compare to what the zoo offers.
“We’re talking less than a nickel. For the rate payers to pick that up for a regional attraction like the Blank Park Zoo I think is more than fair,” said Gatto.
He says the next step is to get Des Moines Water Works and the Iowa Utility Board in agreement.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Monday is Earth Day, and to celebrate, Des Moines Water Works made some history.
The facility along the Raccoon River now has what they call a revolutionary piece of equipment. It has also launched a new initiative to clean up Iowa’s waterways by asking Iowans to remember two words: “think downstream.”
“We believe that now is the time to create a vision for Iowa as a clean water state. That can be done if we all think downstream. If we all look at our practices and our activities and think of how they impact the quality of the surface waters here in the state of Iowa,” said Des Moines Water Works Interim Director Ted Corrigan.
“Think downstream” led to a major change in how Water Works disposes of waste. For 27 years, the utility has been removing nitrates from drinking water, then releasing those nitrates back downstream away from our water system. But a new multi-million dollar pumping station will now remove and store those nitrates, then transfer them to the metro’s waste treatment plant to be recycled.
Community leaders say it will clean up water downstream from Des Moines. They just hope people upstream will do the same.
“Hopefully we’re setting an example. We can work as a team. We’re all Iowans. We’re all in this together,” said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.
Water Works points out nitrate levels in our rivers continue to climb, as does the amount of nitrates dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.