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IPCW seeking DMWW public records

By Staff | Nov 17, 2015

DES MOINES (IPCW) – The Des Moines Water Works has yet to comply with the open records request submitted in September by Iowa Partnership for Clean Water to obtain information helpful in identifying actionable paths toward resolution of the pending lawsuit.

In a recent letter to the IPCW board, DMWW requested an unprecedented $40,000 to provide documents related to its water quality studies and decisions on nitrate removal facility operation; however, much of that information is already aggregated as part of its own due diligence for the lawsuit, according to Des Moines Water Works.

Previously, DMWW pushed to seal court documents pertaining to the case and unilaterally increased ratepayer funding of the lawsuit to $700,000.

The utility is now overtly delaying the progress of IPCW’s records request.

“We are frustrated,” said Don Kass, a Plymouth County supervisor and IPCW board member. “We have requested the documents three times and do not understand why they have not provided the information.

“As we’ve stated many times, it is crucial that DMWW, as a public entity, is transparent with the various studies and information on which this lawsuit is based.

“We’d like to review this information in order to identify alternatives to harmful litigation.”

IPCW is interested in evaluating the extent of the problem that DMWW alleges, especially given the recently announced 10 percent rate hike and nearly $500,000 retention bonus planned for Bill Stowe in 2020.”

Bill Stowe is DMWW’s chief executive officer.

“It is disappointing to see DMWW dedicating large sums of money to a CEO bonus at this time,” said Christine Hensley, Des Moines City Councilwoman and IPCW board member. “Especially after announcing a 10 percent rate increase, it would be nice to see investments in new infrastructure, which would make real progress toward the improvement of water quality.”

IPCW strongly believes that a lawsuit is not the right path forward.

It is in the interest of all Iowans to identify and examine alternative solutions, including a plan for a regional water system and collaborating with rural and urban Iowans to improve water quality.

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