The Iowa Rural Water Association recently announced that the Community of De Soto, Iowa has been named the 2013 Community of the Year. The award was announced during the Iowa Rural Water Association’s 39th Annual Conference held at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center February 24-26, 2014 in Des Moines, Iowa. This award is presented to an outstanding community who exceeds the expectations of their citizens with reliable, quality services.

Dan Van Langen, Public Works Director with the City of DeSoto, said he is very honored to be a part award.

"We feel that the progressive, forward thinking approach we take in resource management continues to helped our community both fiscally and environmentally responsibly," he said. "We are very fortunate to have the support from our Mayor and City Council members. Our hope is that this award will help give our community confidence in our city staff and leaders moving forward with future projects."

The City of DeSoto is a progressive community located west of Des Moines with the potential to expand rapidly in the near future. The goal of the city is to ensure that the growth can be controlled and handled both from the perspective of management and resources. With several large scale projects in the works, DeSoto officials understand the demands that are put upon a small municipality. The City of DeSoto has a great amount of pride in its efforts to manage the tax payer dollars and how to spend wisely, effectively and responsibly.

Over the past few years, DeSoto has implemented a number of initiatives. The city worked on a source water protection plan. Rather than completing it and putting it up on a shelf to collect dust, they actively took the next step to implement the work plan. Last year their hard work paid off when they were honored with the national AWWA Source Water Protection award for small size systems. A couple of years ago the City developed an Asset Management program. The program provided the city with valuable information that the city can use daily as well as when the yearly budget is being established.

Currently the city, not unlike several other communities in Iowa, has found themselves in a position that is forcing them to make some drastic and costly changes to the waste water facility. Being proactive with the annual budget has helped the city assume a majority of this financial impact and is hopeful that the burden remaining to the residents will be well received. The city is currently gathering data through a Moving Bed Bio Reactor pilot study for the purpose of Ammonia removal options. Construction to double the size of the existing water treatment plant for the purpose of housing pilot project equipment was complete late last year. The equipment that will be used for Reverse Osmosis with Pressure Filters has been installed and the study will begin after the electrical connections have been complete in the near future. The city anticipates the pilot project will last for approximately three months, and final design of the new treatment plant to be complete by the summer of 2014. The goal is to have the new water treatment plant online by the summer of 2016. The annual operating budget has been well maintained for several years which has allowed the City to fund the majority of this project with very little impact on their rates.

There is no doubt that the City of DeSoto will continue to set and reach goals in the common interest of the community. For their dedication and commitment to their community, the Iowa Rural Water Association was proud to present the Community of De Soto, Iowa with the 2013 Community of the Year Award.