Jackson Basin Stormwater Pumping Station


  • Local Governments


  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Water
  • Water Resources


  • Des Moines, Iowa

The Jackson Basin Stormwater Pumping Station is the most powerful municipal pumping station in Des Moines. Located on the south levee of the Des Moines River just west of SE 14th Street, the new stormwater pumping station transfers water from a large detention basin into the Des Moines River during high water periods.

Jackson Basin is a large detention basin that receives flow from the Crawford Creek drainage area in southeast Des Moines. Crawford Creek courses through Jackson Basin and enters the Des Moines River through a flood gate structure in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levee. However, at times when the Des Moines River level is high, the gates within this structure are closed to protect the City from inundation. At such times, areas upstream from Jackson Basin have experienced flooding and property damage as water impounds within the basin. City crews have traditionally mobilized at such times to empty Jackson Basin with portable pumps, transferring the water over the levee into the river. The new stormwater pumping station automates this process, improving its responsiveness, reliability, and capacity.

The Jackson Basin Pumping Station includes three submersible propeller pumps powered by 640 horsepower motors. Each pump is capable of moving 81,000 gallons of water per minute. The station also includes automatic mechanical screens and bar racks to protect the pumps and prevent urban debris from entering the river. Emergency backup power is provided by a 2-megawatt diesel generator, which has a special enclosure to minimize noise escaping to the neighborhood.

The Jackson Basin Stormwater Pumping Station has greatly reduced impacts to people and property in the drainage area. By keeping the earthen part of Jackson Basin dry, the new pumping station also reduces threats to human health and safety, and facilitates easier maintenance of the basin. The $5.9 million project was funded in large part by a $5 million Community Development Block Grant. An extensive public relations effort was launched to keep citizens informed about the project, including door-to-door visits with residents and business owners, public meetings and articles in a neighborhood newsletter. Innovative techniques were employed during construction to hasten the structure’s completion during the winter season. The new pumping station was completed on budget and within the aggressive spring Corps of Engineers schedule requirements.

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