Water utility clients continue essential services amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Clean, safe drinking water supply and wastewater collection & treatment conducted via smart water networks

To maximize public health and safety, state and local governments have ordered residents to stay home and quarantine if they feel sick and unwell. Myriad daily routines and travel plans have been interrupted, essential water operations haven't been disrupted

Results of a survey of our North American utility clients ensure safe tap water is delivered to homes while wastewater is collected from businesses who workers fulfill essential services.

  • from New York City Dept. of Environmental Protection (@NYCwater):
    “To set the record straight, COVID-19 cannot be spread through NYC's public water supply because it is not a waterborne illness. We treat our water supply with chlorine and UV light to neutralize bacteria and viruses, making them incapable of infecting people.” Like washing hands, (disinfection) is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection.

  • San Francisco Public Utility Commission analytical lab staff members analyze water chemistry.
  • from Philadelphia Water Department (@PhillyH2O):
    “Water in Philadelphia is safe to drink and not impacted by the virus. We're taking all steps necessary to maintain safe, reliable water services in Philadelphia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual, and our labs monitor water treatment around the clock to ensure the highest quality. Tap water saves residents money, promotes health, and reduces plastic waste.”

  • from Oakland-based East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD.com):
    "EBMUD water treatment plants are designed to eliminate pathogens including viruses and bacteria. The coronavirus does not affect EBMUD's drinking water supply. All EBMUD tap water remains safe.

    Business continuity plans are in place to ensure that (EBMUD) continues to maintain drinking water quality and wastewater services. EBMUD employees are sworn civil servants and disaster workers who work around the clock, including during emergencies (when) some work cannot be delayed. Many crews are on the ground continuing to install and maintain vital infrastructure. Please maintain a safe social distance from EBMUD crews in your neighborhood... Together we will work through this and every emergency to bring you safe, clean water.

  • from Toronto-based Ontario Clean Water Agency (ocwa.com):
    "(Since March 11 our) Emergency Action Group has been meeting regularly with all Regional Managers to ensure appropriate plans are in place to help minimize the disruption to work and to continue to provide water and wastewater services to the people of Ontario. OCWA is working closely with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Ministry of Health, who continue to lead this work on behalf of the province (of Ontario).

    "OCWA is doing everything it can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure continued operation of water and wastewater facilities. A number of plans (are) in place to deal with pandemic situations, including the Agency’s Continuity of Operations Plan and other facility and corporate Emergency Response plans. In particular, the Critical Shortage of Staff Contingency Plan includes the review of critical operational needs and immediate and short-term staffing requirements. We are committed to ensuring the safety of our staff while maintaining services to our clients…

  • from Edmonton-based EPCOR (@EPCOR):
    "Emergency response and business continuity plans (BCPs), including having redundancies built into processes and staffing requirements, is critical to ensuring water utilities can protect their employees and customers, and continue operations during a pandemic. Actions in the BCP may include staggering work shifts and having qualified employees from non-essential service areas assist with essential services. As part of our BCP, we are concentrating effort and resources on critical operations, repairs, and ongoing maintenance and are suspending or delaying any non-essential work."

  • from Los Angles Dept. of Water and Power (@LADWP):
    “LADWP is taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19; protect the health and safety of our customers, employees and contractors; and ensure our core mission of delivering reliable water without interruption. Our continuity of operations plan addresses potential increased absenteeism in the workplace and keeping critical operations running with adequate staffing. The department has also implemented additional infection control measures including increasing the frequency of workplace cleaning.

    “LADWP wants to reassure our customers that the water at their tap continues to be of the highest quality and is 100-percent safe to drink. There is no threat to your public drinking water supply and no need to use bottled water. LADWP’s treatment processes are specifically designed to protect the public from all viruses and harmful bacteria. The drinking water supply undergoes proven scientific techniques and treatments before they reach our customers’ tap, including filtration, ultraviolet light and chlorine disinfection.

  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff member collects a water quality sample.
  • from San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (@SFwater):
    Protecting the quality of our drinking water means protecting the watersheds that surround our reservoirs” in Yosemite National Park as well as Alameda and San Mateo counties."

    "From collection through treatment, regular water quality testing, and distribution, our complex system and rigorous water disinfection processes ensure the efficient and reliable delivery of high quality tap water to all 2.7 million customers and consumers. Every day our expert workforce collects and tests our water. We conduct over 100,000 tests per year throughout our system to confirm that we consistently meet or exceed state and federal standards for health and regulatory requirements.

  • from Seattle Public Utilities (seattle.gov):
    "Seattle's drinking water remains safe and protected against contaminants, including COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus. The City's water is chlorinated to remove microbial contaminants, such as bacteria and viruses. The water is also treated to remove and inactivate microbial contaminants such as chlorine-resistant Cryptosporidium. Additionally, Seattle Public Utilities conducts water quality tests daily to help ensure contaminants stay out of our drinking water supply."

  • from Tacoma Public Utilities (myTPU.org):
    Tacoma Public Utilities protects habitat and sourcewater within the Green River Watershed"The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Customers can continue to drink and use tap water. There is no evidence that coronaviruses are transmitted through drinking water. Tacoma Water’s treatment methods, that use filtration and disinfection, remove and inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.

    "Supplying safe and reliable drinking water is the highest priority. Along with ensuring public health, maintaining water quality enhances quality of life, supports the region’s economy and protects natural resources. To accomplish all this, Tacoma Water exceeds federal regulations regarding the testing of its drinking water. For example, federal rules require we test the water supply for more than 80 regulated contaminants and more than 50 unregulated chemicals, even if they do not exist in our water. We also take weekly samples from throughout our water distribution system to check for bacteria and adequate chlorine levels. While the Washington State Department of Health requires us to take 150 samples per month, we routinely take more than 200.

    "Sharing research and data is another way TPU protects sourcewater quality within the Green River Watershed. The Utility's partnerships ensure data collected goes back to inform the decisions being made about the watershed."

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