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COVID-19 Resources

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacting communities throughout the world, water professionals are working around the clock to ensure that safe, reliable water service continues to flow.

 According to a recent AWWA member survey, absenteeism and continuity of operations are major areas of expected challenges from COVID-19 for water utilities. Other concerns include impacts on field operations and interruptions of treatment chemical supply chains.  Check out the information on this page by clicking the links below.

Links to Other Organizations Who Can Help

Resources

Public Water System Operational Considerations

Webcasts

AWWA will be producing two new webinars on COVID-19. You can find more information and register for the webinars below:

April 3: Be a Trusted Source: How to Handle Communication Challenges During COVID-19

April 6: Legal Aspects of COVID-19 for Water Utilities

Please note: If this webinar is not essential to your job function, we do request that you consider viewing the archive video instead of the live webinar as capacity may become an issue. All registrants will receive the link to view the archive later that same day. Please register using the link and you will receive archive instructions after the webinar. We appreciate your understanding in this situation.

The Intermountain Section will be delivering two webcasts in April related to COVID-19.  Stay tuned for dates and times.

Strategies to Maintain Essential Operations during COVID-19 - Presented by Jacob Young of Brown and Caldwell
Safety and Security during these Difficult Times - Presented by Jeff King and Jeff Betton of Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District


Links to Other Organizations

Utah DEQ, Division of Drinking Water

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is limiting person-to-person contact. Please contact DEQ by telephone or email to conduct business and schedule meetings.

During Normal Working Hours: (801) 536-4200

DEQ Environmental Incidents: (801) 536-4123

After Hours Emergencies: (801) 560-8456 (for water operators, local health officials, laboratory operators)

Drinking Water Contacts: https://deq.utah.gov/drinking-water/division-drinking-water-contacts

Utah DEQ, Division of Water Quality

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is limiting person-to-person contact. Please contact DEQ by telephone or email to conduct business and schedule meetings.

Phone: (801) 536-4300

24-hour Environmental Incidents: (801) 536-4123

Water Quality Contact:  https://deq.utah.gov/water-quality/division-of-water-quality-contacts

Idaho DEQ, Water Quality Division

1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0502

Website with Contacts:  https://www.deq.idaho.gov/water-quality/

USEPA
www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-wastewater
 

Center for Disease Control
www.cdc.gov
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers

www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html

Utah Water & Wastewater Agency Response Network (UTWARN)

http://www.utwarn.org/

Idaho Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (IdWARN)

https://www.idwarn.org/

 

Resources

AWWA Resources

AWWA Coronavirus Resource -https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resource-Topics/Coronaviruspage

 AWWA Connections - COVID-19 response: water sector preparation, vigilance crucial https://www.awwa.org/AWWA-Articles/covid-19-response-water-sector-preparation-vigilance-crucial

Public Affairs Advisory - Coronavirus and water https://www.awwa.org/AWWA-Articles/coronavirus-and-water

Journal AWWA - Water system preparedness and best practices for pandemic influenza https://awwa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/j.1551-8833.2009.tb09822.x?_ga=2.35841380.516195068.1582657150-2099212432.1578340391 , Philip Van Atta & Robert Newsad

Link to webinar recording from AWWA (added 3/22/20)

G440-17 Emergency Preparedness - https://www.awwa.org/store/Product-Details/productId/62471757Practices

M19 Emergency Planning for Water and Wastewater Utilities - https://www.awwa.org/Store/M19-Emergency-Planning-for-Water-and-Wastewater-Utilities-Fifth-Edition/ProductDetail/38151377 

Other Resources

Template - Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce Letter

Strategies to maintain essential operations during COVID-19 - Provided by Brown and Caldwell

Public Water System Operational Considerations

During the COVID-19 Pandemic

(*thanks to our friends at the Ohio Section AWWA for sharing this resource)

 

Foundation:  Public Water Systems are essential to the health and safety of the community.  We must continue to operate even in the face of a potential crisis.

 

Items for consideration during this time:

  1. Consider the essential functions of the PWS.
    1. Treating and supplying adequate sources of potable water.
    2. Delivering that water to the end users.
  2. The number one concern during this pandemic is maintaining adequate staffing levels of critical personnel, such as water treatment plant operators, distribution system crew repair persons, and maintenance staff.
    1. Be prepared to operate with significantly reduced staffing levels.
    2. What steps can be taken to ensure adequate staffing:
      1. Practice Social Distancing at work and at home- Limit interactions between staff so that a single sick individual does not infect other employees.
      2. Make sure sick employees stay home or are sent home.
      3. Be prepared to isolate critical staff at the facilities for multiple days at a time.
      4. Split up staffing and keep individuals home on paid, on-call leave while others work and then switch. Or stagger start times to avoid crowding.
      5. Consider who could support operations if needed such as supervisors; former employees who now work in other classifications; recently retired employees; contractors.
      6. Review and update SOP’s for critical functions so that substitute employees can perform these tasks if called upon.
      7. Of course, proper hand washing practices and additional cleaning of facilities.
    3. In case of further government directives that restricts travel locally, or regionally, make sure your employees have the proper ID’s, or credentials, to be able to respond to work, or emergency situations, involving our vital public service.
    4. Have a backup laboratory in place for regulatory sampling analysis, in case your laboratory of choice becomes unavailable.
      1. Reduce your sample collector's exposure to the public during compliance sampling, where able.  Provide PPE.
    5. Eliminate public/staff interfaces such as front desks, lobbies or bill paying windows where able. Most if not all functions can still be accomplished by phone, online, or via mail.
    6. Cancel group meetings and instead delay or meet remotely by teleconference or other.
  3. The second item of concern is potential interruption of the normal supply chain for critical chemicals and repair parts.
    1. Make sure that critical treatment chemicals are fully stocked. Don’t allow these supplies to get too low as there is a very real chance that normal supply chains could be hampered or delayed.
    2. Make sure fundamental repair parts are fully stocked. Items such as lengths of replacement pipe, pipe repair clamps, sleeves, valves, etc. Make sure equipment is in good repair and ready to go.
  4. For those with SCADA automation, set up and test remote monitoring and control of water treatment plants.
  5. Do NOT rely on cell phones for communication. Regional emergencies overload wireless systems and cell phone communication during these times is sporadic or non-existent. Instead utilize radio and land-line communication systems.
  6. Many utilities only have a single financial person on staff to enter purchase orders and pay bills. Make sure a second individual is prepared to take over in an emergency. They need to at least be able to pay the power bills and order basic supplies.
  7. Water Shut-Offsfor delinquent payments are being suspended and water service restored across the state. During this crisis it’s important for customers to have access to water for washing, hydration, and other fundamental health needs.
  8. Ensure your lines of communication are open between your utility and your local first-responders.Know who to call. Confirm you will be involved in your local Emergency Operations Center when necessary.
  9. Contact Hour Training: Many of the normal sources of training have been temporarily suspended. Consider how certified personnel may obtain required contact hours by remote or in-house training.
  10. Water Sampling- Understand that the Division of Drinking Water and/or Idaho DEQ does not have the authority to waive sampling requirements or any other regulatory requirements related to the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

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