How Water Utilities Can Reassure Their Customers
Water utility owners and operators are among the best-prepared public institutions in coping with emergencies. But as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies, utilities are being challenged to ensure the continuity of their operations while also reassuring their customers about the safety and reliability of their water supply.
Because of the requirements under the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, many Water Utilities have already started updating their emergency response plans. Freese and Nichols has regional experts who can assist you with these requirements.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control, other public health departments and water professionals’ networks have been disseminating an array of information about water safety.
According to the EPA, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water supplies and Americans can continue using their tap as usual. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. EPA also has issued an expanded list of disinfectants that can be used against the virus.
Here are some steps utility operators can take to stay updated on the situation and keep their customers informed:
- Attend a free webinar March 20 at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. MT/noon-1:30 p.m. CT/1-2:30 p.m. ET on “Utility Actions to Sustain Operations During COVID-19.” It’s sponsored by the American Water Works Association. AWWA also maintains a page with coronavirus resources.
- Monitor the EPA Coronavirus page for new information.
- Guidance on the impact to water supplies also is being provided by the CDC, OSHA and the World Health Organization.
- Use the CDC’s Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox if you have to issue a public advisory about your water supply.
For questions about AWIA and emergency response plans, please contact one of our regional representatives:
- Florida: Craig Wells, Craig.Wells@freese.com, 813-344-2503
- Georgia: Paula Feldman, Paula.Feldman@freese.com, 470-481-6775
- Louisiana: Nina Reins, Nina.Reins@freese.com, 504-209-7578
- New Mexico: Karen Perez, Karen.Perez@freese.com, 575-312-2298
- North Carolina: Brian White, Brian.White@freese.com, 984-201-6614
- Oklahoma: Wick Warden, Wick.Warden@freese.com, 539-302-2706
- Texas: Trey Shanks, TS@freese.com, 214-217-2221