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COVID-19, Drinking Water and Wastewater: Health and Safety References

 

NRWA - Special Report

 

Coronavirus Update
(Added 4/2/2020)

As we endure another week of the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to recognize and thank each of the men and women working every day to ensure our water continues to flow and waste treatment systems continue to operate, while protecting our source waters and the environment. These services are essential to maintain public health, essential to protect the environment and essential to mitigate and eliminate the threat of this virus on our American communities and families. For all these reasons, each individual operating and working in these systems is considered essential to carry out these critical services during this emergency. 

Systems of all sizes have taken necessary steps to ensure continuity of service and to protect the industry workforce. State Rural Water Associations have developed a listing of 2,786 retired or otherwise qualified operations specialists to support systems if critical, local utility staff are unable to perform their duties due to the virus. State and federal agencies continue to adjust as the pandemic evolves including extending operator certification deadlines and allowing flexibilities in the regulatory area.   

At this point, the financial impact of this virus is resonating throughout the industry across rural America. NRWA anticipates congressional actions in the near future that could include infrastructure funding, and your association will advocate for provisions that will address rural utilities that have been financially impacted from this pandemic. We have heard your voices and concerns and are responding accordingly. 

Utilities should continue to monitor and update the financial impact on their historic revenue streams as the consequences of this virus continue to evolve. The impact is compounded by several moving factors including businesses that have closed or temporarily shut down; the downturn in the economy; resulting in increased unemployment and lower return on investments. As a result, systems will likely see more late or non-payment for residential services soon. As systems assess this financial impact, if necessary, they should start discussions with their State Rural Development office and other lending institutions regarding what assistance or servicing actions are available to them at this time. Your State Rural Water Association has the resources and expertise to assist in this effort. This assistance can be rendered remotely, maintaining the recommended social distancing guidelines.

Overcoming these challenges in the months ahead will require a common goal of ensuring the continuation of these essential services to the public. It will require patience, perseverance and understanding by all. Your State Rural Water Association has the staff expertise and experience to assist your system and jointly take on these challenges. 

This long- term trusted partnership with each of you, including our federal, state and local leaders, will ensure that rural America will get through this crisis together. As our nation continues to deal with the pandemic, we thank each and every individual as you continue to take all the precautions you can to maintain social distancing, disinfect surfaces, wash your hands, resist touching your face, all things necessary to stay healthy and lessen the spread of this dreadful outbreak.  

Thank you for dedication and service.

Sam Wade
CEO, National Rural Water Association

 

Iowa Rural Water Association COVID-19 Update
(Added 3/27/2019)

Due to the current health emergency situation, effective March 19, 2020, the Iowa Rural Water Association (IRWA) will be implementing a modified work schedule for its employees. Our national technical assistance and training contracts have been amended to include remote assistance until April 17, 2020. This means that the majority of our technical assistance and training during this period will be conducted by phone calls, emails, teleconferencing, etc. We will be available for day-to-day questions, concerns and assistance through the contact information listed below.

The IRWA staff will be available for emergency on-site assistance. We have developed the following policy to layout what we believe an emergency situation is:

The examples listed above are not all inclusive. We will take the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act into consideration for all requests for assistance.

We are dedicated to assisting water and wastewater utilities as well as taking care of our staff health. We hope to strike the perfect balance in maintaining each of these.

We are all experiencing new ways to deal with day-to-day life. Providing safe drinking water and properly disposing of wastewater are not immune to these challenges. I assure you, IRWA is here to help you through all of this.

Take care!

 

Gregory Huff, CEO, IRWA
515 707-8384
[email protected]

 

U.S. EPA

Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater | Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | US EPA
There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans. EPA is providing this important information about COVID-19 as it relates to drinking water and wastewater to provide clarity to the public.

www.epa.gov

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-wastewater

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

https://nrwa.org/initiatives/covid-19/

 

DNR's Role in Disaster Response and Recovery

https://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/Social-Media-Press-Room/Disaster-Assistance#3057321-covid---19-outbreak


Iowa Governor Reynolds Proclamation:

https://governor.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Public%20Health%20Proclamation%20-%202020.03.17.pdf

IMPORTANT: If you anticipate that your water or wastewater utility will be seeking FEMA reimbursement for any qualified COVID-19 related expenses, please remember to properly document as required by FEMA.
President Trump declared a nationwide emergency on March 13, 2020.

This increases federal support to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in its role as the lead federal agency for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response. As a result of the President’s action, FEMA has been directed to assist state and local governments and other eligible entities with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public. Specific information concerning this declaration can be found here:
https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2020/03/13/covid-19-emergency-declaration

 

Iowa COVID-19 Dashboard:

https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus


Iowa Department of Natural Resources Recommended List of Relevant Novel Coronavirus Resources:

We also encourage you to join the Iowa Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (IOWARN). Becoming a member utility of the IOWARN mutual aid response network will help utilities mobilize in response to emergencies across the state. As a member, your utility will play a major role in ensuring the welfare of the state in emergency situations. For more information and to sign up on-line, please visit:

http://www.iowarn.org/