You know your utility, staff, and situation best. “Keeping our water and wastewater operators healthy and operations functioning is critical during public health threats as we are experiencing with Coronavirus”, says Scott Schaefer, AE2S Wastewater Practice Leader. Containment measures are very important to public health, especially as the health care system is anticipated to be stressed.
Consider the following to protect your staff and system operations:
- Adjust shift work to provide workplace social distancing to minimize spread (reduce the chance that multiple operators will be infected). Use virtual operator logs and shift notes to reduce contact.
- Focus on essential operations only and defer optional maintenance and in-person meetings.
- Refresh staff on PPE best practices with these OSHA recommendations.
- Utilize automation to the extent possible. This is a good time to make sure everyone understands and utilizes SCADA at your facility.
- Review and potentially update your emergency response plan as well as reviewing Federal, State, and Local legal obligations if an emergency is declared. Be prepared to discuss with stakeholders and elected officials.
- Prepare for supply chain interruptions for PPE and other items needed to operate your facility.
When you think about your individual staff and how they go about their day, it is important to consider things such as how uniforms are laundered, how PPE is disposed, and what protocols and restrictions may need to be put in place and for how long.
The good news in all of this is that existing regulations and disinfection practices are expected to be sufficient and protective of public health for both water and wastewater. Coronavirus is more susceptible to disinfection than regulatory indicator organisms (fecal coliform, E. Coli). We can continue to assure the public that they can continue to count on safe drinking water and dependable wastewater treatment.
Our AE2S staff is working side by side with utilities and communities to further best practices and assist with emergency responses when necessary. Please contact the following people if you need assistance or have questions in the following topic areas:
- Emergency Response – Colton Janes, AE2S Client Program Leader
- Facility Operations – Eric Appelwick, AE2S Operations Manager
- Drinking Water – Nate Weisenburger, AE2S Drinking Water Practice Leader
- Wastewater – Scott Schaefer, AE2S Wastewater Practice Leader
- Public Communications/Engagement – Andrea Boe, AE2S Communications Practice Leader
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Hierarchy
- WEF Water Professional’s Guide
- Water Environment Federation (WEF) Coronavirus Info
- American Water Works Association (AWWA) Coronavirus Info
- Water Transmission & COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- CDC Coronavirus FAQ
- World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Info