MRWA Statement and COVID-19 Resources
Call to Action: Rural America Needs Investment Now in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure for Coronavirus Relief
COVID-19 Masks: Masks Point of Distribution – You can now request cloth masks The Minnesota Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (MnWARN) is pleased to announce that FEMA shipped 80,000 washable, reusable cloth face masks to Minnesota for distribution to all requesting water and wastewater utilities in Minnesota. All water/wastewater utilities are eligible; you do not have to be a MnWARN member to receive masks. Masks will initially be allocated to requesting utilities at the rate of five (5) masks per full time employee. As supplies are limited, requests will be filled on a first come, first served basis. To request FEMA masks through this program, contact the Point of Distribution (POD) nearest you. Please visit mask information from MnWARN to find the contact information for your closest POD and for additional details.
MRWA COVID-I9 Emergency Response – Statement
Water utilities provide an essential service every day of the year and that service is necessary for people isolated in their homes to survive the COVID-19 pandemic
Minnesota Rural Water Association is there for you with resources, assistance, and emergency response capabilities. Working together, being proactive, and taking all necessary precautions for health protection will be the winning combination to overcome this virus. Call our office at 800-367-6792 or your technical advisors directly.
We are asking and recommending the following:
- MRWA is compiling a listing of certified water and wastewater operations specialists who may be able to assist impacted systems in the event of an emergency. Please RESPOND TO THIS RESPONSE REQUEST FORM for details on getting on this response list. *PLEASE CONSIDER*
- We encourage our utility members to reach out to neighboring systems and develop informal mutual aid networks in case critical utility staff are unable to perform their duties or supplies are needed. At this point we do not know what the impact of this new virus will be and hardships it will cause. We all must be prepared to assure continuity of services, no matter the scenario. It is in the best interest of each utility, the public, and our nation.
- If your system is NOT a member of MnWARN, consider joining NOW. In the event of an emergency, it will be difficult to coordinate a special Council meeting to approve the MnWARN Mutual Aid Agreement and Joint Resolution. Both documents are available on the MnWARN website: www.MnWARN.org for download OR you can call MRWA’s office for assistance in obtaining those.
- Stay informed and Review Minnesota Department of Health’s information and resources for public water systems (PWSs) about COVID-19 as it relates to drinking water at: www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/pwscovid.html
MRWA COVID-I9 Emergency Response – Statement
Water and wastewater operations specialists are essential personnel and should be prepared to address potential impacts to supply due to personnel interruptions tied to COVID-19. Water systems play a vital role in public health and Minnesota Rural Water Association is here to help systems put measures in place that ensure seamless operations during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Please download the Critical Operations Preparedness document now. MRWA is also advising that ALL systems re-evaluate their emergency response plans.
Several of Minnesota Rural Water Association technical advisors will also be emergency responders in the event of a system emergency. Minnesota Rural Water Association staff are also available to offer remote assistance to your water/wastewater system for questions and non-emergency technical assistance. Please call our office: 800-367-6792 or one of our technical advisors directly.
If your system is a MnWARN member ( www.mnwarn.org ), MnWARN could and should be activated in an emergency situation; however, it should be stressed there is no guarantee a volunteer will come forward. In the event the State were to experience Pandemic Management Phase, many Minnesota communities would likely see a shortage of personnel to provide essential public services. That said, MnWARN is committed in their Mission of Utilities Helping Utilities, and would reach out to the 400+ MnWARN Members in an attempt to secure any requested resource.
Now is the time for municipalities, regardless of size, to update or draft Emergency Operations Plans (EOP’s), reach out to our neighboring communities to discuss Continuity of Operations (COOP’s), and most importantly, refresh and enforce preventive measures.
Minnesota Rural Water Association continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and recommends all water and wastewater utilities review the best and latest information on the following trusted websites:
· Minnesota Department of Health: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/action.html
· CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html
· OSHA: www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html#solidwaste
· WHO: www.who.int/publications-detail/water-sanitation-hygiene-and-waste-management-for-covid-19
· CISA: www.cisa.gov/insights
Frequent and proper hand washing is one of the most important prevention measures for COVID-19. Good and consistently applied hygiene in communities, homes, schools, workplaces, marketplaces and health care facilities will further help to prevent human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.
This outbreak continues to evolve and information changes daily. COVID-19 is something to be taken very seriously. MRWA will continue to monitor the situation and is following the guidance of leading health authorities. Any impact to technical assistance, training programs, meeting and/or conferences will be posted prominently at www.mrwa.com.
NRWA Statement on the Coronavirus:
Results of COVID19 System Survey from NRWA
NRWA COVID19 Webpage
(March 9, 2020): “All water and wastewater utilities [should] review the best and latest information from CDC, OSHA, WHO, CISA for drinking water and sanitation… Provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions play an essential role in protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including the current COVID-19 outbreak.”
Minnesota Department of Health Web Guidance:
MDH’s guidance on ensuring water quality in building premise plumbing:
Ensuring Water Quality in Building Premise Plumbing: Actions for Water Utilities During and After COVID-19
Ensuring Water Quality in Building Premise Plumbing: Guidance for Building Owners and Managers During and After COVID-19
Water Utility Council (WUC) COVID 19 Meeting & MDH Updates for Public Water Supply Partners Recordings
Governor’s Executive Order 20-02:
Governor’s Executive Order 20-02 with regards to Care for Children of Families of Emergency Workers. Public works employees are considered emergency workers (Tier 2)
League of Minnesota Cities Legislative Updates:
League Continues to Recommend Avoiding Residential Water and Sewer Shut-Offs
Using Mutual Aid Contracts in Time of Emergency
USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses, and Communities Affected By COVID19
USDA Unveils Tool to Help Rural Communities Address the COVID-19 https://www.rd.usda.gov/sites/default/files/USDA_COVID-19_Fed_Rural_Resource_Guide.pdf
STAKEHOLDER ANNOUNCEMENT: USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19 Press Release
EPA Resources – www.epa.gov/coronavirus
Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool
Essential Workers Template
Incident Action Checklist for Pandemic Incidents
Information on Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
AWWA Coronavirus Resources
WEF Coronavirus Webcast & Podcast Links:
Webcast with recording link: https://www.wef.org/resources/online-education/webcasts/ArchivedWebcasts/CoronavirusWebcastArchive/
Podcast (shorter, non-technical version of the webcast) https://wordsonwaterwef.com/2020/03/02/words-on-water-128-coronavirus-and-water-treatment/
General WEF page: https://www.wef.org/news-hub/current-priorities/coronavirus/
Water Professional’s guide: https://www.wef.org/news-hub/wef-news/the-water-professionals-guide-to-the-2019-novel-coronavirus/
Value of Water Covid Response Tools:
The Value of Water Campaign has collected examples of how to communicate about common water-related themes that have arisen over the course of the pandemic:
News & Updates:
President Declares Emergency on March 13, 2020:
Action allows FEMA to provide emergency protective measures not authorized under other federal law. President “encourages all State and local governments to activate their Emergency Operations Centers and to review their emergency preparedness plans (White House).”
U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Water: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus
·The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal
drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
·The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the feces of an infected person is also unknown. The risk is expected to be low, however, based on data from previous outbreaks of
related coronaviruses. There have been no reports of fecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 to date.
·At this time, the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through sewage systems is thought to be low. Although transmission of COVID-19 through sewage may
be possible, there is no evidence to date that this has occurred. SARS, a similar coronavirus, has been detected in untreated sewage for up to 2 to 14 days with documented
transmission associated with sewage aerosols (source: CDC).
CDC Wastewater COVID19 news: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/sanitation-wastewater-workers.html