March 18, 2020
Please be advised, the NYRWA continues to monitor the issues surrounding the COVID-19 Virus, and its implications for our members. This association is fully staffed and is positioned to continue uninterrupted operations. NYRWA has received confirmation that in an effort to reduce exposure, all federal and state technical assistance programs have been modified to allow for the implementation of “remote assistance”, except in the cases of emergency. If your water or wastewater system has an emergency, our field staff will respond and assist you by every means possible. In other cases, they may reach out to you remotely to assist with needs assessments, AWQR’s, ERP’s, VA’s, troubleshooting via photo or video, and with staffing plans for the remainder of this incident, just to name a few of the services available. Again, if an emergency exists, our staff will respond without hesitation!
Operator Certification Expiration:
As many training providers have postponed their session to promote social distancing, your NYRWA is concerned for those of you who may be nearing the expiration date of your certification. We wish to thank the great folks from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Dept. of Health, who have both verbally committed to working through this on a case by case basis.
Both the NYSDEC & NYSDOH have advised that we strongly encourage such operators to attempt to gain the hours they need via pre-approved distance learning courses, both web and correspondence based. Below are two links: 1) SunCoast Learning through NYRWA with several water and wastewater courses and 2) The NYSDEC direct link to a list of approved classes and providers.
We also wish to thank EJ Prescott Inc., who has reached out and volunteered to provide web-based learning during this event! We will also welcome any Associate Members who wish to provide courses as well. Last, our staff is working diligently to transform some of our recently developed training modules to a web-based platform…we will keep you posted.
Continuity of Operations & Critical Preparedness:
Water & Wastewater Operators are essential personnel and should be prepared to address potential impacts to supply, flow and treatment due to personnel interruptions tied to COVID-19. NYRWA staff are here to assist you in maintaining your preparedness level.
Critical Operations Preparedness
- Identify essential employees required to maintain continuous operation and designate an emergency backup for these employees in the case they cannot report to work.
- Strategize implementation of an ancillary workforce (e.g. neighboring water systems, contractors, employees in other job titles/descriptions, retirees) to operate utilities on emergency basis.
- Stay stocked on chemical supplies and order products ahead of schedule to avoid delays from understaffed chemical suppliers.
- Generate back-up supplier contact list for essential chemical and operation needs.
- Update/create detailed written instructions for crucial operations (i.e. shutdown, sampling, public notification).
- Review/update emergency response plan and contacts. Identify key customers—hospitals or care facilities—with special needs.
- Discuss cyber security precautions when using remote access. Back-up critical files frequently as a prevention measure to restore data.
- Consider emergency food and overnight necessities at 24-hr facilities for personnel working long shifts.
- Encourage personnel to stay home when they are sick.
- Discuss backup or alternative shift rotations for personnel that need to stay home to care for themselves and/or loved ones.
- If possible, make a plan with your family and any groups that you lead in case of have school/work closures.
- Limit meetings, gatherings and travel. Encourage personnel to postpone all non-essential travel to areas affected by COVID-19.
There may be systems that require operational assistance, due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The NYRWA is compiling a pool of certified water and wastewater operators who might be available to provide emergency on-site assistance to other systems. You do not need to be a member and we encourage you to participate with this effort. Contact Kim Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide your information. We will need to following information:
· full name
· county of residence
· cell number
· grade level certification (please detail water or wastewater with your grade level)
· certification number
Thanking you in advance for those willing to offer your services.
Together we are strong, and together we get through this as a team and continue to provide…Quality On Tap!
Jamie Herman, NYRWA CEO
A message to our members.
We want to send you an update to let you know that during these trying times NYWARN is here to assist you. Many utilities are facing challenges and shortages and NYWARN is available to you as a resource to help overcome these new uncharted obstacles.
- Coronavirus Fast Facts
- Water Transmission and COVID-19
- EPA - Conoavirus Drinking Water and Wastewater Information
- FREE Webinar: Utility Actions to Sustain Operations During COVID-19
NYWARN recently updated its website and over the next few days, NYWARN members will be receiving an email asking them to verify their account and update their passwords. If you do not get an email by Friday, March 20, please contact email@example.com and we will be sure to get you logged in. Once logged in, we ask that you double check your system's information and update information as needed.
If you have any questions or concerns please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local NYWARN chair, click here for the listing.
NYSAWWA, Executive Director