COVID-19 Update on Delivering Essential Water & Sewer Services
March 27, 2020
To Our Customers,
We share with you in these unprecedented days the concern and uneasiness of the times. While we are still committed to providing excellent, first-rate service, the move to “essential services” has been an adjustment with new office protocols and widespread use of remote technology.
For example, we do have key customer service staff here even though the doors are closed to the public. They are rotating shifts to ensure we limit the risks of illness, while still providing day-to-day service. After this week, they have done quite well in handling calls and coordinating service calls in the field.
Our field operators are working primarily from their vehicles with cell phones, iPad and laptops to limit time in the main office. Some move from site to site around the 3-county area that we serve. We maintain over 125 locations which include pump stations, lift stations, sewer plants, water plants, above-ground water storage facilities, and WaterSheds. They continue to get regular monitoring for maintenance and sanitizing.
Our after-hours service commitment will continue throughout this crisis. We have at least one licensed operator duty person on call 24/7/365 to respond to after-hours emergencies. This person has the authorization to call out others depending on the level of need.
We maintain excellent and complete testing and operations of our water and sewer systems to ensure there are no compromises to the quality of the drinking water and sanitary sewer services.
Our IT and GIS staff are rotating as well to maintain our SCADA system and approximately 100 electronic devices that allow us to communicate with the field employees, complete work orders, locate underground meters and shutoff valves, etc.
The engineering and inspection staff are working remotely. We still have construction underway, requiring project managers and inspectors out in the field. Design and administrative work is still underway with engineering consultants and government departments.
Our finance and accounting division is rotating staff. Paying bills, maintaining credit with our vendors, and ordering supplies are all vital right now to prevent any shortages or disruptions.
Our Public Information Director, Theresa Pollick is monitoring social and traditional media to ensure there are no false rumors or poor information on these forums. Our social media platforms share information on the many things we are doing to protect our customers, our staff, and the general public.
We liken it to a continual “snow day” here, but one which seems to have no immediate “return-to-normal operations” date!
Following the implementation of our contingency plan, our six senior managers and I rotated in and out. We talk daily together as a team either in person (socially distanced of course!) or via video conference. We share staff and resources daily to anticipate needs around the organization. So far, we have had no COVID19 virus symptoms with our staff, but it has impacted family members and we are following the protocols of the Wood County Health Department.
Our board members remain in contact with me. This week, we held our first teleconference board meeting, which was broadcast on Facebook Live.
All-in-all, we are doing well. Our vendors and material suppliers have worked with us over the last few weeks, our electric and Wi-Fi connections are working properly, and the website is updated for more information.
We are here for you and we ask you to check our website for regular updates. We are still billing for water and sewer service but have waived any disconnections for those who cannot pay. As always, we are making payment arrangements as we do every month with customers. Your monthly bill is still due for the services that we have rendered.