FEMA, US EPA, WARN & AWWA to Provide Cloth Face Masks to CA Water & Wastewater Utilities

Resources for Agency Planning and Operations
As we all struggle to cope with long term “shelter in place” orders and other COVID-19 related restrictions, agencies are adapting with modified emergency staffing plans, continuity of operations plans, modified remote work policies, and revisiting interagency agreements to maintain critical services. Below are examples of approaches developed by CASA member agencies, though these are by no means exhaustive. Feel free to reach out directly to Jared Voskuhl if you are looking from something more specific, and we can place an inquiry out to our LISTSERVs.

In addition, our partners at NACWA have begun to compile similar materials from their member agencies. They have graciously offered to grant CASA members access to the NACWA members only page where these materials are housed. If you are interested in accessing these materials please reach out directly to Cheryl Mackelvie and she can facilitate access for you as a CASA member.

April 1: CWEA/CASA Webinar on Coronavirus Transmission and Operations Planning

April 9: Continuity of Operations and Emergency Staffing – Webinar #2

April 15: Managing Collection Systems During the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 16: WRF Webinar & Update on Latest Coronavirus Research

April 27 – 30: WRF Virtual International Water Research Summit on COVID-19

April 30: CWEA Webinar: What We’re Learning About the Coronavirus and Disinfection. Slides.

WEF Roundtable Series

May 6
11:00 am – 12:45 pm PST
Free webinar on SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. Co-hosted by CWEA, CASA, and WEF. This is a follow-up to the webinar held on April 1st with all of the speakers back to present updates. Speakers include Amy Kirby (Environmental Microbiologist in the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)), Rasha Maal-Bared – Senior Microbiologist at EPCOR Water Services and Chair of WEF’s Waterborne Infectious Disease Outbreak Control Subcommittee (WIDOC)), Dr. Chuck Gerba – (World Renowned Microbiologist at WEST Center – University of Arizona), and Eileen White, PE – (Director of Wastewater at EBMUD).

May 19
2:00 – 3:00 pm ET
Free webinar: Drinking Water Microbes 101

May 21
3:00 pm
Webinar: CASA Presents: “Virtual” Brown Act Meetings During COVID-19. Hanson Bridgett LLP will be hosting a webinar for CASA members on Virtual Board Meeting Best Practices. One hour California State Bar MCLE credit (general) is available for live webinar participation (approval pending).

May 27

2:00 pm EST
Free webinar: Learn more about EPA’s research on COVID-19 in the environment.

June 3
2:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Free webinar on Managing Challenges Through Resilience Thinking. Co-hosted by NACWA and AMWA. Last in a four-part series, listen to the recordings from Parts 1-3. The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown utilities how resilience planning needs to consider all potential threats to usual operations and services.In the face of these threats – whether pandemics, natural disasters, climate change, or other changing water conditions – water professionals must become proficient in resilience thinking, evaluating how interacting systems and assets can best be managed in the face of disturbances and uncertainty. By continually building on existing knowledge, resiliency thinking allows professionals to consider novel solutions to address ever-changing shocks and stressors to water systems. This webinar will examine how utilities can take a broad view of water-related vulnerabilities and use collaboration, creativity, and resilience thinking to overcome these challenges.

Agency Resource and Links Related to Reopening of Businesses
USEPA Information on Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use
EBMUD Resources on Reopening
IRWD Resources
CDC Guidance

Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Notice to Ratepayers about Services
Transportation of Biosolids in Response to COVID-19 Measures

Orange County Sanitation District
3/16/20 Message from the GM
3/17/20 Message from the GM
3/20/20 Message from the GM
3/11/20 Q&A with OC Health Care Agency
3/17/20 Telecommuting Guidelines
3/18/20 Updated FAQ’s
OCSD Vendors & Suppliers Clearance for Travel

Online Dashboard

City of Modesto
Draft Pandemic Emergency Plan

Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease – Business Continuity Program Plan
Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity (Policy 7.03)
EBMUD Press Release to Ratepayers about Essential Services
Employee FAQ
Employee Safety Communication
Copy Machine Signage
Emergency Purchases (Procedure 415)
Vendor Clearance for Travel
Managing Fears Around Coronavirus Flyer
Things I Can Control Flyer

Workplace Social Distancing
HR Message to Employees
Workplace FAQ
Transportation of Biosolids (to Synagro)
Transportation of Biosolids (to Lystek)
Transportation of Biosolids (to Denali)

Compendium of Agency Considerations (Courtesy of Moonshot)
Key Considerations for Water and Wastewater Utilities Responding to the Coronavirus

State of Knowledge on COVID-19 and Water/Wastewater Implications

CalPERS Notice
CALPERs has suspended the penalties and restrictions on retirees coming back to work as part of the Governor’s emergency proclamation. Retired operators and agency personnel may be a potential resource for agencies that find themselves short on staffing. CASA is also working with the Water Board to expedite recertification of retired operators who may be willing to help in these unique circumstances.

State Water Board ELAP Site
The Water Board has launched a COVID-19 emergency response website to provide information and support during this time to California’s environmental testing industry and the laboratories accredited by the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). It is available at www.waterboards.ca.gov/elap-covid19

The site includes a list of laboratories capable of taking in additional samples, with contact information, lists of in-service laboratory supply and proficiency testing vendors, information on ELAP application requirements and issuance of accreditation during the emergency, FAQs, and links to additional resources.

CSDA Site on COVID Funding and Operational Requests

CalWARN: Emergency Preparedness and Response
The California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (CalWARN) is an affiliation intended to assist the water and wastewater sector cope with emergencies such as the COVID-19 crisis. Their mission is to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response, and mutual assistance processes for public and private water and wastewater utilities. The new CalWARN Web Portal expands utilities’ ability to achieve agency, regional and state preparedness by providing new tools and proven practices. The CalWARN Program provides its member utilities with:

  • A standard omnibus mutual assistance agreement and process for sharing emergency resources among Signatories statewide.
  • The resources to respond and recover more quickly from a disaster.
  • A mutual assistance program consistent with other statewide mutual aid programs.
  • A forum for developing and maintaining emergency contacts and relationships.
  • New ideas from lessons learned in disasters.

Many CASA members may already belong to CalWARN, though you may need to update your agency’s contact and other information. Perhaps most relevant during the current crisis, CalWARN can assist agencies by pairing those with deficiencies with those possessing excess resources such as, for example, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or disinfectant. Information on how to sign up, or check if you already are, and how to maximize use of this resource is at www.calwarn.org.

FEMA, US EPA, WARN & AWWA to Provide Cloth Face Masks to CA Water & Wastewater Utilities

April 22, 2020: The Treasury just released guidance outlining what the eligible uses are for the Coronavirus Relief Fund.  The guidance is intended to assist states and local governments that receive assistance through the fund.  Along with the guidance, the Treasury also released a short FAQs document about the Fund.  The department is working its way through getting the rest of the money out to states and local governments by the end of this week.

Central States Water Environment Association: Fact Sheet

BB&K Legal Alert: California Applicant’s Briefings for COVID-19 FEMA Public Assistance Scheduled

Maven’s Notebook: Local Government Commission’s New Virtual Engagement Best Practices Guide