Coronavirus

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacting communities throughout the world, water professionals are working around the clock to ensure that safe, reliable water service continues to flow. Thank you to our members.

ACE20 Update

We know many of you are waiting to hear if the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE20), June 14-17 in Orlando, Fla., will proceed as planned. We know the uncertainty is difficult, and we thank you for your patience as we determine the best path forward.

AWWA will determine by Thursday, April 16 whether the conference will take place as scheduled on site or if circumstances require a change of plans. More information is below.

Member Survey

According to a recent AWWA member survey, absenteeism and continuity of operations are major areas of expected challenges from COVID-19 for water utilities. A second survey has been sent to members and AWWA will provide a summary of results as they become available.

Use Tap Water as Normal

Public health agencies are reminding their communities that tap water can be used as normal and the COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water supplies.

U.S. EPA on Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater
CDC on Water Transmission and COVID-19

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ACE20 Update and Timeline

AWWA’s first core principle is the protection of public health. This principle informs our actions during normal times and especially during the COVID-19 crisis. It will continue to guide our decisions related to upcoming AWWA conferences and events.

We know many of you are waiting to hear if the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE20), June 14-17 in Orlando, Fla., will proceed as planned. We know the uncertainty is difficult, and we thank you for your patience as we determine the best path forward.

AWWA will determine by Thursday, April 16 whether the conference will take place as scheduled on site or if circumstances require a change of plans. In making that decision, we are consulting with:

  • Leading public health authorities, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada.
  • Florida state and local public health authorities
  • The Orange County Convention Center
  • AWWA volunteer leaders and business partners

We will continue to communicate through regular AWWA e-mails as this situation develops, and please check back to this page for updates. We are also happy to talk with you by phone or email. Please call 1-800-926-7337 or email service@awwa.org.

Thank you for your patience during these difficult times, your participation in AWWA events, and most importantly, for your commitment to our common goal of protecting public health through safe and reliable water.

Updates on Other AWWA Events

  • The AWWA Sustainable Water Management Conference, March 29-April 1, Minneapolis, MN, has been cancelled.
  • The AWWA Water Audits and Loss Control Seminar, April 1-2, Minneapolis, MN, has been cancelled.
  • The AWWA International Symposium on Inorganics, April 14-15, Denver, CO, has been cancelled.
  • The AWWA Customer Service Seminar, April 21-22, Wescosville, PA, has been cancelled.
  • The AWWA Effective Utility Management, April 23-24, Wescosville, PA, has been cancelled.
  • The AWWA Water Matters Fly-In, April 29-30, Washington, D.C., has been cancelled.

You will find details related to these event cancellations or postponements on the Events and Education web page.

AWWA recommends postponing water shutoffs

Given the importance of hygiene and sanitation in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, AWWA recommends utilities postpone water shutoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: AWWA’s Statement of Public Policy on the Discontinuance of Water Service for Nonpayment states that “certain circumstances may require some flexibility because water service is a necessity in maintaining sanitary conditions in the home, and may be required for life‐sustaining equipment, or for other critical purposes.” The current pandemic is such a time.

Notice on returning homes to service

When homes are returned to service after an extended period of discontinued service (e.g., weeks or months), an adult should be present in the home to ensure that the meter works, leaks are minimized, wastewater piping is intact, and the building’s plumbing is flushed. A thorough flushing process is appropriate in such situations. 

Note: Social distancing protocols will need to be considered when engaging residents about customer assistance programs, managing lead, and other steps in returning service to the home.

Flushing instructions provided to occupants will vary depending on the structure.  This is an area of active research.  However, key elements of existing protocols include:

1.    Remove or bypass devices like point-of-entry treatment units prior to flushing.
2.    Take steps to prevent backflow or the siphoning of contaminants into plumbing (e.g., close valves separating irrigation systems from home plumbing, disconnect hoses attached to faucets, etc.)
3.    Organize flushing to maximize the flow of water (e.g. opening all outlets simultaneously to flush the service line and then flushing outlets individually starting near where the water enters the structure).
4.    Run enough water through all outlets (e.g., hose bibs, faucets, showerheads, toilets, etc.), removing aerators when possible.  Typical durations in existing protocols range from 10 to 30 minutes for each outlet (duration varies based on outlet velocity).
5.    Flush the cold water lines first, and then the hot water lines.  Note: the hot water tank can be drained directly; it can require roughly 45 minutes to fully flush a typical 40-gallon hot water tank.
6.    Replace all point-of-use filters, including the filter in refrigerators.  
7.    Additional precautions may be warranted if there is excessive disruption of pipe scale or if there are concerns about biofilm development.  Actions that might be warranted include continued use of bottled water, installation of a point-of-use device, or engaging a contractor to thoroughly clean the plumbing system.

Residents should be reminded that if point-of-use devices are installed, POU devices should be properly installed and adequately maintained. 

 

Reference List

Flushing Guidance for Premise Plumbing and Service Lines to Avoid or Address a Drinking Water Advisory
https://www.waterrf.org/system/files/resource/2019-05/4572.pdf

AWWA C810-17 Replacement and Flushing of Lead Service Lines
ISBN: 9781625762696
AWWA catalog no: 43810-2017

High‐Velocity Household and Service Line Flushing Following LSL Replacement
Richard A. Brown and David A. Cornwell
First published:01 March 2015
https://doi.org/10.5942/jawwa.2015.107.0012; Journal AWWA 107 (3) E140-E151

Analysis of building plumbing system flushing practices and communications
Lisa Ragain, Sheldon Masters, Timothy A. Bartrand, Jennifer L. Clancy, Andrew J. Whelton
https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2019.024; J Water Health (2019) 17 (2): 196–203

Effectiveness of Prevailing Flush Guidelines to Prevent Exposure to Lead in Tap Water
Adrienne Katner, Kelsey Pieper,  Komal Brown, Hui-Yi Lin, Jeffrey Parks, Xinnan Wang, Chih-Yang Hu, Sheldon Masters, Howard Mielke, and Marc Edwards
Published: 20 July 2018
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071537; Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health (2018) 15(7): 1537

At this time, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel but does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries. Visit CDC’s COVID-19 travel page for what to consider when deciding whether it is safe to travel.

There are current restrictions in place limiting non-essential travel to and from the United States and some international destinations. We encourage international attendees to review those restrictions.

Visit CDC’s COVID-19 travel page for up-to-date information. 

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